Secured by the Golden Chain

Lesson 30: Romans 8:29-30

Secured by the Golden Chain

by Bob Burridge ©2011

The book of Romans tells about God’s eternal plan for the salvation of his people. It shows an amazing plan that was accomplished by Christ, and is applied by the Holy Spirit. As Christians we are thankful for being forgiven and having our souls set free, but an agonizing struggle continues with the stubborn remains of sin in our lives. We live in a world full of lies, anger, and tragedy. Yet through it all, God lays out a way of life for his children, a way of Christian optimism. It is not the self-deceiving wishful thinking of the world’s optimism. It is based upon revealed reality: the unfailing and perfect promise of God.

Our last study was Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

The “good” promised is not earthly riches, freedom from disease, or safety from crime. It is not that you will never lose a loved one, or have to endure some horrible experiences. There is while we endure these things hard times, an amazing inner peace from Christ that surfaces when we most need it. Also, there is the future hope Paul had just been writing about, our inheritance in glory.

God tells us that everything works together to produce this good. Our Sovereign God uses even our sufferings, weaknesses, and failings to help us grow in Christ. This makes us spiritually stronger here, and prepares us for our place in glory. This consolation through our times of suffering is not promised to everybody. This verse only assures it to those who love God, and are called according to his purpose.

In the next two verses Paul shows how sure that promise is. Romans 8:29 and 30 describe what is often called “The Golden Chain”.

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

There are five links in this chain. They show an unbreakable connection that secures us to God’s blessing eternally. This certainty is anchored on one end in the eternal love and decree of God. It is attached at the other end to the promise of glory forever. The chain can never be broken. Each link is forged from the promises of God. This makes the chain infinitely secure. It binds each of God’s children to an infallible future, eternal glorification in Christ.

The chain begins with its anchor in God’s eternal decree.

29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

It all begins in God’s foreknowledge of those he promises to glorify. The word “to foreknow” is a verb formed from the Greek root word prognosis (προγνοσις); We use it as a medical term. A prognosis tells a patient in advance how his condition will progress. However, there are different kinds of foreknowing in the Bible.

Sometimes it means simply knowing about something in advance. That can’t be what it means here. It would make no sense. God knows all things in advance. He knows all people in advance, but all people are not predestined to become like Christ. They are not all justified by Christ headed for glory in the last day. Paul did not write, “because of what God foreknew he predestined…” He wrote, “for whom he foreknew he predestined”

Besides, it would make no sense that God looked ahead to see what happens in time to decide what he should eternally purpose to happen. God knows all things eternally and unchangeably. There cannot be a time when God made up his mind based upon things that could only happen after his creation of the world.

What would God look for to decide who to predestine to Christ? Would he look ahead to see their faith? That could not be. In Acts 13:48 it says ” as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.” Therefore faith is the result of God’s appointment. It cannot be its cause. The cause cannot be based upon the result, or the result would be the cause. This would contradict Acts 13:48, and would make humans the determiners of the mind of God.

Would God look ahead to see their good works? That could not be either. Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. ” Again, our works are the result of God’s preparing us before hand in Christ, not its cause.

Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:9 that God “… saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began”

The meaning here obviously includes some kind of selection of certain ones only. God is often said to specially know his people in a way different than the way knows all others.

John 10:14 , “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”

1 Corinthians 8:3, “But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.”

Romans 11:2, “God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. …” This is a special reference to Israel, God’s chosen nation before the time of Christ. Here his foreknowledge is defined as that special relationship that marked them out from other nations.

Matthew 7:23, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Certainly this verse does not mean that God was ignorant of the existence of unbelievers. It cannot mean that the all knowing God discovers that some existed he did not know about. It can only mean one thing. God has specially known some people in a way that makes them his own. Those who are not his own he does not know in this special way.

This first link in the chain means that God set his heart to know some specially as His own. He did this from the beginning, before anyone had done good or evil.

This means that God’s “foreknowing” is his loving us and choosing us by grace alone. That is how God has always expressed himself toward his people. In Jeremiah 31:3 the LORD said, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

Those God has known specially beforehand he has predestined. Predestination is another of those words that people struggle with. I have heard Christians say that their church does not believe in predestination. How can that be? Here it is in our Bibles. The word appears in many other verses too. Most likely those who deny this statement of Scripture redefine the word to allow for certain assumptions they have made.

