“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” through (Romans 8:29-30)
How I love the book of Romans, especially the 8th chapter. Here the Apostle Paul chronicles the blessings and promises of God. Many will look at their Christian walk and ponder why things don’t seem to work out as they envisioned. They grow discouraged and become listless in their daily walk with God. They wonder if God is really on their side. They fail to take hold of the promises of God, grasping it with both hands and endure what they must suffer in this life. Let us examine some of these promises and why you should be joyful and singing the praises of Almighty God for His wondrous mercy.
Look at the opening verses to this message and ponder for a moment the ramifications of what Paul is attempting to preach to them, and to us. This is not a confirmation of predestination, but God in His infinite knowledge, knew that you would accept payment for your sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. God who knows the beginning from the end, and saw you make that heart felt decision to accept the gift provided by His Son, long before you even knew it yourself. In no way does this foreknowledge affect your own self will to make that decision on your own. It’s just that God saw you do it.
God has a purpose for all this and it was for your salvation before time began. Some will say, “Then why does God allow suffering in this world, if He called me out of it before time began.?” Why does God allow Christians to go through trials and tribulations of this world? God has a specific plan in place for refining each of us into the image of His Son through sanctification. It’s not random occurrences that we have no control over .
“But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)
God is the Potter, we are the clay. He is the One doing the shaping, the molding, the creating. “It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves.”
I am a firm believer that God does not allow one thing to happen to a born again Christian unless He allows it. Why would God do that?
BORN IN SIN
Understand that man is a mortal being that has a sin nature that wars with the spiritual man daily. He will never totally escape it, until Jesus comes and perfects him by changing him from a mortal being into immortality and remove our sin nature for eternity.
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1st John 3:1-3)
That will come when Jesus breaks through the clouds and calls His church to join Him at the changing of us, “in the twinkling of an eye” we know as the Rapture. But, Paul lamented over his sin nature in the previous chapter of Romans :
15 “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”(Romans 7:15-20)
Paul was distraught that he could not, nor could any other man escape his sin nature. But what does Paul say in the final verses?
“24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
Many don’t know that Paul was making reference to a Roman practice for those condemned to be chained to a corpse and the soldiers betting on how long it would take for the condemned to resort to cannibalism to prevent their own death. It was an analogy that many during Paul’s day would have recognized and being chained to a sinful nature of death. Who frees them from that body of death? Jesus Christ is Who frees us.
If God allows us to be tested, to be refined, and to experience difficulties in this life, then what is the purpose for God allowing this to happen?
The Bible says that even a sparrow in the sky is so important to God that not one of them shall fall to the ground without His knowledge and permission.
29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31)
What is the purpose here? Does God have a purpose? Concerning the analogy of a sparrow, it is more than mere rhetoric. If God cares about a sparrow and not one falls from the sky without it being part of His plan, then how likely is it that He allows you to undergo trials and tribulations for no purpose?
God foreknew us and determined to call us before He ever made His summons known to us. By doing so, He was making a prognosis. We are in this elite group, (the called), only because the great God of heaven and earth specifically and personally summoned us by forcibly bringing the good news to our attention so we would be motivated to choose to respond freely to it. But that is only the beginning. We are then in the school of God’s Holy Spirit that will refine us, smooth off the rough edges and make us into the image of God’s only Son. It is a lifelong process of being molded, or sanctified.
THE LESSON OF JOB
Remember the story of Job? Here was a righteous man who endured unspeakable trials in his life. This was allowed to test Job and to refine him even through boils that raised up on his body, the loss of his family and all of his wealth. Now granted, this is an extreme case of God allowing adversity to come into a man’s life, but can we draw a lesson from the book of Job? In the final analogy, Job learned that you must have total faith and reliance on your Heavenly Father. For He cares for us with a Divine love that was shown by the death of His only Son. It comes down to value.
