Christ is Not...Nov 21, 2023
I had a pastor a few years ago who changed the way I thought about Romans 8:28 forever. Most Christ-followers can quote Romans 8:28 because it is a staple verse of comfort and encouragement during times of challenge or heartache or difficulties. If you happen to be one of the 6 or 7 people in the universe who don't know it by heart (... of course, I'm kidding! The older I get, the more difficult it is to commit verses to memory. Most that I do remember, I memorized when I was in elementary school!) Romans 8:28 says this...
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (KJV)
The pastor that rocked my world shared what he called, "the rest of the story." Romans 8:29 says this...
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (NIV)
(Forgive me the switch in translations...each are how I first memorized them). The good in verse 28, my pastor said, was the transformation into the image of Jesus in verse 29!
I started thinking.about what it means to be like Jesus. All the things that I sometimes AM, that He is not.
So when discipline is required... Christ is not lazy.
When Work is required, Christ is not slothful.
When people are mean-spirited, Christ is not vengeful.
When people waste time, Jesus is not irritated.
When tragedy strikes, Jesus is not discouraged or surprised.
All the ways that Jesus dealt with people, and situations, and betrayal... all those are available to us as our transformation into Christlikeness is accomplished in the "all things work together" category of God's work in us.
This, verse 29 tells us, is our destiny. We are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ! That is good news. Left to myself, it would never be accomplished. But God has it arranged for all those who love Him.
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