The process through which God saves His people, brings them into His family and conforms them to His image is known as the order of redemption. The beginning through the end of redemption is seen in this passage from Romans 8, but with the key ‘milestones’ of calling, justification and glorification, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (28-30). According to John Murray, author of Redemption Accomplished and Applied, redemption consists of eight ‘steps’ in the following order:
Effectual calling -> regeneration -> faith / repentance -> justification -> adoption -> sanctification -> perseverance -> glorification
This article explains the first five (calling through adoption) based on Murray’s work with the associated Biblical references.
1. Effectual calling: the sovereign act of God’s grace and power addressed to our conscience, whereby we are given a high, holy and heavenly summons to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the Gospel
- For many are called, but few are chosen. – Matthew 22:14
- God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. – 1 Corinthians 1:9
- Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. – 2 Peter 1:10
- Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, – 2 Timothy 1:8-9
- I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called – Ephesians 4:1
2. Regeneration: an inward act of God’s grace that enables us to yield to God’s call with the appropriate and necessary response. It is an act of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which renews our hearts and minds after the image of God (in faith and repentance, love and obedience) and delivers us from the defilement (power) of sin
- Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:3-8
- Also see John 6:44-65
3. Faith/repentance (conversion): our response to God’s call enabled by His regeneration. It’s the fusion of knowledge, conviction and trust. Faith is knowledge passing into conviction and is conviction passing into confidence (see more about the components of faith). It is entrusting ourselves to Him and is inseparably bound to repentance and together result in conversion
- Knowledge: We don’t trust a person of whom we know nothing. We must know who Christ is, what He has done, and what He is able to do… Otherwise faith would be blind conjecture at the best and foolish mockery at the worst. There must be apprehension of the truth of Christ. (Romans 10:17)
- Conviction: Faith is not only an assent to the truth respecting Christ but also a recognition of the exact correspondence that there is between the truth of Christ and our deeds as lost sinners…It is conviction registers the verdict that Christ is exactly suited to all that I am in my sin and misery and to all that I should aspire to be by God’s grace
- Trust: Faith cannot stop short of self-commitment of Christ, a transference of reliance upon ourselves and all human resources to reliance upon Christ alone for salvation. It is receiving and resting upon Him.
- See the repent and believe verses such as Mark 1:15 along with Ephesians 2:8 and Hebrews 11
4. Justification: our legal acceptance before God as righteous as a result of faith. An act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.
5. Adoption: a (legal) act of God’s free grace as a consequence of regeneration, where we are transferred from an enemy of God to His family with the right to all the associated privileges
- But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. – John 1:12-23
- For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. – Romans 8:14-17
- And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. – Galatians 4:6-7
- See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. – 1 John 3:1
The second part of this article covers sanctification through glorification.