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The Progress of Salvation

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
May 18, 2021 4:00 am

The Progress of Salvation

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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May 18, 2021 4:00 am

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God has a purpose and that purpose is to express his love to sinners, God foreordained pre-determines to love a certain person predetermined love relationship born in the eternal purpose of God that agonizing trial. Every soldier must face week after week of being yelled at, push to grueling physical limits and forged into a hardened warrior in the midst of that crucible. When the mental, emotional and physical toil is at its worst. There's great comfort in looking ahead, knowing there's a day coming when boot camp will end now in a much more profound way. There's great comfort for you. If you're Christian. In looking ahead to the glories of heaven and knowing that God has secured a place for you. There, that's John's focus today as he considers the issue of God's sovereignty over salvation. It's part of his study titled the grip of God hears John MacArthur now with today's lesson we have again the privilege to open the word of God in my own heart is rejoicing and what prospects await us as we look back to the eighth chapter of Romans Romans chapter 8 and we are looking at versus 28 to 30 as the section that were in right now.

Out of this great great chapter we've been discussing the fact that this chapter assures us that our salvation is eternal so many people wonder in debate about the issue of whether you can lose your salvation, and it is sad because the text of this chapter is so clear about the matter of the believers. Security. In fact, these three verses versus 2829 and 30 really sum up the most powerful statement of security in all the Bible verse 28 says, and 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 for whom he foreknew he also predestined to become conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren, in whom he predestined, these he also called and whom he called these he also justified and whom he justified, these he also glorified. This is to put it mildly, a monumental portion of Scripture in these three verses guarantee without variation without equivocation and without exception, the final glory of all of those who are saved, and so much of modern evangelism today fails to grasp this so much of modern evangelism leaves people the idea that somehow their eternal destiny is based upon a decision that they make Scripture frankly has quite a different emphasis in the first place. An unregenerate man is dead in trespasses and sin and utterly unable to respond to the gospel, the God of this world has blinded his mind he is ignorant he is the captive to sin.

So much so that, according to first Corinthians 214 it says a natural man that's an unconverted man does not accept the things of the spirit of God. Their foolishness to him.

He cannot under stand them. You can't on his own. He can't make that decision. It's impossible. In John chapter 8 and verse 43 Jesus says something I think is very important. He says why do you not understand what I'm saying to the Jews arresting to them it's because you cannot hear my word, you can't. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father and when he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature. He's a liar and the father of lies but because I speak the truth, you do not believe me you can't.

You belong to Satan your minds or blinded your dad in sin your slave do iniquity, you're a natural man who cannot understand the things of God. You can't make that decision on your own, it's impossible this has to be initiated by God. John chapter 6 if you backup just a little bit and this is very familiar so will spend a lot of time on John six verse 44 no one can come to me. Jesus said, unless the father who sent me draws him. No one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him and I will raise him up on the last day that is the same pledge. You can't be saved. You can't make a decision: quote for Christ unless the father draws you and whoever the father draws Christ will raise to eternal glory.

Nobody gets lost in the middle.

This is the plan and the purpose of God unfolding in redemptive history in the seventh verse of Romans eight it says the mind that this is the unregenerate person again.

The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God.

It does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You see when you talk about human depravity. We talk a lot about what human depravity is human depravity.

Sinful depravity does not mean everybody is as wretched as they could be. Some people are basically humanly better than others that are more moral, more loving, more kind, more is more goodness in their lives and things like that not everybody is as bad as they could be.

But the doctrine of total depravity, human depravity, fallenness is not to say that everybody is as wretched as they could possibly be, but that everyone is utterly unable to do anything to change theirs. Their sinful condition. Nobody is going to come and make a decision for Christ.

Unless God draws them that's essential. Man can't make a move toward Christ until God moves in that direction. In line with his eternal purpose. So this passage bases our salvation security not on what we've decided or will decide in the future, but on what God decided long ago.

