Inaugurated Glorification: Revisiting Romans 8:30 -- By: Dane Ortlund
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Revisiting Romans 8:30
* Dane Ortlund is Vice President for Bible Publishing at Crossway, 1300 Crescent St., Wheaton, IL 60187.
It has long perplexed interpreters of Paul that the apostle tacks on a final aorist verb to the so-called “golden chain” of salvation in Rom 8:30: “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”1 How could Paul say that believers are glorified, just as they are already foreknown, predestined, called, and justified? Such apparent audacity on the part of the apostle led James Denney a century ago to call this “the most daring anticipation of faith that even the New Testament contains.”2
Most scholars accordingly suggest that Paul links “glorified” so closely with the other four verbs to drive home the sheer certainty of what is yet to happen in the future.3 According to Nygren, “it is abundantly clear” that glorification in Rom 8:30 cannot refer to a present reality.4 Schreiner pointedly states, “The glorification posited here does not begin in this life.”5 Thus it is certainty as to the future, not reality as to the present, that is meant by ἐδόξασεν.6 Some scholars communicate
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this by speaking of glorification here as achieved from the divine or eternal perspective, though still future from ours.7 Others, especially among German scholarship, appeal to Christian baptism as the reason Paul can speak of glorification as an accomplished reality along with the other saving benefits.8 Yet another interpretation
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conceives of glorification in Romans 8:30 as referring more broadly to theosis, a participation in the divine nature that begins in this life, though the emphasis remains on the future. Though historically most common among the Eastern Orthodox church, this theological emphasis has been making its way into Pauline scholarship mo...
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