Conformed to the Image of Christ

For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:29-30 (HCSB) 

God desires for you to be just like Jesus:

  • think like Jesus
  • speak like Jesus
  • listen like Jesus
  • love like Jesus
  • help others like Jesus
  • live holy like Jesus
  • share the message of salvation like Jesus
  • and much, much more

God’s Eternal Knowledge

God has existed for all of eternity, and He will exist for all of eternity. He is eternally God. He lives outside of time. He has known everything for all of eternity, and He will know everything for all of eternity. He knows everything that has ever happened, He knows everything that is happening now, and He knows everything that will ever happen.

God has eternal knowledge. His thoughts are infinitely higher than our thoughts.

In Romans 8:29, the Bible says that God “foreknew” that some people would be conformed to the image of His Son. This means that God knows all who have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved. God’s knowledge is eternal. In one sense, God sees things before they even happen, because He lives outside of time.

God’s Eternal Purpose

Not only does God know all things, God has a purpose for all things. (See the post The Way God Works for more on this). God has had a purpose for all things for all of eternity. And for those God knows will call upon Jesus as Lord and Savior, God purposes for them to become more and more like Jesus in character. This is what Romans 8:29 means when it says that God “predestined” some people “to be conformed to the image of His Son.”

Perhaps the chalkboard chart below will help you understand God’s eternal purpose and God’s eternal knowledge. On the chart, you will notice the following.

  • Time is represented as a river, starting with creation (C) and ending at the end of the End Times
  • At just the right time, God sent Jesus to be crucified on the cross (+) and to rise from the dead
  • We count time as BC and AD. Moses (M) and Pharaoh (Ph) are two people who lived in the BC era. Simon Peter (SP), Zacchaeus (Z), and Judas Iscariot (JI) are three people that lived in the AD era.
  • Each of our lives on earth can be represented by a line segment, from the time of birth to the time of death. The line in between the segments represents the years of a person’s life. You notice these line segments on the chart representing the lifespan of Moses, Pharaoh, Simon Peter, Zacchaeus, and Judas Iscariot.
  • When each person dies, they begin to spend eternity with God (heaven) or separated from God (hell). These lines are represented on the chalkboard by the lines outside the river of time.
  • As you see from the chart, God who exists outside of time has no problem seeing, working and declaring events to be certain, even though from our perspective they have not happened yet.

God has a purpose for everything. And for each follower of Christ, He wants you to be totally conformed to the image of Christ.

God’s Eternal Plan

Now that we understand a little of God’s eternal knowledge and His eternal purpose, let’s discuss God’s eternal plan. In Romans 8:29-30, we read about four aspects of His plan.

God sent Jesus

Romans 8:29 tells us that Jesus is the “firstborn among many brothers.” This means that Jesus, who died for us and rose from the dead, is the first to rise from the dead eternally. (See Colossians 1:15-20) When a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ, a spiritual “light bulb” comes on inside them, and they realize that God sent Jesus to die for their sins, and they believe with all their heart that He rose from the dead. They also believe that Jesus will save them from their sin.

God called you

When a person realizes that Jesus died and rose again, and that Jesus wants to save them from their sin, they spiritually hear God calling them to salvation. They realize in their heart and mind that they need Christ. They turn away from their sin and put their faith in Christ. They call on God for salvation (see Romans 10:9-13) realizing that He called them to Himself (see John 6:44). This is what Romans 8:30 means when it says “those He predestined, He also called.”

God justified you

In a legal sense, each person is guilty of sin before God, the Righteous Judge. The amazing thing about salvation is that when Jesus forgives us of our sin, He erases our guilt before God. He made it so that we stand before God justified. A good way to think of this word is that Jesus made it “just as if I’d” never sinned. Praise God for forgiveness. As Romans 8:30 says, “those He called, He also justified.” This forgiveness and justification is available to all who will put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives (see John 3:16).

God glorified you

For those who come to faith in Jesus Christ, they realize that God sent Jesus, they hear God’s call for salvation, and they receive God’s mercy and grace (justification). It is right to say in the past tense that these things have already taken place because for each believer they took place at a point in time in our past.

So how can Romans 8:30 say in the past tense that “those He justified, He also glorified” because truly we are not perfect in heaven yet? The answer lies in what we have already established: God who exists outside of time declares with certainty that future events will happen. Therefore, from God’s perspective you who are in Christ are already glorified. This is truly great news and a wonderful promise to those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior!

And this great news should inspire us to live a “more than victorious” life in Christ, becoming more and more like Jesus.

Each day a little bit more conformed to the image of Christ.

2 thoughts on “Conformed to the Image of Christ

  1. Being conformed to the image of Christ can only happen in the body of Christ through unity and witnessing to our faith by the way we daily live. Ravi Zacharias suggests we consider 4 areas of absolute truth… origin, meaning, morality, and destiny

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