Monday, October 06, 2014

For Those Whom He Foreknew, He Also Predestined to Become Conformed to the Image of His Son

This weekend I heard, “No one gets the glory but God.” Isn’t that the truth? I might feel like I am being the best parent/wife/sister/daughter/friend/blogger ever and that my life screams, “I’m a follower of Christ,” and ponder, “Surely, those around me think, ‘If that is Christianity I definitely want to be a part of it!’” (No, I do not really consider myself the “best” or even close to being an adequate representative of Christ Jesus and God however, I believe you get my point.) But, if God has not called them or stirred his/her heart, then it is just another day…nothing exceptional has happened. Today, I was listening to a radio station that stated, “Donate today! People have been saved because of the music we play!”
For all things are Your servants. (Psalms 119:91. NASB.)
Yes, God uses “all things” for His purpose but, ultimately, He saves…not blogs, my behavior, radio stations, pastors, bands, etc.

At one point in my vapor of a life (James 4:14), this fact was a difficult pill to swallow. My pride kicked, scratched, and yelled, “Then what’s the point in living honorably?! If it is not going to make a difference, then why bother?!” Ick, ugly, disgusting pride! The point, of course, is #1. We were created to glorify God. #2. As a new creature, who has taken off the old, put on the new, was given a new heart, and filled with the Holy Spirit, it is not pleasant at all to sin. So, why in the world would I desire to do so? #3. We are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27). Someone once gave me the illustration that sin is like a drop of poison in a reservoir of clean drinking water. Just the smallest drip contaminates the entire supply…and is deadly.
23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23. NASB.)

One of my favorite verses is James 1:15. Included with the scripture around it, it states,
13Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. (James 1:13-15. NASB.)

My desire with all that I do in my life (including this blog) is to glorify God and Christ Jesus. To stand before you as a reflection of Christ (1 Peter 1:7). I used to hate affliction. Okay, I still do not like it but I see it, now, for what it truly is. As John Piper states,
He is a refiner's fire, and that makes all the difference. A refiner's fire does not destroy indiscriminately like a forest fire. A refiner's fire does not consume completely like the fire of an incinerator. A refiner's fire refines. It purifies. It melts down the bar of silver or gold, separates out the impurities that ruin its value, burns them up, and leaves the silver and gold intact. He is like a refiner's fire.

It does say FIRE. And therefore purity and holiness will always be a dreadful thing. There will always be a proper "fear and trembling" in the process of becoming pure. We learn it from the time we are little children: never play with fire! And it's a good lesson! Therefore, Christianity is never a play thing. And the passion for purity is never flippant. He is like fire and fire is serious. You don't fool around with it.

But it does say, he is like a REFINER'S fire. And therefore this is not merely a word of warning, but a tremendous word of hope. The furnace of affliction in the family of God is always for refinement, never for destruction.
(By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/he-is-like-a-refiners-fire.)

29For 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; 30and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30. NASB.)

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