Romans: The Clearest Gospel of All
by E.H. “Jack” Sequeira

#23 – The Blessed Hope
(Romans 8:14-30)

A few years ago, I had to fly to Boise, Idaho, to conduct a very sad funeral.  A young boy, 16 years old, whom I had baptized three years before, had just dropped off his buddy at Gemstate Academy.  He was returning home, and about a mile down the road, for some reason nobody knows, he veered off and ran into a stationary tractor at about 50 mph.  The tractor broke in two and he, of course, died instantly.

It was quite a sad funeral.  All his buddies were there; it was packed.  As they said farewell to this young boy, one of the questions that we normally ask in these circumstances was, “Why, Lord?  Why this young man?  Why was his life snatched away at such a tender, early age, a very promising young boy?” Well, Paul tells us in Romans 8:28 that:

...In all things God works for the good of those who love him....

Sometimes that’s hard to believe, isn’t it?  But now we’re going to deal with one of God’s wonderful ways of helping us during the time that we are here on this earth waiting for the glorious hope, the return of Christ.

We may not understand why things happen.  But we do know one thing, that God has not left us without a Helper.  I would like for you to consider the passage that we are going to cover today, which is really a continuation of what we covered last study.

In Romans 8, Paul turns, for the first time, to the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.  In the last study, we saw that the Christian life is a life that is led by the Holy Spirit; it is a life that is controlled by the Holy Spirit; it is a life that is dominated by the Holy Spirit because it is a life of the Spirit.

When Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit to His disciples, He gave the Holy Spirit a very special name.  I want to introduce you to that name.  It is not in English, it is in Greek, but I want you to learn this word, because you will find that this word is very useful.  So turn to John 14, and this is the promise that Jesus gave to His disciples, which promise is to us until the end of the world.  John 14:16.  Jesus says:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever....

The King James Version reads “Comforter.”  But that word, “Counselor” or “Comforter,” comes from a very interesting Greek word called, “Paraclaytos,” from the verb “paracaleo.”  And that word — made up of two words, “para” and “caleo” — means, “One Who is by your side to help you.”  So a better translation, and I’m glad to notice that my New King James has the correct translation of the Greek word:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever....

You see, the word “Helper” is all-inclusive.  When you need comfort, the Holy Spirit will give you comfort.  When you need teaching, He will guide you into all truth.  When you need an intercessor, He will be your Intercessor.

Jesus brought this out.  He’s our Comforter in verse 16.  He’s our Teacher in verse 26.  Then, in John 16:13, He’s our Guide.  I want to introduce you to the Paraclaytos.  I want you to learn this word.  Don’t you ever forget that word, because it means Helper.

Christ came to help us in terms of salvation.  The Holy Spirit is our Helper in terms of Christian living until the glorious and blessed hope.  With this in mind, let us go back to Romans 8.  For here, Paul presents the Holy Spirit as our Helper.  We will discover that, in this passage, the Spirit helps us in three important areas:

  1. In Romans 8:14-17, the Spirit helps us to behave, to act, to live like children of God.

  2. In verses 18-25, Paul tells us that the Spirit helps us to endure hardships and sufferings while we wait for the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is glorification.

  3. In verses 26-30, Paul tells us the Spirit helps us and shows us how to pray, to make our prayers meaningful and in Christian growth.

So here Paul presents the Holy Spirit as Christ introduced Him to the Christian church.  He is our Paraclaytos.  I would like you to go step-by-step with me and see how the Spirit helps us.

In verses 13 and 14, Paul reminds the Christian that we have an obligation.  It is not an option; we have an obligation.  And the obligation is both negative and positive.  The negative is that we are no longer to walk in the flesh, which is our natural life.  That is how the unbeliever walks.  Now we still have the natural life, and it is possible for us to walk in the natural life.  Paul will define such Christians as carnal Christians, Christians whose behavior is unlike what it should be.  Romans 8:12-13:

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation — but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.  For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live....

“We have an obligation,” says Paul, “and our obligation is to walk not in the flesh, but to walk in the Spirit.  Let this new life, that has come into you through the Holy Spirit, control you, dominate you, guide you, that the world may see Christ in you through the Holy Spirit.”

Having said that, in verse 14, which is where our passage begins in this study:

...Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

Now the actual text says it a little bit differently.  This is how the literal translation should be:

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these behave like children of God.

You see, God wants us to behave like His children.  Why?  Because we are His children.  We don’t behave like His children in order to become His children, we are already His children and He says, “So please behave like who you are.”

Because if you behave like what you are not, then the Bible calls such people hypocrites.  A hypocrite is one who acts what he’s not.  God doesn’t want us to act like Christians, in terms of acting.  He want’s us to behave as what we already are, children of God.

Now He realizes we cannot do it ourselves.  So we need the Paraclaytos to fulfill that.  So he says, “Those who are led by the Spirit, they will reveal this leading by their lifestyle, they will walk as children of God.”  What does that mean?  What does it mean to walk as children of God?  Let me give you one clear example.

Turn to Matthew 5 where Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, is contrasting the walking in the flesh with walking in the Spirit.  He doesn’t say so, but it’s obvious, it’s implied.  In verse 43, He’s discussing or He’s stating what the people of Judaism were taught by a people who had gone astray, and were trapped into legalism.  Legalism is man trying to behave like God’s children.  And this is how it ends up in verse 43:

You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”

Christ expounds on this and says, “You don’t have to be a Christian to love your neighbor and hate your enemy; anybody can do that.  But I say to you, this is how I want you to live” [Matthew 5:44]:

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...

“Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”  Boy, can you do that?  Without the Paraclaytos, it is impossible.  But why does Jesus say that you should do this thing?  Look at verse 45:

...that you may be sons of your Father in heaven....

