Previously Paul had been expounding on why Christians suffer in this life. In the last post we discovered that God, through His foreknowledge, predestines those who would respond in faith to become conformed to the image of Yeshua.
This next verse has become known in some circles as the "golden chain of salvation," the step by step process of Christian life. Let's examine this further.
Romans 8:30 (KJV)
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
According to this verse those that God predestines, He then calls. Those that are called are then justified. Finally, those that are justified, God glorifies. This is the clear progression spoken of in this verse.
1. Since God knows the future, He knows who will respond to Him.
2. Based on this knowledge He predestines them to be conformed to the image of Yeshua.
3. They are then called by God.
4. They are then justified (a legal description of a change in status). The penalty of sin has been paid for them by the death and resurrection of Yeshua.
5. They are then glorified. At the end of the ages, believers are resurrected and receive glorified (heavenly) bodies.
The difficulty comes in the third step. Calvinists believe that only those that go through step two will go through step three. But if we remember that verses 29 and 30 are not referring to salvation, but only to believers and why they experience trials and tribulations, it is evident that this progression is not speaking of unbelievers at all. Therefore it is not saying that unbelievers are never called. It is only addressing the progression of what believers experience.
Matthew 22:14 (KJV)
For many are called, but few are chosen.
According to Matthew many are called, but only a few become believers. Paul was trying to assure his believing readers that the trials they were experiencing were for a purpose that had a definitive outcome, the becoming more like Yeshua and receiving glorified bodies. As believers we have this glorious hope!