February 2020  
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The Purpose of Salvation (Romans 8:26-30)
The Work and Ministry of the Holy Spirit
The Purpose of Salvation
Romans 8:26-30
One again this evening we return to Romans 8 and our study of "The Word and Ministry of the Holy Spirit".  Tonight we will consider
verses 26-30.
As we look at these verses I want to underline the fact that we are looking at the ministry of the Holy Spirit and how He guarantees our future glorification.  From the previous verses, we've already seen His work and ministry in the other aspects of our salvation.   We discovered He was responsible for our new birth and salvation.  He changes us so that we are free from the threat of condemnation.  He frees us from death, from judgment
In regard to our sanctification, He enables us to keep the law and behave in a righteous way.  He changes our nature.  He adopts us as sons into the family of God. 
And then when we came down to verse 17 and what follows down through verse 30, we are reading about being glorified and how the Holy Spirit secures us for eternal glory, which is the ultimate expression of our salvation, the greatest of all blessings.
To be blessed with a salvation that cannot be revoked, that cannot fail, is the greatest of all blessings and that is our promise and hope and the Spirit guarantees that will happen.
So these verses are all about security and hope and peace and promises and all of that is dependent on and secured by the Holy Spirit.  One of the great ironies of the modern charismatic movement is how they brag about having a corner on the market when it comes to the Holy Spirit and yet many of them deny the greatest security and promise for which He is responsible and teach you can lose your salvation.
In fact, one well-known leader in the Pentecostal movement said, “The greatest deception which has been devised by Satan is the false doctrine of once saved, always saved.” 
It's a pretty serious accusation to say that the greatest deception devised by Satan is that salvation is permanent.  I would submit that it is a profound lie and satanic deception to say that the doctrine of the security of the believer is a satanic deception and to teach that Christian believers can lose their salvation. 
And I will tell you when I think about people who sit in those kinds of environments under that kind of teaching and how they live in needless fear, it not only saddens me, it makes me mad that the clear and concise and easily understood, obvious teaching of Holy Scripture is twisted around and misused.
People in that situation live needlessly wondering how they are going to keep themselves saved.  Listen:  you can't! Give it up!  If you ask that, you are assuming there is some answer for a problem that humans can't fix!
And it is an insult to the Holy Spirit whose ministry it is to secure Christian believers through grace to glory to suggest there is something "we" can do to keep ourselves saved. 
And here we have a text that is all about the security of the believer.  So let's take a look at what it says.
We touched on verse 28 last time, but let's revisit that for a moment.
verse 28
Now, as we saw last time, the "good" for which everything works is eternal good.  God causes all things to work for our eternal glory to those who love God. 
And notice the next phrase, because that's where I want to concentrate our attention tonight.  All these things work together for good to those who love God and are "the called according to His purpose."
So in that phrase we discover why He does what He does.  The reason all these things work together for good is because that is His purpose. And don't miss the fact that this happens for those who love God.  that is a select group.  It is not for everyone in general that all things work together. It is for those who love God.  So this is a promise for believers.
And the promise is that this all works because that’s according to His purpose.  Salvation is what God purposed it to be, what He planned it to be based upon His own intention.  In other words, we are secure because that’s how God designed salvation. 
Whatever it is at the end, whatever we become when it's all said and done, will match exactly what it was God planned.  Whatever God intended for His salvation plan to be is what it will be.
So whatever God purposes to happen is going to happen.  So the end of salvation will be determined from the beginning of it. 
Let me give you some Old Testament commentary on that from Isaiah 46 where God is comparing Himself to the idols of Babylon.
Isaiah 46:9
In other words, that statement means that at the beginning, God can tell you exactly what the ending is going to be.  That is God’s omniscience, and His omniscience stretches through all the way to the end.  It doesn’t matter whether things have happened or not happened.  It doesn’t matter whether they have been historically recorded or not recorded. 