The word verse clearly means that God made a determination about the people he foreknew as his own. The purpose of this predestination is that his people would be conformed to the image of Christ.

Humans were originally created in the image of God to represent him in the world. When Adam sinned that image was badly marred in us all. Instead of subduing all things for God’s glory, humans began abusing things for their own pleasure. In this fallen condition they ignore the Creator’s glory and purpose in all things. Their power is used to advance their own agenda and interests instead of the Kingdom of God. Their morality, sense of justice, and concept of truth, are based upon standards contrary to those God has revealed to us.

God purposed that through Christ those he foreknew would be restored to being able to show God’s image to the world. Our predestination is not only to get us to heaven, or to make us believe. It is so that we might progress in holy living, shaped by the model of Jesus. In 1 Peter 1:1-2 the Apostle spoke of God’s foreknowledge and choosing with reference to how he makes them obedient. Peter addressed his letter , “… To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.”

God brings his decree into the individual’s life by a special calling.

Romans 8:30a, “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; …”

This is the third link in the chain. All those God has foreknown as his own, and predestined to be like Christ He calls to himself so that this sanctifying change will take place in them.

There are two distinct types of calling mentioned in God’s word. One kind of calling in Scripture is not just to those predestined to life in Christ. Jesus said, “many are called but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). The call Jesus spoke about there was the outward call that invites individuals to become believers. He makes it clear that God has not chosen all those who are invited in this way. The outward invitation saves no one, and is not the link in this golden chain. So the call here is the one by which those who are chosen beforehand are assured to also be justified.

In Romans 1-3 we saw that no fallen human can respond to the gospel call on his own. Men love to be religious, and to do things that improve their opinion of themselves. They will not admit they are offensive to God, or that their only hope to be avoid condemnation in the judgment is the death of Jesus in their place, and the grace of a sovereign God who alone can change them. As Jesus said in John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

There is also this special call internally by the Spirit. It changes a person’s standing with God. When the Holy Spirit calls inwardly the person most gratefully comes. God in this special calling transforms the heart. He gives the person spiritual life, and the ability to know and to trust the words of God. This is “regeneration”. It is what the Bible means when it speaks of being “born again.”

When the Spirit gives us life, we can no more resist this call than a creature could resist his own creation.

The next link in the chain is justification.

Romans 8:30b. ” … whom He called, these He also justified; …”

“Justified” is a legal term. It is a declaration of innocence by a court. In this case it is the judgment of God that through Christ our debt is fully paid. This is the great theme around which Paul builds the whole book of Romans. In 1:17 he quoted Habakkuk 2:4 that “the just shall live by his faith”

God’s own holy nature makes it impossible for him to set aside guilt without its deserved punishment. That is what Jesus came to do for those God had foreknown as his own. When those called by the Spirit are justified, the work of Jesus Christ is applied to them. The righteousness of Jesus is credited to the sinner, and the sinner’s guilt is considered paid for by the Savior.

When the offense is removed, it removes the moral barrier between them and God. They are restored to fellowship with him, and are promised his blessing forever.

Then there is the final link in the chain.

Romans 8:30c, “… and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

This is the great hope, the consolation that keeps us looking ahead while we struggle here. One day the work of God in our hearts will be completed. We who have been called to the Savior by grace will be received into eternal glory. We will be changed, in body and soul, to live in the presence of the Lord forever.

This is so certain, that Paul puts it in the past tense as if it is already a “done deal”. God who sees the end from the beginning assures us that our final blessing is assured. No believer will come short of this final blessing.

This is an unbreakable chain. Its links are more precious than gold. Who are those who are to be glorified? those same ones God has justified. Who are those God justifies? Those same ones he has called to himself. Who does God call? Those same ones he has predestined to become like his Son. Who does God predestine in this way? Those same ones foreknown by him from the beginning.

It is all by grace. Nothing of our own merit enters into it at all. There is nothing that should make us proud or secure in ourselves. The undeserved love of God has set us free through Christ. That is the plain truth of it.

