According to Romans 8:28-30, the order of salvation is first, the foreknowledge of God; second, the predestination of God; third, the calling of God; fourth, the justification of God; and fifth, the glorification of God. Many get this backwards and fight with all their intellectual might against how God saves men. There is a reason why men fight against God’s order of salvation – they seek to remove salvation from God’s doing and place the responsibility in man’s hand so that there will be no injustice in God for His saving some and not saving all.
This however is unbiblical and unnecessary. There is no injustice in God even though salvation is completely of the Lord. We must remember that all men are born with a sin nature; all men grow up to be sinners; and all men are responsible for their own destruction. So God is just in the destruction of sinners. We must also remember that no sinner deserves to be saved and that in the saving of any sinner God is just. Any sinner that God saves He does so only on the basis of His grace through penal-substitution so that He is both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:23-26).
Be sure to get this: God is just in the destruction of sinners and He is just in the salvation of sinners. Can you find any injustice in that?
All five aspects of the order of salvation combine to give us the sound doctrine of the security of the believer. But before we establish that doctrine, let me ask you to consider this question: why must there be a divine order to salvation? The answer is because without it no sinner would ever be willing to forsake his sin and embrace and love God. Think about it! God has demonstrated His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). What capital offender in his right mind would refuse such a gracious offer? The answer: every single one left to himself!
This shows the devastating consequence of sin on man’s mind, heart, and will and that apart from the sovereign choice of God to have mercy on whom He wills no man would be saved (Romans 9:16). But for these on whom God has chosen to have mercy, they will be saved and their salvation will be secure.
Not only has God chosen by His foreknowledge sinners that would otherwise never have chosen Him, He has also predestined them to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29). God’s ultimate purpose for bringing sinners to salvation is to glorify His Son. Those that are saved are God’s gift to His Son for His Son’s obedience to Him. These love and obey the Lord Jesus Christ and become His own special possession or treasure (Titus 2:14). Jesus categorically stated that “all that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37). He went on to say, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws Him”, and, “No one can come to Me unless it has been granted Him from the Father” (John 6:44, 65).
Peter stated this same truth in 1 Peter 1:1-2, “…Who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ….”
“And these whom He predestined, He also called” – While God chooses according to His foreknowledge, no man is saved apart from being drawn to Christ by the Father through the Word of God and the sanctifying work of the Spirit. In other words, God has a means by which He arrives at the end. Men must respond in faith to Christ through the Gospel. This is how God calls. This is why we evangelize and tell others the Gospel of Christ. God will not fail to call those whom He has predestined to become conformed to the image of Christ based on His sovereign foreknowledge.
“And these whom He called, He also justified” – Here is where faith comes into the order of salvation. Faith is wrapped up in the call – faith comes by hearing (the call) and hearing (the call) by the word about Christ (Romans 10:17). We are justified by faith (Romans 3:26-28) in the redemptive work of Christ (Romans 3:24) and that faith is generated in us by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit through the call of God on those whom He has predestined and foreknown. If faith is generated in us and doesn’t originate in us then of necessity God’s foreknowledge isn’t based on Him seeing something in us that isn’t there. You can’t get out of something what isn’t in it.
“And these whom He justified, He also glorified” – Our glorification is spoken of in the past tense although it hasn’t happened yet. This means that God calls the things that do not exist as though they exist (Romans 4:17) so that the promise of our glorification is guaranteed. After having been justified it is impossible not to be glorified or else God is a liar and He cannot lie for He is truth and there is no lie in Him. You cannot get out of something what isn’t in it.
The glorification of the ones whom God has foreknown, predestined, called, and justified is God’s guarantee. Now you will understand that if God is for you, who can be against you. And you will also understand that nothing in all creation can thwart the salvation that God has granted to an undeserving sinner.