If God values even a little sparrow and we are worth more than many sparrows, and worth more than the life of His only Son, then what was God’s purpose? It was that God saw you as valuable. Your value, in God’s eyes, is such that Jesus Christ died in your place so that you might have everlasting life. Your purpose is also clearly outlined in Scripture. When you were lost, your purpose was to be saved. God had a desire for a “family” and made man in His image. God was ultimately “reproducing Himself” when He made man. God was not content to just throw man away, when he fell at the temptation brought forth by Satan and man sinned against God. It is why God sent His only Son, to be the propitiation (substitute) sacrifice for our sins, so that we may be justified because of HIM. Jesus redeemed what had been lost, as our “Kinsman Redeemer”.
It really isn’t that difficult a concept, if we are willing to accept God as He describes Himself and accept the Bible as a true record.
You were to be conformed to His Son through being justified then for the rest of your life, sanctified as the opening verse testifies. “Conformed” is the English rendering of the Greek word, “summorphos” meaning, “jointly formed, fashioned like unto.” Note that you didn’t conform yourself to the image of His Son, it was done for you. You were foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, sanctified and destined for glory- all in the past tense indicating that it is already accomplished.
It doesn’t say you will be justified, sanctified or glorified when you get to heaven. It says it was already accomplished in heaven before the world began. I have often mentioned that there is only one reason that you and I were born into this world, ultimately. That is, what will you do with the man, Jesus Christ? See, God knows everything…because He is God. He knows if you will accept, but He also knows you who will reject the call of the Holy Spirit. God will not override a man’s freewill to choose.
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” (Titus 1:2)
God cannot lie. Eternal life was promised, not according to our works, before the world began. You were foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, sanctified and glorified to the Glory of God the Father and His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
It isn’t a linguistic trick. It isn’t a mistranslation or a misunderstanding of either the original Greek or in our English translation.
To every thing there is a purpose, the Bible says, and for every purpose God has appointed a time.
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44)
God works even to make sure that His people have the faith they need! God supplies everything except one’s decision-and even in the decision a person makes, He keeps poking us in the ribs, shoving us in the back, to move us in the right direction. He does not give up easily once He sets his mind to do something. We must come to God by faith, but even that faith to believe on the FULL payment for our sins, by Jesus Christ was given by the Father God in heaven.
THE COMING TRIBULATION
If we are being refined now, sanctified into the image of His Son after conversion and being baptized, then what is the point of the Church going through the Tribulation that is coming at us like a locomotive? What is the purpose of the Tribulation? In my discernment of what the Bible teaches, the only answer is two objectives by God.
To bring Israel to the knowledge and recognition of her Messiah that they had crucified 2000 years ago and to cry out in agony, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
To completely destroy all rebellion of a Christ rejecting world and purify the world of those who take the mark of the beast, as prophesied in Revelation. God will wipe this planet clean of rebellion.
It is called the Tribulation Period. (Greek: thlipsis: “affliction, anguish,
burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble”). And, it is called, “The time of Jacobs trouble” for an obvious reason. It is the time when God will return His full focus on saving Israel as He promised.
The affliction, anguish, burden, persecution, tribulation and trouble of this time is to be inflicted upon all those that dwell upon the earth. The Bible tells us that it will be meted out in the form of 21 judgments. God will purge Israel, not leaving them unpunished, but will save a remnant through this awful time.
25 “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.
29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:25-29)
Those that hold to a literal “refining” of the church during the Tribulation in addition to the defined two reasons noted above, negate the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ. To embrace a mid-tribulation, Pre-wrath, or a post-tribulation model is to diminish the work of the cross. Was Jesus sacrifice not good enough? Was it lacking in its freeing the Christian from the penalty of enduring God’s wrath that shall cover the whole earth? Is this not the same as the false doctrine of Catholic purgatory, which we know is a lie?
When are we forgiven our sins? Is it not when we accept Jesus by faith and the Holy Spirit dwells within our spirit? Then why must we be refined? So if there are extra requirements that must be brought to the table, they are extra requirements imposed by you, not by God. God says, “whosoever will.”
At the moment of salvation, the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us and bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together“ (Romans 8:16-17)
That leads to another problem with the concept of error that the church of Jesus Christ must endure the Tribulation. Jesus promised us that He would send us the “Comforter” the Holy Spirit and He would never leave us or forsake us.
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17, Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18, I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18)
Jesus said He would never leave us alone, but the Bible says that the Holy Spirit is taken out of the world to allow the indwelling of the spirit of Satan in the Anti-Christ and he will overcome the “saints”
4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1st John 5:4-5)
But Paul reveals that the Holy Spirit will be taken out of this world!!