In the past before the world began, and since salvation is his plan and his purpose. Ultimately, for the love of his son, that he might give a bride to his son since God chose to save some out of the human race to be a bride to his son. He is the one who purposed it and he is the one who pledges to bring it to pass. It is his plan. It is his purpose and it will be brought about by his will and his power. We respond by faith to the prompting of the spirit of God that is true, but it is his purpose now to go back to Romans chapter 8, and with that in mind, just some some basics on understanding what's going to verse 29.

We talked about the purpose of salvation.

We talked about that last time I'll just mention briefly the purpose of salvation according to verse 29 of Romans eight is this.

First of all, that we might become conformed to the image of his son that is that the purpose of salvation from God's initial planning. At the end of verse 28. According to his purpose. And what is his purpose that we might be conformed to the image of his son. He wanted to give as I said a bride to a son, but he wanted to give to his son. This redeemed humanity that would be able to reflect his glory.

That would somehow be made like him. That's what we talked about last time we are saved in hope and someday we will be conformed to the image of Christ. Philippians 321 that will take on the that of the same kind of glorious body that he had in his resurrection will be made like him.

Now let's look at how the plan unfolded in verses 29 and 30 start at the beginning of verse 29 for whom he foreknew he also predestined that verse 30 and whom he predestined, these he also called, in whom he called these he also justified, in whom he justified, these he also offer there is a progression right there. We saw the purpose of salvation.

Here's the progress of salvation and Paul outlines the unfolding eternal purpose of God in five steps foreknowledge predestination, calling justification and glorification. Those are very, very important to understand because now you will be able to grasp the progress of God's unfolding, saving purpose. Let's take step one, for whom he foreknew foreknowledge foreknowledge is the first one. This is the first one because it is the most primitive of these steps, that is to say it's the first one is the most foundational. It is the most essential. The purpose of salvation. The purpose of bringing men and women to eternal glory, that they might manifest the image of Christ is determined initially in for knowledge.

I was at me when you hear the word foreknowledge what you think of what does that word mean well and give you some options.

Some people think it means foresight. It it it means that God this is a business for some people a great escape from the burden of the doctrine of predestination and they want to say well this is his foresight God because he's God knows everything past present future can look down the through history that hasn't happened yet and see who was going to believe, and he could see who was going to decide for Christ and who was not. And once he looked down through history and saw what all of us were going to do. Then he predestined, those whom he saw were going to believe, to be saved, based on what he saw there were going to do well. I admit it is true he can see history before it happens. You can write it before it happens and he does. He knows everything. The problem with that doctrine is a very serious problem and it is this man wicked ignorant blind, unable to understand the truth. Unable to understand the gospel unable to comprehend God unable to get past his iniquity who hates God is God's enemy loves his wickedness is dead in trespasses and sins can't make the decision for Christ. That's the first thing that we have to recognize. Secondly, even if you agree that God just saw what people were going to do. You really don't save God from some imagined injustice because the left, left the question if he knew that he knew people were going to choose against him and go to hell forever wired to create and if you say he didn't have any power over whether they were created or not you really have a problem because now you have a God that's less than sovereign. You have a God is not the king of the universe is not in control and that's not the God of the Bible and you have to ask the question all right if he just looks down the road and see some people believe in somebody will not believe you have to ask the question where their faith come from, is it natural for an unregenerate, wicked, blind, hopeless, helpless sinner to all of a sudden exercise saving faith in Jesus Christ. No, it's not natural it's impossible right it's absolutely impossible can happen couldn't do it. I mean the terminology is dead in trespasses and sins cannot understand the things of God, blinded ignorant, hopeless, helpless and desperately wicked no knowledge of God is in them.

They love darkness is no way that this can mean foresight, God does have foresight and he does see who will have listen to this.

He does see who will have faith but it is the faith that he himself grants that he foresees, but that's not what the word foreknowledge means he knows of course he knows because he knows everything, but there's something preliminary to that information. You know it says in John 33. You can't enter my kingdom. Nicodemus man cannot enter the kingdom of God unless he is what morning it-pull out off-up, how you gonna do that. The prophet says can the leper changes spots can't be done can't do it no man comes in. The father unless the father draws him some possible Philippians 129 for you.