Titus 3:5 says, “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit”

Have you experienced that call of God on your heart? Has his Spirit convicted you of your hopeless condition, and humbled you before your maker? Has he filled you with awe at the gracious sacrifice of Jesus Christ to redeem those totally unworthy? Has he stirred you to trust in that work of the Savior? Do you want to learn to be like him?

If so, that middle link assures you of that to which it is attached on both sides. You can be certain that God has loved you for all eternity. You would not experience those dispositions in your heart if you had not been called inwardly by the work of the Holy Spirit as the work of Jesus Christ brings new life to what was spiritually dead. It assures you that in God’s eyes you are now justified, and one day will be received into glory to live forever in the house of the Lord.

When you struggle with hard times, face tragedy and disappointments, When you falter and sin against the God you love — hang on to this golden chain. It is anchored in the ancient love of God on the one end of the chain, and is tethered on the other end to the promises of eternal glory. It assures you that what our heavenly Father brings us through works toward what is truly good. It helps you mature into the spiritual child God is making you to be, and it fits you for your place in eternal glory.

There is no suffering of this present world that can cast even a dim shadow when we stand in the light of this astounding promise. To hold on to your doubts you must assume the absurd, that God fails to justify those he predestined and called to be made like Christ. God himself rules out the possibility that anyone who is justified by his grace could fail to be ultimately glorified.

Dr. Haldane commented on this verse saying, “It is impossible to find words which could more forcibly and precisely express the indissoluble connection that subsists between all the parts of this series, or show that they are the same individuals that are spoken of throughout.”

From commencement to consummation, the promise of God stands sure. No greater consolation to the struggling believer is imaginable.

(The Bible quotations in this lesson are from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.)

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Who Is Your Father?

Lesson 27: Romans 8:14-17

Who Is Your Father?

by Bob Burridge ©2011

The scene in John 8 must have been quite dramatic. Hostile Jews stood around Jesus hearing his words but not understanding him. They claimed to be children of God, but would not face the fact that they needed to be set free from sin and guilt. They had corrupted God’s word, and made excuses for living to serve their self-interests. They trusted in their heritage, as if that was all God’s promise considered (John 8:39a). They proudly said to Jesus, “Abraham is our father.”

Jesus made it clear that God never defined his people as those merely descended from someone God had blessed. His covenant with Abraham did not promise forgiveness and eternal life for all those born into the line of the covenant family. Jesus said to them in John 8:239b-41a, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.”

This only confused them more. Is he saying that Abraham isn’t our ancestor? that we’re not Jews? Does Jesus mean that we are illegitimate children of some Gentile? They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father — God” (John 8:41b). They were so sure that they were the true sons of God, but it was based upon misunderstandings.

Jesus showed them that their claim did not fit the way they lived. He said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.” (John 8:42-43)

They really thought they were God’s children, but Jesus exposed the hard truth; “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44)

Jesus did not cater to their confused beliefs. Claim what ever they will, Satan was their spiritual father, not the God of Abraham. They behaved like the one who wanted God’s glory for himself, who obscured God’s truth. They shared the desires, values and goals of the Devil.

The Apostle John later wrote about this same truth in his first Epistle (1 John 3:10), “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.”

Today, DNA testing has given us a powerful tool for identifying a person’s real physical father. A child may have been made to believe that a person is his father who is not. DNA profiles rule out all pretenders, and show the child’s true parent. Many cases of paternity, and of baby switching by hospitals, have been solved this way.

So then, how do we test for spiritual sonship? How can we know if we are truly Sons of God? Some believe all people are sons of God, but that is contrary to the revealed facts of Scripture. Many believe themselves to be specially God’s true children, but they have no grounds for that belief.

Who really are the sons of God?

Romans 8:14-17, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “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 joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

Being a child is a creation principle set up to demonstrate the relationship between God and his people. It is far more than just being born to a parent physically. It ought to imply a special relationship. There should be a special love and affection of the parents toward their children. It includes special privileges that go along with being part of a family. It means that children take after their parents in some ways. They have or develop many of the same habits and dispositions.