6, “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7, For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8, And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: “ (II Thessalonians 2:6-8)
But the Anti-Christ overcomes the Tribulation saints……..
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Revelation 13:7)
So which is it? God dwells with us forever, but leaves us defenseless and powerless to the conquest of the Anti-Christ? Since God cannot lie, it is obvious that if the Holy Spirit is removed to make way for the spirit of Anti-Christ that shall overcome the saints, then since the Holy Spirit was removed, then so is the Church. Each Child of God has an earnest deposit of God’s Holy Spirit which is our guarantee of future glorification at the return of Christ. So if the Holy Spirit is withdrawn, as Paul reveals through Divine inspiration, then so are the vessels He dwells within.
GOD HAS A PURPOSE
Christians undergo trials and tribulations in this life according to His purposes. What is the purpose behind Blood-bought, eternally-saved, indwelt Christians being separated from the indwelling Holy Spirit so that they can undergo half or all of the judgment period set aside for those that rejected Christ?
Why would the Lord subject His own Bride to judgment for sin after He had already redeemed that Bride from judgment for sin at the Cross? It is a conflict that those who don’t discern the purpose of God make the error that the Church must be refined, right along with the rest of a God rejecting world.
We endure the consequences of sin all the time because the world is created in sin, but consequences aren’t the same as judgment.
WE ARE BEING TRANSFORMED NOW
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3, For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:1-3)
The church has a glorious future that no one can begin to imagine. As it is written
“eye hath not seen, or ear heard, or entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1st Corinthians 2:9)
And the Bible states further……
14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15, For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16, The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17, And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18, For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:14-18)
WILL YOU BE AMONG THOSE WHO ARE HEIRS OF GOD?
One fly in the ointment so to speak, those who are being made into the image of God are those who have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and God knows in advance who that person is, each of us. Those who read this message, or have not taken the free gift of eternal life with a repentant heart (meaning change your mind about sin and about God) cannot embrace the glory that awaits those that have. God will not beat you into submission, but will continue to convict you of your condition, until you are beyond hope of recovery. God knows when that time is, that you are “irredeemable”. So, you ask me, what must I do to have this type of eternal existence and a glorious future?
Realize you are a sinner. “ For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
Realize that God made a way for those sins to be forgiven and live with God forever.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Confession before God in a broken and contrite heart calling out to God,
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
You say, that “sounds simple”…yes, it is simple that a child can understand it…I did when I was 10 years old. But you must believe in your heart, not just in your head with “childlike” faith. It must enter into a humbled and contrite heart that knows that without God you are doomed for a devil’s hell, or to experience that hell on earth, called the Tribulation and possibly even the Lake of Fire if those years of the Tribulation don’t call you to repentance before God. The horrors of the period are too gruesome to even ponder, as hardly any flesh will be saved, and many will be martyred by beheading. Sounds awful and it’s all right there in your Bible in the last book of Revelation. You don’t want to find out I’m right by first-hand experience.
The saints of the church are being sanctified, conformed and transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, one lesson at a time. I know that I will never be perfect in this life, but I will be perfect in the next life when Jesus comes for me and all who believe by faith in His death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father in Heaven. But it’s not about works, but His mercy and grace….and the best part…IT”S FREE FOR THE ASKING….We await the coming of our Lord with a trumpet blast, that could sound very soon…very soon. Because all the signs point to this great event on the near horizon. I’ve written extensively in detail of that coming period on my blog. If you have time, check them out.
Don’t wait too long, as you are not promised even tomorrow. To stand before a Holy God and not have Jesus as your substitute payment for your sins, is a vision I wish for no one, no matter what you have done. Jesus awaits your decision…call on Him today…be justified today by the sacrifice of our Lord, then submit to Godly instruction on how to be sanctified and being made into the image of His Son, as humanly possible this side of the coming of our Lord for His Church.
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying your acceptance of our Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Should you need counseling, prayer, or just a listening ear, email me at [email protected] , or visit me online for more biblical teachings from the Word of God, at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , . God bless you all……..