Romans 8:28-30 ESV
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 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.”
For those who love God all things work together for good, and to love God is to obey him and to do what he says. For if we do not obey his commandments (New Covenant) then we do not love him (John 14:15-24; 1 John 2:3-6; 2 John 1:6). And if we do not love him, then all things don’t work together for our good. And what is “good”? It is good defined by God, and it comes from God who is the only one who is totally good, so it will be of the nature of God – holy, righteous, truthful, faithful, and upright.
So, if we love the Lord we will obey his commandments (New Covenant) and he will work all things for good in our lives, for those of us who have been called according to his purpose. But “good,” in this context, is not necessarily all things that feel good or that are pleasant to the senses. God working good in our lives involves him disciplining us and pruning us to make us holy and to be more like Jesus. And it involves suffering and trials which are for our spiritual good, to help us to mature in Christ in our walks of faith.
So, our Lord allows us to go through times of difficulty to work this good in our lives through whatever we are going through. For we need to be pruned sometimes so that we can bear more fruit. And we need to suffer sometimes to humble us, or to redirect us if we have even slightly gotten off the path, and to teach us perseverance, and to develop within us godly character. So, the Lord working all things together for good in our lives can be a painful process sometimes. But the good is that we grow closer to Jesus.
Romans 8:35-36 ESV
“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 let’s get some context here as to who are “us.” We are those whom Jesus rescued from lives of living in sin and he gave us new lives in him now to be lived for his glory in walks of holiness, righteousness, and in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). We now walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. Our minds are now set on the Spirit and not on the flesh. And we no longer live according to the flesh. But we are those who are daily dying to sin and to self and following Jesus in obedience, and who are being led by the Spirit of God (See Romans 8:1-14).
We can’t be separated from the love of Christ by anything or anyone. And this reminds me of a passage in John 10:27-30: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Did you notice with me the condition for having eternal life with God and for having no one snatch you out of God’s hands? We have to listen to our Lord, and not just with our ears, but with our hearts, and we must then follow (obey) Jesus in what he is saying we are to do or not do. For if we do not obey him, in practice, but sin is still what we practice, then we will not inherit eternal life with God no matter what profession of faith in him we have made with our lips (Galatians 5:16-21; 1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 3:4-10).
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Romans 8:37-39 ESV
“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.”
We who are in Christ Jesus via dying with him to sin and living to him and to his righteousness are more than conquerors through him who loves us. We can have victory over sin and Satan and any temptations that might come our way to tempt us to disobey our Lord. And we can live victoriously over our trials even while we are still enduring much suffering. For to conquer means we don’t give in to the sin or the trial, but that we remain faithful to our Lord in doing what he says to do despite our trials and temptations.
[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; Jn 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]
Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer
Lyrics by Margaret Becker
Music by Keith Getty
“Jesus draw me ever nearer
As I labour through the storm.
You have called me to this passage,
and I’ll follow, though I’m worn.
Jesus guide me through the tempest;
Keep my spirit staid and sure.
When the midnight meets the morning,
Let me love You even more.
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2 thoughts on “Are We Conformed to the Likeness of Christ?”
I’m glad you used the word “practice,” Sue. Some of us can get discouraged, thinking we need to be perfect, and of course we’re not. It’s not the occasional blunder but the PRACTICE of sin that separates us from God. I love to think of the “belt of truth” as a mountain climber’s belt, connecting us to the One at the top. When I stumble, He doesn’t let me fall to my death but picks me up. I repent, He forgives, and He encourages me to keep climbing.
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Yes, Annie. The Scriptures teach that if sin is our practice that we will not inherit eternal life. And yes, our God is very gracious and forgiving to the repentant.