It doesn’t matter whether anybody has known them or experienced them, they are known to God.  God knows what hasn’t happened as well as He knows what has happened.  God knows the future as well as He knows the past.  There is nothing He doesn’t know.  And the fact that it hasn’t happened doesn’t mean that He doesn’t know it’s going to happen. 
In fact, I’ll even go a step further.  Not only does God know what’s going to happen, He determines what’s going to happen.  He determines the end at the beginning.  So whatever God’s determined end was for salvation is indeed what that end will be.
Verse 10
So that is God’s own declaration of the absolute determination that He has made to do what He plans to do. 
Then, notice the end of verse 11, “Truly I have spoken, truly I will bring it to pass.  I have planned it, surely I will do it.” 
Now, take that and apply it to salvation.  Whatever God planned is what will be done.  So what did God plan?  Or we could ask it this way, "What is the purpose of salvation?"
Well, let's explore that tonight.  Next week we'll look at the process God uses to accomplish His purpose, but tonight, let's just focus on the purpose of God in salvation.
If our salvation is eternal because that’s the way God designed it, and since that's the way He planned it, that's the way it will occur, and everything works together for our good because that’s consistent with the purpose of God, then what is the purpose of God?
Now the most obvious answer is to get us to heaven, right?  Why would God purpose to save us?  So we can go to heaven. 
Now I don't want to minimize that, because that's a pretty begin deal!  As we've already seen, to be able to take sinful humans like us and not just keep us out of hell, but bring us into the family  and give us this intimate relationship with God and allow us to spend eternity in heaven is big!
But that's not the primary purpose in salvation.  In fact, that falls quite short of the real purpose. So what is the primary goal?  The main purpose?  What did God have in mind way back there before He created the worlds that would ultimately come to pass off in the future somewhere and include those of us who love God?
There is a secondary goal and there is a primary goal.  The secondary goal is found in the middle of
verse 29
That we would "be conformed to the image of His Son."  So God determined that those who were called, justified and glorified would be conformed to the image of His Son.  That’s one of the purposes for which all things work together. 
So what does it mean to be conformed to the image of His Son?  What does it mean to be made to be like Christ?  I don't know all it means, but at least it means that as much as glorified humanity can be like incarnate deity, we’ll be like Him.  Philippians 3:20-21 says we’ll have a body like unto His glorious body, right?  First John 3:1 and 2, we’ll be like Him, for we see Him as He is. 
And by the way, right now, the Holy Spirit is conforming us, changing us, molding and making us, changing us form one level of glory to the next to be like Christ.  We are being remade and reshaped into His image.
And that process that began at salvation and continues even now will ultimately be completed when we meet the Lord in the air.
One of these days, we will essentially be what He is and that is perfect, mature, righteous, holy, pure humanity.   And the purpose of God is to conform us to that image.  But that is the secondary purpose of God. 
So what is the primary purpose?  Back to
verse 29
There we discover the primary purpose of God.  He has predestined, called, justified and glorified us and caused all things to work together for good to those who loved God and are called according to the secondary purpose of conforming us to the image of His Son, and the primary purpose of assuring that Jesus is the firstborn among many brethren. 
Now if you think that is a little anti-climactic or doesn't sound too important, maybe it's because you don't understand word “firstborn.” 
We tend to limit our thinking of the firstborn as being the one that was born first.  But that is not how the ancients understood the word.  In those days, when the firstborn held special position and rank when it came to handling the affairs of the estate.
The firstborn was the one who had the strength and the abilities to manage the family estate and he’d take all the assets and everything, the liabilities that they had, and make sense out of it all and continue the family estate and care for all the extended family that would be a part of that in those ancient cultures. 
But there is really a whole lot more to it than that.  maybe the best way to understand the word is to think in terms of preeminence. 
The firstborn is the preeminent one.  And if you read the verse in that way, then the purpose of God is to work everything out so that Jesus is recognized as the preeminent among many brethren. 
And when you put the two thoughts of verse 29 together, and amazing picture begins to develop as the Lord Who is not ashamed to call us His brothers, those who have been adopted into the family of God, brothers and sisters to Christ are conformed to His image.
