In the case of every believer, there is a four-chronology biography-there is a four-magnitude story to be told about everyone who belongs in the kingdom of God.
A portrait of the redeemed saints in glory doing what God designed for them to do from before the foundation of the world and that is to praise and glorify and honor His Son.
Now I know that Bob is a fundamentalist, Baptist preacher but he also is one who loves the Word of God --.and one who loves the King James Bible.
This might be a little strange to Lenora if she were her alive today, but since she is in Heaven she is having a good time with those who have gone before.
I am sure over the years Lenora has heard what I am about to say, Bob and I have from time to time at the dinner table discussed the topic I am about to enter into.
There are four great stages in the believer’s life.
"But we are bound to give thanks, always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning CHOSEN you to SALVATION through SANCTIFICATION of the Spirit and belief in the truth." Whereunto he called you by our gospel to the obtaining of the GLORY of our Lord Jesus Christ."
The apostle Paul identifies those four great epics in II Thessalonians, chapter 2. Let me read what he says, "We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord." Now, he’s writing to a church, a congregation-we don’t know how large that congregation was but it was perhaps a hundred, perhaps a little more than that. He’s writing to a group of people and he basically describes their biography and it’s the same. He says, "Brethren beloved, God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Now, there were diverse people in that church with all kinds of different human biographies: each of them would have been different and lived a different life in different circumstances. But, when it came to their spiritual biography, it was identical and so he could speak to them collectively and say, "You’ve all come through the same histories," and here they are: election, justification, sanctification, and glorification. And, in the case of Lenora Temple, in the case of anybody else who belongs to God, glorification is the culmination of God’s redemptive epics. This is not a sad ending; this is the reason why it all began in the first place.
The Thessalonian believers had some concerns: they were worried about what happened to Christians who died. That’s sort of the issue lying behind the letter. And Paul, writing to them, gives a description of the biography of a believer that ultimately answers that question. He says that you don’t have to worry, there is a process going on here.
It begins with election. "God from the beginning chose you." When was the beginning? If you go to Titus, chapter 1, it tells us there that God made this plan "before time began." It says the same thing in II Timothy, chapter 1, verse 9, "…before time began." In the book of Revelation it says the names of believers were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from before "the foundation of the world."
This would be a meager attempt to explain……summing up all of Scripture, let me make an attempt at it. When no creation existed, when there were no angels and there were no humans, and there was no universe as we know it and there was no earth as we live on it-when there was only God, Trinitarian God, God the Father determined to give a love gift to the Son. Perfect love results in generosity and perfect giving; the love of the Father sought to be expressed to the Son in a gift.
What would that gift be? By God’s design, He determined before the foundations of the world, before time began, to give to the Son a redeemed humanity. That’s why, in John 6, Jesus said, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me." That’s why, in the same chapter, He said, "No one comes to the Father, but by Me, and no one comes to Me except the Father draws him." The Father, in an expression of perfect love, said to the Son, "I want to show My love to You: I want to give you a redeemed humanity." Why? "I want to give you beings who forever and ever and ever will praise and glorify Your name." The purpose of our birth in the first place, is so God could redeem us, so that we could bring Him praise and glorify His name for ever.
And, by the way, if you ever happen to read the book of Revelation, note chapter four and you get to see to heaven and when you get up there, you meet saints…and what are they saying? "Worthy is the Lamb to receive glory and honor and power" and all the rest. And that’s a portrait of the redeemed saints in glory doing what God designed for them to do from before the foundation of the world. That is to praise and glorify and honor His Son.
There’s another component. It says in I John 3:2 that when we see Him, we shall be like Him." In Romans 8:29, it says that we were chosen, we were elected, we were predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. That is what the verse says, even in the KJV
You can sum up the doctrine of election in a very simple way: God, before the foundation of the world, determined to give a redeemed humanity to His Son, to reflect His glory and to praise Him forever and ever and ever. God had a plan for our birth, and life, in time and in eternity.
What happens in our lives on earth is, in the big picture, slightly incidental. The goal that God had from before the foundation of the world for Lenora, has now entered into its fulfillment. All the rest was really prologue. But, it all started with election. It’s an incredible reality, you know! God not only knew, God chose.
Then there was justification. Once born into the world, the believer must hear the message of salvation, and God’s Spirit then prompts the heart and salvation occurs. Lenora was justified: she was declared righteous. Some of us might think she was declared righteous because she earned it-not true. By the deeds of the law, no flesh is justified. She, like all the rest of us, was a sinner and in need of grace.