Calling: the Middle Link
A Sermon on Romans 8:28-30
28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would …
28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the …
As Christians consider controversial topics such as predestination and election, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds that one must beware of their prejudices. Christians have to keep their minds open to understand what the apostle Paul actually says and teaches, even if at the end they do not agree with him. In light of this reminder, Dr. Lloyd-Jones presses into the topic of predestination and argues that God has marked out His people for His particular purpose and end. Taking it a step further, he asks why does the “call” come as the middle link in Paul’s great chain in redemption? Why must it come before justification? He shares that it is because justification is by faith alone and God’s effectual call of the Christian must come before or there would be no movement of the person to trust in Christ. Were it not for the power of the Holy Spirit in calling the person to the Lord Jesus Christ, states Dr. Lloyd-Jones, no one would ever believe the gospel. He then elaborates the work of the Spirit by providing biblical evidence on the nature and character of the doctrine of the effectual call of God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones answers several practical objections to this sovereign work of the Spirit. Listen to this sermon on Romans 8:28–30 titled “Calling: the Middle Link” as he gives insight to what he calls the “middle link” – the effectual call of the Holy Spirit.
- The fundamental purpose of Romans 8:28-30 is to give assurance and comfort to Christians facing troubles.
- Verse 28: All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. This means everything serves the ultimate good of Christians.
- Verse 29: Those God foreknew, He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. This means God determined our destiny to become like Christ.
- Verse 30: Those God predestined, He called; those He called, He justified; those He justified, He glorified. This chain shows how God's eternal purpose works out in our lives.
- Justification: A legal declaration by God that we are righteous based on Christ's righteousness, not our own works. It changes our standing before God.
- Glorification: The final step where we are freed from all sin and its effects, including in our physical bodies. We will be like Christ.
- Although these steps are distinct, they are inseparable in reality. They are all the work of God, not dependent on us.
- The past tense verbs show that from God's perspective, all of these steps are as good as done, even glorification. Our ultimate destiny is sure.
- Sanctification is not mentioned because it is a process, not a distinct step, and is inevitable as a result of justification and in view of glorification.
- We should focus on glorification, not sanctification alone. Glorification motivates sanctification.
- It is unbiblical to separate justification and sanctification or to receive sanctification by faith as a second work of grace. Sanctification flows necessarily from justification.
The Book of Romans
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.