Those who are made into members of God’s family enjoy all these special advantages. God has a special love for his true children. He redeems them and keeps them. God cares for them specially, and promises blessings both in this life and in the life to come. At their new birth, God begins the process of improving holiness in them. They begin to take on the characteristics of God, their Father. They grow in love, mercy, patience, gentleness, holiness, and faith.

There are certain characteristics that identify the true sons of God. These charcteristics are not causes of sonship. They are evidences of it. Paul brings this up here in Romans to assure the believers. Though they struggle with overcoming the inner remains of sin, there is a promise from God: If someone is truly God’s child, they should have no reason for doubts about their salvation, or terror as they look to the day of God’s final judgment.

Being God’s child is the most wonderful assurance of hope in all the universe. The evidences in this text are unmistakable marks that show a person that his sonship is genuine.

1st – There is a walk that characterizes the sons of God.

Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”

It is not our walk or our life that makes us children of God. It is our true sonship that produces our walk.

They are the Sons of God who are led by the Holy Spirit, those who are governed by him in their living. His word tells what a godly walk is like. It tells us what kind of living pleases God. It is the Holy Spirit in us (as explained in 8:9-11) that produces that walk.

The Spirit does not work in God’s children to get them to walk in a more godly way against their desires. The Spirit changes their desires by regenerating them through the work of Christ. He does not just externally hold them back from sins they love and would rather do. He takes away the love for sinning, and makes them truly want to honor God. Though this love and devotion is never perfect in this life, it is an unmistakable longing the Spirit puts in them. The Spirit enlightens their understanding of spiritual things revealed in the word. Inwardly he guides his people into all truth, and produces in them behaviors and attitudes which the Bible calls “the fruit of the Spirit.”

Those who see this spiritual inclination in their living, are the sons of God. Those in whom these things are absent have no assurance of sonship.

2nd – The sons of God have a different motivation for obedience.

Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ “

The sons of God are those who are delivered from fear into confident dependence upon God. Their inner disposition is not moved by the workings of dread about their standing before their Creator.

Before God’s grace is applied there is a slavish anxiety in the soul. It believes that its future must be deserved, that it must be earned. The fallen heart looks at God’s law not as a revealing of an insurmountable need, but as a formula for becoming a child of God.

The lost struggle against impossible odds. God’s law demands a perfection no one can produce. It is plain from their own conscience that they are guilty before a holy God. They also have a love for sin itself. They would rather put their own desires first, than to deny themselves things God forbids. Over their heads hangs an inevitable apprehension of eternal punishment. To suppress this often denied awareness, they must live in self deception.

For the child of God there is a different motive for obedience. In place of that awful dread and personal cravings for immediate pleasures, there is a sense of adoption into the family of a loving and caring God. God’s sons want to live to please God out of gratitude. They understand that Jesus Christ paid their awful debt of guilt and has forgiven them. They know that they have been set free from sin’s blindness and slavery. They want to do what pleases God for his sake, not just for their own benefits.

What changes them is the spirit of adoption. Where once they were sons of Satan, they are now transformed inwardly, and given a new love. As sons they know their Heavenly Father hears them so they cry out to him saying, “Abba! Father!”

There are two words in the original text. The first is Abba (אבא) which is Aramaic, the common language of the Jews at that time. The second word is pataer (πατηρ), the Greek word for “father.” Both words mean the same thing. Each meaningful specially to the readers, each in his own language. We in English call him by the word “Father.” Contrary to some popular commentaries, neither word is demeaning or informal. Both these words openly confess true sonship and family confidence.

Just as a child cries out to his father for help and comfort in times of need, we who are born again, adopted into the covenant family, call out to our Heavenly Father in confidence and expected blessing.

No child in this life is all he ought to be. Even the sons of God struggle with imperfect faith and imperfect obedience. This is the struggle Paul had been explaining in the previous chapter (Romans 7). In Galatians 5:17 Paul summarizes this battle, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” There is a desire and effort daily to be putting their sins to death, and to be coming alive more and more, growing into the life of Christ. They are the sons of God who persevere in that struggle and will not give up.

3rd – There is an inner testimony from God that we are his children.

Romans 8:16, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”

This is something more direct that just watching our lives for evidences alone. Even before much progress is made, when we are fresh from the womb of the Holy Spirit, the youngest child of God has a spiritual awareness of the touch of grace on his heart.

