William Harrell, interim pastor
First Baptist Church, Wrens
The verses contained in our lesson are filled with words that literally run into each other while waiting their turn to express what God has done for all of us who have Jesus as our Savior. The theological implications are overwhelming, and the lesson for our lives is profound.
This passage has been preached many, many times and I often wonder if Christians ever really spend much time thinking about the implications of it. If God, indeed, has pre-determined that you will be conformed to the image of His Son, then this writer thinks it would be wise to perform a little checkup on ourselves to see what is actually happening in our lives.
This concept of being conformed is serious business. It involves a radical process that produces a radical change. The problem is that people don’t like too much change, especially radical change, but it is coming if God’s process of redemption is taking place in your life.
God’s plan for our good
Many times this author has observed people who get into things that the world, flesh, and the devil led them into and then, when the heat is turned up, they will say: “Well … all things work together for good to them that love God.” The problem is that Satan can give a person all the things of the world and people are all too ready to take him up on it. Then when the trouble comes, they try to run to Romans 8:28 for safety.
There is another part of that verse they are overlooking. When it says: “to them who are the called according to His purpose.” And, His purpose is to conform you to the image of His Son, Jesus. In fact, if one is saved, it is already a fact that they will be conformed to His image. John also speaks of this in 1 John 3:2.
Once a person is saved, his eternal destination is no longer the question. That is settled. The question now becomes that person’s obedience. This is dealing with our sanctification, or the process of being made holy day-by-day as we follow the Holy Spirit’s instructions and allow ourselves to be conformed to His image.
One will notice that all of God’s actions in these verses are in the past tense. That means that, in His economy of things, all of these things are already a fact. We just have to live a committed life so they will come to pass in God’s timing. In other words, there is no doubt about God’s good plan for the Christian. It is complete to the point of being conformed to the image of Christ.
God’s going to do it so it is to our benefit to cause Him as little grief as possible during the process. Only God can save you through Jesus, but then you are involved in the process of being conformed.
God’s best for us
God’s redemptive work through Jesus was not plan B. It is Plan A, and He did not look around heaven for an option as to how to get the job done. He placed His Son, Jesus, at the center of that plan, Romans 8:32. God’s plan was to provide an unconquerable and overpowering way for man to be able to come to Him.
He arranged things so that no charge can be brought against us if Jesus has saved us. His blood covers all our sins so that God cannot see them and therefore He is not offended by our presence. In covering our sins, He also forgives and forgets about them. He sees only the Blood of Jesus.
Only God’s best for us could satisfy His holiness. God’s holiness is the forgotten doctrine in Christianity today. If our people would only realize the implications that God is not only a good God, He is a holy God, it would remake the way we worship Him and the way in which we approach life.
God’s best for us, Jesus, is the only way in which we can stand before Him in glory. As stated earlier, He is conforming us day-by-day and in doing so, He is preparing us to be able to inhabit heaven with Him when we exit planet Earth.
God’s holiness demands that we be perfected as we stand in His presence and our only way of being perfected is to stand before Him conformed to the image of His dear Son, Jesus.The good news is He has already determined those who are saved will be conformed.
That is why you cannot lose your salvation once a person is genuinely saved.
The overwhelming love of God
With all the things we are facing in today’s world, it’s easy to feel that one is drowning in corruption and godlessness. But, we learn from Romans 8:37 that we are “more than conquerors.” It doesn’t feel like it, but we are. The fact is the battle is already won and we are the Victors.
Just look at the assurances and promises in verses 35-39. If those verses are not saying we are absolutely and perfectly safe and secure in Christ, then what would one say they’re stating?
Verse 35 is telling us that we are safe from destitution, danger, and death. This writer considers that the assurances in that wonderful verse are a guarantee no policy or institution on Earth can match.
We are assured of a final Victory in Jesus. Not because we have won it but because He has won it for us.
How do we apply all of this to our lives? Three basic suggestions are in order.
First, accept the promises and assurances as actual fact.
Second, rely on them in your day-to-day life.
Third, apply the truths on a daily basis since they are distinctly given to us in God’s infallible Word