This is so good for to you it has been granted for Christ's sake not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake. Listen to that verse, God granted you the privilege of believing for Christ's sake, for the glory of Christ, for the eternal honor of Christ, he allowed you to believe you can't you can't believe. Apart from that, you who're dead in trespasses and sins.

While that doesn't mean foresight. What does it mean well, some people suggested means foreordained. It just means that he just decrees, but he just says I decree that such and such is going to be saved. Well, that's true, it says in first Peter one verse one who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the father. Some people think that just means that the he just foreordained. But there's more to it than that, it does contain that concept them in in the doctrine of predestination contains that concept.

Although that there's more than that in the word foreknowledge. I'm just thinking of the word foreknowledge. It appears also in the first Peter one elsewhere in inverse a 20 Christ was foreknown before the foundation of the world. That certainly doesn't mean foresight doesn't mean for the foundation of the world. Jesus looked at history and solid Christ was going to do planned it acts 223 says that Christ went to the cross. Listen to this by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, that's a very important verse.

Acts 223 counsel is Boulay using classical Greek for convened councils making decisions.

This is a decision for a predecided course of action determinate counsel of God means God determine the course of action determinate is a perfect participle speaks of the completed action with continuing results. Literally the word is original from which we get horizon which speaks of the boundaries or limits that are marked out God then predecided a course of action and marked out the boundaries of that action. This is determinate counsel and foreknowledge foreknowledge means in that passage by virtue of an old Greek rule that some of you know the Randall Sharp rule foreknowledge in the passage acts 223 means the same thing. So foreknowledge means determinate counsel. That passage is very important in coming to that conviction. Foreknowledge doesn't just mean God knows what's going to happen is is predict pre-determinate counsel is a predecided course of action with the boundaries and limits marked out that equals foreknowledge so it definitely has the aspect of forward leaning in it, but but that doesn't say enough. That doesn't say enough. It is true that in predestination God in his omniscience can see down all the eons of history and it is true that God in his foreknowledge has predeterminate preordained the flow of what is going to happen. But there's another component in this that I want to bring to you and that is this the concept of foreknowledge embraces the idea of a predetermination not just to take a course of action but to take a course of action motivated by love motivated by love and this is very very important it is to predetermine an expression of love. God was predetermine even in the foreign inn for knowing Christ as we saw an expression of love toward Christ, which would bring Christ great glory forever through redemption is a predetermined foreordained foreseen love relationship, born in the eternal purpose of God. And I want to show you that throughout Scripture the concept of knowing is more than information.

You go back in the Old Testament, only to follow me, I'll just quote these things to you because I have a couple of them here in Amos chapter 3 this is a very very simple statement, but in Amos 320 snorts as God speaking to Israel. You only have I literally known you only have I known among all the families of the earth does that mean it is that the families of the earth of all the families of the earth. They're the only ones he knows about know it's not information here it's predetermination. In fact, the NAS translates the word no here as chosen, so there is that for ordaining aspect, but behind that idea of knowing is a very intimate truth. For example, you go back in the book of Genesis and it says Cain knew his wife means more than he knew she was or where she was or what she was like because it follows it by saying Cain knew his wife and she bore a son word no is used. Sort of like a euphemism in Scripture to express the most intimate expressions of love and Joseph you remember in the New Testament was shocked when Mary was pregnant because he had never known her. He had never known her. The concept of knowing then carries that beautiful intimate love that brings to together has the idea of the caring for someone in Hosea, for example 13 five I knew you in the wilderness in the land of drought. The NAS translates it cared for you, but it's the word no.

I knew you there is a wonderful intimate expression in the word no.

This is true in the New Testament. I could show you others in the old book, listen to first Corinthians 83 but if anyone loves God, he is known by him now.

From the standpoint of cognition. You have to love God, to be information in his infinite mind. He knows everybody on the face of the earth. But here's knowing in an intimate sense. If anyone loves God, he is known by him in the sense of an intimate love relationship. Remember in Matthew chapter 7. Many will say to me Lord, Lord, and I will say to them depart for me. I never what I never knew you as you mean. I don't know. You are never heard of you, where did you come from your not on the list. No, he means I don't have any. I don't have any intimate relationship with you. I don't have any love relationship with you. I don't belong to you and you to me.

