Called According to God’s Purpose

Romans 8:28, Part 3

Principle for Bible Reading

When God calls a man or woman, what happens? In this lab, the third of three labs focused on Romans 8:28, John Piper draws in several other verses to try and understand the call of God. He explains why those who love God should rest secure in his sovereign care.

View the outline.


Introduction/Prayer (00:00–01:24)

The Call of God (01:24–06:08)

  1. “. . . those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified. . .” (Romans 8:30). Not some, but all who are justified are also called.
  2. The only way one can be justified is by faith. (Romans 3:28)
  3. The call in Romans 8:28 and 8:30 must, therefore, be more than the preaching of the gospel because not everyone who hears believes and is justified.
  4. The general call is the preaching of the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:23), but there is a call within the general call (1 Corinthians 1:24). The specific call creates sight — or saving, justifying faith.
  5. Again, the call of God creates sight. It is the effectual work of God in our hearts to awaken some through preaching. (2 Corinthians 4:6, cf. Romans 4:17)

The Love of God (06:08–07:12)

  1. We must love God (our side of the equation), and God calls us (God’s side of the equation). (Romans 8:28–30)
  2. Your faith — filled with love for God — was created by God’s call.
  3. Therefore, your love for God was not created by you, and it is not sustained by you. It was created and is sustained by God.

The Purpose of God (07:12–09:02)

  1. The call accords with a predestination, and that predestination is unto our conformity to the Son. (Romans 8:29)
  2. That conformity to the Son eventually leads to our glorification with him. (Romans 8:30)
  3. God’s purpose in our salvation is an eternal purpose (“before the ages began”), and it accords with his calling. (2 Timothy 1:9)
  4. Therefore, God’s calling (Romans 8:28, 30) accords with the purpose of election (Romans 9:11). Behind our calling is a predestination, and behind our predestination is an election.

Summary (09:02–09:39)

Be encouraged and assured. If you love God, you have at least two reasons to rest secure that God is working all things for your good.

  1. God called us sovereignly to himself and created our faith in and love for him.
  2. This call itself is rooted in an eternal purpose to bring us into conformity with his Son and to bring us to glory. It cannot fail.

Study Questions

  1. Read through Romans 8:28–30. Write down everything you learn about the call of God in these verses.
  2. Read 1 Corinthians 1:22–24. How do those verses help you understand the call of God? When this call occurs, what happens? Do you see two different calls happening in this passage?
  3. Look back over Romans 8:28–30. Try to define the relationship between God’s call on your life and your love for God. How do those two actions — one God’s and one ours — relate to each other?
Piper: “The call of God creates sight in us. It’s the work of God in our hearts to awaken us before his word.”

‘The Greatest Chapter’ Series

This lab is part of a series through Romans 8. Taking a verse or two at a time, John Piper unfolds the other-worldly realities in these thirty-nine verses, all along pointing out general, practical principles for understanding and applying the Bible’s meaning. Visit ‘The Greatest Chapter’ series page to see all the labs in this series.