Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | June 13, 2016

Freedom in Christ, a Work in Progress

God is not Finished with You Yet!

Previously we examined Romans 8:26-30, which explains God’s purpose for leaving you on this earth; you are a work in progress, God is using circumstances to conform you to the image of His Son. I’ve heard the comparison made with a sculptors chisel; the hammer comes down and the chisel cuts away the part of you that doesn’t look like Jesus.

I have often thought on the quotation by Corrie ten Boom when she refers to things and circumstances:

“Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”
Corrie ten Boom

As Christians we can imagine ourselves with our arms outstretched, hands open, in a gesture of willing submission to God’s will for our lives!

A Relentless Sculptor

God is relentless in His determination that you be conformed to the image of His Son and will do what it takes to speed you on your journey. The process may, on occasion, be painful but God is working it all together for your good. Let us all join with Christ when He prayed:

“He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Matthew 26:39

None of us will ever be called on to suffer the agony that Christ suffered on our behalf but we can wholeheartedly join with Christ in seeking the Father’s perfect will for our lives! God’s perfect will for our lives will ultimately result in our glorification which is described in Ephesians 2:6-7.

“6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

What Should your Attitude be Toward all these things?

In the following verses Paul asks and answers several questions:

“31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” “33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

These thoughts penetrate to the deepest levels of our spiritual reality; these are truths that are more real and longer lasting than the bodies we occupy and the lives we live on this soon to be destroyed world. This is the level of spiritual reflection that should mold our perceptions of self and the universe of which we are temporarily a part.

More than Conquerors!

There is, however, really good news; although on occasion we have failed God, God has never failed us. Our place in God’s family has always been secured by God’s faithfulness to us, not our faithfulness to God! The following verses clearly demonstrate the supremacy of God’s grace over human frailty.

“37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

From God’s timeless perspective you are already raised up and seated with Christ in the heavenly realms; your eternal destiny is assured by the shed blood of Christ and nothing will ever change that. Now, ask yourself again what your attitude should be toward that eternal certainty? You are God’s child and He loves you and wants the very best for you during your time of conformation on this earth.

Although our lives will be a time of testing as the Father conforms us to the image of His Son, they can and should be a time of rejoicing. Thinking again of Corrie ten Boom I’m reminded of her quote:

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.”
Corrie ten Boom

Let us all follow Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:4-9:

“4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Look at God, be at Rest and Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

 


Responses

  1. I enjoyed reading your post this morning… there were some things that really spoke to my heart that I was needing to hear… thank you for sharing. Let us REJOICE in God’s truth!

    Like

    • Sheila,
      Thank you, this section of Romans is a never failing source of joy and comfort to me!
      David

      Like

  2. Amen!

    David, bless you!!!

    DE

    “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to an all-knowing God.” Corrie Ten Boom

    >

    Like

  3. I pray that while God is conforming me, He is using me to help mold others. I love the uplifting verses you reference here David. As always, this is a wonderfully thought-provoking essay.

    Like

    • Donna,
      This section of Romans has long been a favorite of mine. The first 8 chapters establish the true nature of the Christian life in a manner found nowhere else and chapters 5-8 are a pinnacle of Christian theology.
      David

      Like


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