Galatians 49. Now that you have come to know God, I love this. Or rather, to be known by God.

When you become a Christian, you become known to God, not as information but in intimacy. John 1014 my sheep hear my voice and I know them to an absolutely beautiful concept. Beautiful transit even today in a sort of perverse way, you have the expression carnal knowledge which is really a holdover from this to express a fleshly intimacy in second Timothy 219 it says the Lord knows those who are his Lord knows those who are his soul back to Romans chapter 8 when you see the word foreknowledge there of course, there is a for ordaining element to it.

Of course, there is a foresight element to it as God can see down the path but there is also a for love in it. God foreordained predetermine's to love a certain person predetermined foreordained foreseen love relationship, born in the eternal purpose of God.

That's will be formed. He would come to know them.

That's why Ford is there, it hadn't happened yet. He for new he would come eventually to an intimate relationship with them down the way through redemptive history. So what you have is this God has a purpose and that purpose is to express his love to sinners he predetermines on the basis of the desire to express his love to sinners which sinners he foreordained onto salvation will be the recipients of his eternal intimacy is eternal love and that of his son and that's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary with a look at God's eternal love for Christians. It's part of John's current series on grace to you title the grip of God. John, I love this study and I know it's giving our listeners helpful biblical truths that they can lean on for assurance of their salvation. And with that in mind, what would you say is the single most convincing evidence that a person is saved can you boil it down to one thing I would say that one thing is what Peter says in in first Peter chapter 1 where he says that the testing of your faith yields assurance. Are you there a lot of things that indicate your your genuine salvation. Your love for the Lord your love for his word.

Your love for his people. Humility your willingness to acknowledge your sin, your desire for obedience. But I think the great test of true salvation is a severe trial and when you come out the other side of the trial and your faith is intact. That is the acid test.

That's the ultimate test. You don't you when you see somebody who claims to be a Christian and him and somebody to get cancer or they have some terrible disaster in their life and also they walk away from God.

That was the manifestation that that faith wasn't real, true faith is unbreakable and who is the classic illustration of that in the Bible, Job know the devil says, well, Job just serves you because you bless him and God says no this faith that saves us forever faith it's eternal it's not going to ever be broken so he proves the point by just allowing Satan to battered Job and everything is lost. The mean death of his family and illness and he loses everything and then the worst of it is stupid counsel from well-intentioned but misguided friends and and in the end Job the triumph of the book of Job is, though he slay me, yet will I trust him. That is the kind of faith that survives a test.

That's it. That's incomprehensible what Job went through and that's the reason for the book of Job. To show you that the faith that God gives to those who are his children can't be broken by any trial or a mass of trials.

So ultimately it's coming out the other side of a serious trial. That's why we get to our age. My age I've seen enough of those and my faith is come through all of them intact, and I know it's a faith that God has given me as a heavenly gift, so let me just say this if you want some help on this. There's a book called save without a doubt, it's available, affordable 220 pages save without a doubt, you don't need to doubt this book will help you portably priced and shipping is free in the US. That's right, friend and if you are not sure you're Christian. If you're battling doubt and fear. Scripture has answers and John's book save without a doubt can show you where to find the biblical assurance you're looking for or reveal that you haven't repented and you need to submit to Christ to order a copy.

Contact us today save without a doubt, costs $10.50 and shipping is free to order a copy. Call toll-free anytime 855 grace or go to our website Jide again to order this book, call 805 five grace or go to Jide and if you're wrestling with other questions as you study Scripture, let me encourage you to get our flagship resource MacArthur study Bible. It has nearly 25,000 Notes introductions to each book of Scripture more than 100 charts and maps. All of it designed to help you align your thoughts, affections, and actions with the word of God. The study Bible comes in the new King James new American Standard and English standard versions and also several non-English translations including Spanish, Italian, French, Russian, get yours. Call 855 grace or visit our website Jide that's Jide now for John MacArthur and the entire grace to you. Staff I'm Phil Johnson encouraging you to be here tomorrow when John continues his look at what it takes to know that your salvation is secure.

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