Romans 8:29-30 ESV
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
If we are conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ, we are following him in obedience, we are living in agreement with him and with his will for our lives, and our lives are matched up and consistent with his mind, heart, and character. We are likeminded with him, not perfectly, but progressively we are being made to be more like him by submitting to his will and by following him in obedience, and by yielding to his purpose for our lives.
So, we hate what he hates and we love what he loves. What he feels passionate about we also feel passionate about. What concerns him also concerns us. What grieves him also grieves us. And what he rejoices over we also rejoice over. And the things he talked about the most we also talk about and with the same types of people and for the same reasons with the same intended results. For we love like he loves, too.
God not only chose in advance who we should become, but he called us to himself and to salvation from sin and to walks of obedience in him and to eternal life with him. He called us to die with him to sin so we might live to him and to his righteousness. And He called us to be dead to sin and alive to God, to be freed from our slavery to sin so we would be slaves of God and of his righteousness. For he called us to his holiness.
Right now we are in process. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present/active), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns to take us home to be with him forever, provided that we continue in him and in his word, and if we hold firmly to the gospel taught by Jesus and by Paul and the other apostles, and provided we don’t walk in sin but we walk in righteousness and in obedience to our Lord and we love others.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15; Col 1:21-23; Jn 15:1-12]
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
Now, this is not saying that no one will be against us. They will. Jesus had enemies and we will also have enemies of like kind. For the same reasons they hated Jesus and wanted him dead they will also hate us and want us dead if we are indeed being conformed to his likeness, and if we are dying daily to sin, and if we are walking in obedience to his commands, and if we are doing and saying the kinds of things he did and said.
In the gatherings of the church today (or what is falsely called church) if we are saying and doing the kinds of things Jesus did and said, we will definitely be hated and they will not want us to be part of their fellowships. For so much of the church today, at least here in America, has become like the world and they are patterning the gatherings after the likes of the people of the world, and they are altering the gospel so it doesn’t offend the ungodly.
So, if you are on the internet, for example, and if you are sharing that we must die with Christ to sin and that we must leave our lives of sin behind us to follow him in obedience or we don’t have eternal life with God, you will likely have multiple people opposing you and even falsely accusing you of teaching what is false. But it is what Jesus taught. And it is definitely what Paul taught. But what many people are teaching is against the Scriptures.
So, the whole point of this is not to teach that we won’t be opposed or that we won’t have people coming against us, but that if God is for us, because we have died with him to sin and we are now walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, that we are not to fear such opposition, for God is with us, and he will carry us through it all. He will provide all that we need and he is praying for us, too.
So, if we are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and if we are following our Lord in obedience to his commands, and if we are not resisting him and not refusing to obey him, but we are doing his will in his power and strength, then nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. No amount of enemies or tribulation or persecution or opposition will be able to keep us from God’s love and his protection.
[Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; 2 Co 5:10; 1 Co 6:9-10; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:1-17; Jn 15:1-11; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rev. 2-3; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27]
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
These promises, though, do not apply to everyone who professes the name of Jesus Christ and who confesses with his lips that Jesus is Lord. For not everyone who says to Jesus, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of the Father who is in heaven. For many will claim him as their Lord but one day they will hear, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt 7:21-23).
So, to be conquerors, we need to be those who are walking (in conduct, in practice) according to (in agreement with) the Holy Spirit and not according to our flesh. We are not to be those who are deliberately and habitually sinning against the Lord, making sin their practice, but we are to be those who are making righteousness their practice by the grace of God and in his power and strength, and who are obeying his commands.
Then we can be conquerors in the strength of the Lord for our dependence is on him and not on our flesh. And then nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God. Our Lord will be our confidence and our hope because we trust in him fully and we believe in his word which is evidenced by the fact that we are walking in obedience to his word. And so we have nothing to fear in this life for it is the Lord who holds our hands.
I Know Who Holds Tomorrow
By Ira F. Stanphill
I don’t know about tomorrow,
I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from its sunshine,
For its skies may turn to gray.
I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said,
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.
Many things about tomorrow,
I don’t seem to understand;
But I know who holds tomorrow,
And I know who holds my hand.
I don’t know about tomorrow,
It may bring me poverty;
But the one who feeds the sparrow,
Is the one who stands by me.
And the path that is my portion,
May be through the flame or flood,
But His presence goes before me,
And I’m covered with His blood.
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