Many weeks ago we began and this week we will finish 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 a while, but I have to keep repeating it so we don’t forget. 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.
And misery is something we have all dealt with from time to time and yet, we long for something greater, something hopeful. This is the year of hope at our church and the front of our bulletin carries the definition: The deeply held and daily acted upon trust that God is the ultimate source of all that is wise, true, loving and good, that what he is doing is best, and that what he has promised is reliable (Paul David Tripp). We read that definition and we think it sounds nice, but altogether out of reach. We long for something greater, but the cares of this life and the problems of the world weigh us down and that kind of hope seems impossible and maybe even irresponsible. Some people have a phrase to chide others who seem hopeful. “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re of no earthly good.” Is that really the problem? Do you find it hard to be hopeful about this life because you are so focused on eternity? I think the opposite is true. I think we are largely of no earthly good and without joy because we aren’t heavenly minded enough. The issue isn’t that we are too focused on glory. The issue is that we are too attached to the earthly. We will see this more clearly as we journey through this passage this week.