Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called to His purpose. For those whom God foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”
The purpose God has for a man is that he be conformed to the image of Christ—this is the only good. In order to do that, He has to cause everything that happens in his life to work out for that end goal. That is what it means to work out for good. So, no matter whether it is good or bad, hot or cold, high or low, rich or poor, life or death, all that happens to a man that loves God will be an instrument in God’s hand to shape that man into a son that is like Christ. God foreknows those who will come to love Him, for there is no man who starts out in this life loving anything but himself. But there will be some who will turn toward the Lord. For them, God has determined to work in them to completion, the purpose He destined for man, which is to be sons.
God’s intention for humanity was always to have children in His image and likeness (Gen. 1:26).
Romans outlines this plan, how we fell, and how God redeems us.
Romans 1—God has clearly shown Himself, yet mankind exchanged God’s glory for his own.
Romans 2—God’s judgment is on the disobedient whether or not they had the Law.
Romans 3—There is only righteousness in Christ. We are only righteous by faith in Christ.
Romans 4—Abraham was an example of justification by faith alone—received promise of new life—eternal/resurrected life—in Christ. He “went out not knowing where he was going”—left the old life (Heb. 11).
Romans 5—Our tribulations prove the surpassing value of God’s grace in Christ—we live eternal life now.
Romans 6—Being alive in Christ, we should now be dead to sin and slaves to His righteousness.
Romans 7—We are literally joined to Christ as His body, bearing fruit apart from the Law, which was God’s means to turn us to the Savior who sets us free.
Romans 8—We are no longer condemned, and we should be subjecting ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit through our sufferings, in light of the hope of one day standing victoriously with Christ, a new creation.
“Conforming to the image of Christ” entails a present experience of transformation in light of the future reality of perfection in Him. This is something God has accomplished, not based on our merit or effort. I cannot help but dwell on the tension in Romans. God has accomplished it, yet there is a participation on our part which God, in His grace, allows. There is a life in us which God wants to reveal to His creation. He uses everything to get the natural life out of the way. We simply have to let go of that life. While we do that, Jesus Christ is glorified. It is like a pottery mold…we, as the clay, have to submit to fitting in the mold—useless material is thrown away. After the fires in the oven, it is now evident what was intended—something beautiful and useful.
We have been converted from a lump of dirt, prepared in many ways, to a beautiful work of art—a child of God.
Now the pottery needs glazed to contain what was intended. This pot has a light inside. We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit with a promise of redemption--glorification (Rom. 8:16-18; Eph. 1:13-14).
Now as children of God, we endure suffering—the pot is cracking—to show the glories of Christ’s life in us. One day, the pot will be completely removed and all that will remain is light--Sanctification.
2 Cor. 4:3-6—Good news: God is offering all His glory and image
2 Cor. 4:7-12 …(picture of a cracked pot with light escaping). The treasure inside us is the light/glory of God—This to show that there is a life greater than the natural one.
Hebrews 12:25-29…We have an unshakeable kingdom and unshakeable life—let’s endure, serving God!
This is the blog of Tyler Shepard, the Associate Pastor for Centre Union Church in Yeagertown, PA.
I hope you are encouraged and challenged to walk more closely with Jesus Christ!