Those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.
What is God responsible for doing in our lives? First, He makes us spiritually alive so we can trust in Christ for salvation. And the moment we trust in Christ, God declares us not guilty on the basis of our faith in Christ. That is something only God can do.
There is a third work of God called sanctification, and we read about it in Romans 8:28: “We know that God causes all things to work together for good” (v. 28). Most people stop reading this verse right there. And they interpret it to mean that no matter what horrible event happens in their life, if they just look hard enough or wait long enough, they will see a silver lining.
That is not what Paul was promising. We have to finish the verse: “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” The words “purpose” and “good” relate to each other. Paul was saying God is using everything that happens to you–the good, the bad, and the ugly–to accomplish His purpose in your life.
And what is God’s purpose for your life? It is not that you have a satisfying marriage, a successful career, or a full bank account. No, God’s purpose for your life is found in verse 29: “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”
God’s plan from the beginning was to redeem from fallen humanity a group of men and women who would become just like His Son, Jesus Christ. That means God’s plan for you was not just to save you but to transform you into the perfect image of His Son in the things you love, the way you act, and the thoughts you have. Every success and every sadness, every triumph and every tragedy, are working together to make you just like Jesus. And I have found in my own life that it is not the easy things that tend to make me more like Jesus; it is those hard things, those sad things, that God uses to chisel away anything in my life that is not like Jesus Christ.
That’s what sanctification is: the lifelong process by which God conforms us to the image of His Son. You see, your relationship with God did not end when you were saved; God saved you to begin a process in you. Paul said it this way in Philippians 1:6: “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” The moment you were saved, God began making you more like Christ, and that process will continue until the day you see Jesus.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “If It’s Going To Be, Is It Up To Me?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.