Today’s devotional is taken from the great “Golden Chain” of Romans 8.
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. — Romans 8:29-30
We quote Romans 8:28 all the time. But how often do we forget that the purpose of verse 28 is for us to “be conformed to the image of His Son” in verse 29? God is the ultimate agent of our salvation. He foreknows, He predestines, He calls, He justifies, and He glorifies. He begins the work and finishes it (Philippians 1:6). Why does God deserve all the glory? Well, for one thing, He does all the work.
As Spurgeon acknowledges in this morning’s Morning and Evening, these truths are a tremendous comfort for believers. He says, “do not bemoan your troubles, but rather rejoice” because a day is coming when there will be no more pain. A big understanding of God produces big comfort for the Christian. Peter encouraged the believers who were suffering under Nero’s persecution with these amazing words:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. — 1 Peter 1:3-9
The recipients of this letter are being wrapped in wax and set on fire to light Nero’s dinner parties. Many of them have lost mothers, fathers, limbs, and dear friends for the sake of the gospel. Peter does not ignore their pain. He simply redirects their focus. What does he say? God has caused us to be born again to a living hope! Our inheritance lasts forever and is guarded by the very power of God Himself. The afflictions of this life are temporary, but God’s promises are eternally secure. These are comforting words indeed for anyone in need of consolation.
Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.
* * * * *
Those whom He justified He also glorified. — Romans 8:30
Here is a precious truth for you, believer. You may be poor or suffering or unknown, but for your encouragement take a moment to review your calling and the consequences that flow from it, and especially the blessed result spoken of here. As surely as you are God’s child today, so surely will all your trials soon come to an end, and you shall be rich to an extent that is hard to imagine.
Wait awhile, and your weary head will wear the crown of glory, and the worker’s hand shall grasp the palm-branch of victory. Do not bemoan your troubles, but rather rejoice that before long you will be where no longer “shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore.”1 The chariots of fire are at your door, and it will take only a moment to transport you to the glorified. The everlasting song is almost on your lip. The portals of heaven stand open for you.
Do not think that you can fail to enter into your rest. If He has called you, nothing can divide you from His love. Distress cannot sever the bond; the fire of persecution cannot burn the link; the hammer of hell cannot break the chain. You are secure; that voice which called you at first shall call you yet again from earth to heaven, from death’s dark gloom to immortality’s unuttered splendors. Rest assured, the heart of Him who has justified you beats with infinite love toward you. You will soon be with the glorified, where your portion is; you are only waiting here to be made ready for the inheritance, and with that done, the wings of angels shall carry you far away, to the mount of peace and joy and blessedness, where
Far from a world of grief and sin,
With God eternally shut in,
you shall rest forever and ever.
1 Revelation 21:4