Two weeks ago we began a series called The Glory of God in the Order of Salvation. Romans 8:29-30 is referred to by theologians as “the golden chain” because it describes in glorious detail the process of our salvation as begun by God, carried out by God and completed by God. I have said this for three weeks now, but this is critical. The central actor in this passage and the subject of this and every biblical passage is God. The glory of God is the point of the entire Bible and therefore, the point of every sermon, every worship service, every Sunday School class, every program, strategy and purpose of our church. God is the point. God is the goal. The sooner you recognize that, the sooner you will find joy in salvation. The more you think that you are the point, the more miserable you will be.
This week we focus on the word “called”. We talked about that idea when we looked at Romans 8:28 and those who are “called” according to his purpose. But there can be some confusion when we read this word because our modern understanding of the word “called” is completely different than the biblical meaning. We think the following things when we hear “call”.
- To name something: When parents are deciding to name their child, they invariably hear, “What are you going to call him?” That just means, what name are you going to use when you speak to or about the child. People do this when they name their kid Suchandsuch the third and they call him Trey.
- When an umpire says that a ball was foul when it was actually fair, people say that he made a bad, “call”. This has to do with a verbal decision about a sporting event.
- When we want our kids to come down to eat we “call them down for dinner”.
- When we pick up the phone to contact another individual we say we are making a “call”.
- When you are in Chicago and you want to get somewhere in a hurry you “call” a cab.
- When you are making a decision on where to eat and you flip a coin, you say to the person choosing heads or tails, “call it in the air.”
There are lots of different ways to use the word “call”. Most of them involve the idea of potential. You call your kids hoping they will respond and come down for dinner. You call your friend hoping they will answer their phone so that you won’t have to talk to their voicemail. Each understanding of calling carries with it the idea of potential. The bible doesn’t have potential in mind when calling is discussed in this passage. There is a very specific meaning intended with this word in Romans 8:30 and I look forward to diving into the details with you this week.