The Golden Chain
Romans 8:29-30 (ESV) – For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
As someone who goes for runs to exercise, I am thankful for chains. Every time I see a dog sitting on a porch or in a yard, I’m scanning to see if they are on a chain. Chains consist of individual links bound together. The more links, the longer the chain. A chain can be broken if one link is destroyed or removed. I pray as I run by each dog; I look to see that their chain will not break.
The subject of chains is a fitting connection to our passage today. This text is one of the most prominent passages of Scripture in all the Bible. It is referred to as “the golden chain of salvation.” Why? Let’s read it and see. Paul writes, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
This text contains one of the greatest promises for Christians. The promise is that the One who saves us will bring it to completion. How do we get that promise from this passage? Notice the progression. God foreknows, predestines, calls, justifies, and glorifies. These are not just random words thrown together. They are a sequence of events that hold together. God foreknew who He would make His own. This is from the foundation of the world. Those whom He foreknew, He predestined to be conformed into the image of Christ. This means He gave them a destiny of loving and becoming like Jesus. He writes their story and ensures its conclusion. He calls the people He predestined through the drawing of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the gospel. That’s the call. Those He calls He justifies, meaning, He declares them righteous and blameless. Sins are removed. Guilt is taken away. Those justified He glorifies. He brings them into eternal life with Him. They are brought to perfection.
Notice in this text the chain. Foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and glorified. This is described by theologians as the golden chain of salvation. Each link in the chain is needed. If one is removed, the chain breaks. If one is removed, the promise is nullified.
Glorification in eternal life originates from God’s foreknowledge before the foundation of the world. The justification of sinners requires a call. Every link matters. Be encouraged by this incredible promise. Salvation belongs to the Lord.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is this passage referred to as “the golden chain”?
- What do you think is the biggest reason people struggle with this passage?
- How does this text encourage you in your faith today?
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