Dr. Charles Hodge, as great a Bible scholar as he was, said, “How this is done we cannot fully understand, any more than we can understand the mode in which he produces any other effect in our mind. The fact is clearly asserted here, as well as in other passages.”

The unregenerated person cannot understand it at all. Even the true child of God, in his imperfect soul sees this testimony only dimly, but it is there none-the-less.

The Holy Spirit bears testimony directly with our own spirit to confirm this sonship with God. Hosea 2:23 speaks of this direct testimony of God to our spirit, “Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; Then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘ You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’ ”

The Apostle Paul said in Romans 5:5, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

The Apostle John explains this in his first Epistle (5:10-12), “He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

And in 1John 2:20 he said, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.”

This inward testimony is far from mystical visions and private revelations. Though it comes inwardly from the Spirit to the regenerated soul, it never imparts information beyond what God has preserved for us in the Bible. It convinces us by an enriched awareness, and by working the evidences of faith and obedience in our hearts. We would not know what our faith should be place in, and what standards we should honor and obey, if it was not for the recorded principles and promises from God in our Bibles.

In our yet unglorified minds this testimony is not understood without defects. There is nothing wrong or weak in the witness of the Spirit, but there is weakness in us. Moments of questioning and faltering should not be seen as proofs against true sonship. In moments of doubt, we dare not trust our own judgment or imperfect minds. Instead we cry out to our Father holding to his infallible promise. Paul explained in his First Letter to the Corinthians, 2:4-5, “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

The results of this amazing doctrine are very practical and filled with promise.

These sons of God are also heirs with Christ.

Romans 8:17, “and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

What is earned for us by our Lord Jesus Christ has become our promised inheritance. Galatians 3:29, “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

The promised inheritance of the saints is not like an earthly estate. It is not valued in goods that become outdated or that wear out in time. It is not a title or honor that lasts for a term, then is passed on to the next generation. There is no worldly inheritance that is of the same nature as that which is ours in Christ. It is an eternal heritage in glory which will always be precious and good.

This verse also mentions our suffering with him. The single Greek word translated as “that” or “in order that” by some translations is hina (ἱνα). It does not mean that our being glorified is “caused by” or “earned by” our suffering. Our heritage is ours by God’s grace. There is no suffering that can help out or add even a little to the work of Christ for us. All the good things we gain or hope for are ours by the finished work of Christ alone.

It means that by going through the ordinary and sometimes special sorrows and pains of this life, we are refined and made more mature spiritually, preparing us for our stay in glory. It is to set us into the right order for living as glorified saints forever.

This refining process is described by the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1:6-7, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,”

Suffering in this life through various trials, far from making us doubt our sonship, ought to confirm the process of the Father’s work in his sons as he prepares them for glory. He chastises the children he loves because it is best for them. The writer of Hebrews quotes Proverbs 3 when in Hebrews 12:5-6 he wrote, “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.’ ”

The work of the Holy Spirit leads us to walk in the ways of holiness, purifies our motives to want to obey God out of gratitude and love, and confirms the Spirit’s presence to us inwardly proving our sonship. By these actions he removes all reasons for doubt that we are truly God’s sons.

It is important that we do not get things turned around. It is God who produces these things in us. If we see our obedience, gratitude, and confidence as things we do to move God, then we turn assurance into uncertainty, and blessing into a burden.

When we struggle in the weakness of our flesh, when we doubt our salvation, the remedy is not found by looking more and more at ourselves, neither inwardly nor outwardly. Though there are evidences there which are certain and irrefutable, there is a problem in our confident grasp of them. We ought instead to turn our attention to the foundation of our assurance, the promises of God. The words of the Bible are what the Spirit uses to assure our hearts that we are his.

There’s a wonderful summary of this in the Westminster Confession, chapter 18, Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation. I highly recommend you carefully read and study this section. Look up the Scriptures cited in the full version. The last paragraph leaves us with these words,

True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin which woundeth the conscience and grieveth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God’s withdrawing the light of his countenance, and suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light: yet are they never utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart, and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due time, be revived; and by the which, in the meantime, they are supported from utter despair.

(The Bible quotations in this lesson are from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.)

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