We are made to be partakers of His very nature in that however a glorified humanity can be like incarnate deity, that's what we will be and experience.  And God is happy to share that with us, so much so that we are His heirs and joint heirs with Jesus.
And yet, when it's all said an done, even though we are siblings of Christ and heirs of God, He will be the preeminent one!  And that is the goal of salvation. 
And that's what God had in mind all along!  His express intention was to create an environment for all eternity where His Son is preeminent.
And in that environment, that existence, the Son of His love, the beloved one, in an eternal heaven, will forever be exalted by those who love Him and adore Him and were redeemed by His blood. 
You say, “Well, the angels could have done that.”  Not from the vantage point of grace or mercy!  Nto as those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.  In fact, God was powerless to put on display forever the praises of the glory of His grace until He creates man, redeems sinners and takes them to heaven. 
And in the end, the whole purpose of salvation was that the Father loved the Son so perfectly, so infinitely, so gloriously, so majestically, so perfectly that He had to demonstrate that love. 
So how was the Father going to demonstrate His love to the Son?  He was going to give Him a vast glorified gathering of saints who forever and ever and ever would praise Him and honor Him.  That’s why He did this. 
And that's why it is secondary that you are conformed to His image.  It’s primary that because you’re now conformed to His image, you can glorify Him forever.  The preeminence of Christ is everything. 
Paul was consumed with that thought!  That’s why, in Philippians 2 he says that God "gave Him a name that’s above every name; that at the name of Jesus, every knee bows.
In Colossians 1, he makes a statement beginning in verse 15 that reads like this:
Colossians 1:15
 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” 
Well, He’s not the first person created.  A lot of people were created before Jesus came along.  So He's not the firstborn chronologically of all creation.  However, of all that have ever been created, He’s the preeminent one.  That’s what it means. 
It is further defined in the next verses.
verses 16-18
Then, we read
verse 19
What did God want?  It was His pleasure to honor His Son.  It was His pleasure to bring that about by redeeming sinners who would constitute an eternal crowd of people who would honor His Son, glorify His Son, serve His Son, and even reflect the very glory of His Son. 
That was His purpose.  His purpose was not to get people halfway to heaven and have them fall off and go to hell.  His purpose was not to save them for a while.  His purpose was not to bring the gospel to them, hope they believe, and hope they could hang on.  His purpose was to create a redeemed humanity of saints who came to heaven by grace who would forever and ever and ever praise the One who died to make that possible:  the Son of God.
God gives us joy, peace, heaven, but not just for us.  We’re the secondary purpose.  But the apex of the divine purpose is that so all of us who are there forever can glorify His Son.  Christ is the central focal point in the history of redemption.  He is eternally to be glorified and honored. 
The purpose of salvation then is Christ.  It’s the Father’s love for the Son.  Think about it this way:
The Father set out in redemption to find a bride for His Son.  That’s why heaven is called the bridal city, the New Jerusalem.  Even the city is adorned as a bride for her husband.  That’s why the church is called the bride of Christ and He’s the bridegroom.  The whole of redemptive history is the Father finding a submissive, loving bride for His Son who will praise and honor Him forever and ever and ever.  That’s the purpose of God and that’s what He’s doing.
What did we read in Isaiah 46?  God said, “I planned it and I will do it.”  Consequently, “Whomever God foreknew” – verse 29 – “He predestined and He predestined them to become conformed to the image of His Son so that His Son would be the preeminent one among many brethren.” 
And then the process:  He predestined, He called, He justified, He glorified.  There’s no loss.  Whomever He predestined, He called.  Whomever He called, He justified.  Whomever He justified, He glorified.
And by the way, verse 31:  “If God is for us, who can be against us?”  
So if this is the plan of God, do you really think somebody's going to mess it up?  So rejoice in your security, rejoice in the intercessory work of Christ at the throne of God on your behalf, rejoice in the ongoing intercessory work of the Spirit in your heart, rejoice in the gracious, wondrous purpose of God, which will come to pass.
Let's pray.  
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