“Please behave like children of God.  This is how God’s children behave:  they love their enemies, they bless those who curse them, they do good to those who hate them, that they may be the children of their Father in heaven.”  Then Christ goes on to explain in verse 45 His Father’s love towards the human race, both good and evil:

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

As I read Romans 8, Paul tells us that if we are led by the Spirit, the people around us will know it.  They will say, “These people are behaving like God’s children.”

In the same Sermon on the Mount Jesus said in Matthew 5:14,16:

You are the light of the world....  Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

“You believers are the light of the world.”  Then, in verse 16, He says, “Let your light shine that the world may see your good works, your love for your enemies, your blessing of those who curse you, praying for those who hate you.  Let them see this, and glorify your Father that is in heaven.”

But, please remember, only those who are led by the Spirit can do this.  You can’t do it by screwing up your willpower and making resolutions.  The Jews tried that.  “We will do everything the Lord has said” [Exodus 19:8].  Did they do it?  No.  But, as you are led of the Spirit, it will be revealed because it is possible for the Holy Spirit Who raised Christ up from the dead to mortify your mortal bodies and produce righteousness.  Then, in Romans 8:15, he goes on to say:

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again....

All through Paul’s writings, slavery or bondage is linked with legalism.  In Galatians 5:1 he says, “You have been set free, don’t go back to the yoke of bondage.”

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

There is no peace, there is no assurance, there is no hope in legalism.  Outwardly it may appear wonderful, but you are constantly living in fear.  And that, folks, is a tragedy, that Christians should live in fear.

I want to give you a text that is very important for us who are living in the hour of judgment.  Turn to 1 John 4:16-18.  I want you to notice what the Apostle John has to say to those who believe in God.  Verse 16:

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

Two things.  The question I am going to ask you is, “Do you know and do you believe?” What are we to know and what are we to believe as Christians?  The love that God has for us.  The unconditional, the self-giving love that God has for us; we saw that when we dealt with Romans 5:6-10.  We know and we believe [or rely on] that love God has for us.  And the reason that God loves us is not because we are good or because we deserve it, it is because God is love.  The natural thing for God to do is to love us, because His love is unconditional.

What is the result of this?  Verse 17:

In this way, love is made complete among us [i.e., our knowledge and our belief of love is perfected among us in this] so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.

If you are still afraid of God’s judgment while you are a Christian, you have not understood God’s love, you have not been made perfect, you are still a victim of fear, and he will bring this out in verse 18.  And the reason we have boldness in the day of judgment is not because we are satisfied with our performance, but because:

...in this world we are like him.

That’s good news.  Verse 18:

There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

All works produced out of fear are unacceptable to God.  “Such religion,” says Ellen G. White, “is worth nothing.”

So let’s go back to Romans 8.  What is Paul saying?  Paul is saying that we who are led by the Spirit will give evidence by our behavior that we shall live like children of God.  Romans 8:15:

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

That’s very interesting, two words, “Abba, Father.”  Abba is an Aramaic word, the language of the Jews in Christ’s day, in Paul’s day.  The word means, simply, “Father.”  The second word that Paul used is “Pater” which is “Father” in Greek.  So if you really translate those two words, it means, “Father, Father.”

Whether you are a Jew or whether you’re a Gentile, it doesn’t matter, if you’re a Christian, you can refer to God as “Father.”  Paul is saying He is our Father, not our Judge, not our Executer, but our Father, Who loves His children, and He wants to bestow all kinds of blessings.  Then he goes into verse 16:

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

The human being is made up of three elements, and Paul points this out in 1 Thessalonians 5:23.  We are made up of spirit, soul, and body.  None of these elements are capable of independent existence.  That is a Greek concept, not a Christian, Biblical concept.  But each of these three elements has a function.  Animals have body and soul, but human beings have body, soul, and spirit.

One of the aspects of the Spirit is our conscience.  Our consciences belong to the realm of spirit.  What Paul is saying here is that the Holy Spirit, Who is now dwelling in us, convinces us through our conscience that we are the children of God.  You may not feel like a child of God, but, please remember, the Spirit convinces us in our conscience that we are the children of God because we are in Christ.  And because we are the children of God, verse 17 goes on to say:

Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ [we share with Christ what belongs to Him], if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

I want to emphasize what I’ve been trying to hammer away for the last few studies, and that is:  in order for Christ to save us, He had to identify Himself with us.  In order for that salvation to be made effective, we have to identify ourselves with with Him.  When you do that, everything that is true of Christ you must accept as true of you, not only the good, but even the bad.

When Christ came to this world He came from heaven; His citizenship did not belong to this world.  He is the Son of God, He came from heaven.  But He came to a world that is under the evil one, under Satan.  And Satan, using the world, made life hard for Jesus Christ.  Jesus suffered when He was here because He was not one of the world.  He said clearly, “My kingdom is not of this world.”  He suffered, but His suffering was only for a season.  He suffered, and He was willing to suffer that we might be saved.

Now we must be willing to suffer, that His name might be glorified.  But what Paul is saying here is that if you want to enjoy the glorification that Christ received when He went back to heaven, you must also identify yourself with the suffering He experienced in this world.  Paul is saying in verse 17 that we are joint-heirs with Christ in all the blessings that we have.  I want to pause here because we need to remind ourselves constantly who we are in Christ.  We are joint-heirs with Him.  What does that mean?

I hope you are familiar with Daniel 2.  There we have the great image made of different metals and each metal represents a kingdom.  There were Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.  These are all great nations.  There were also the divided kingdoms, but the kingdom that I want you to focus on is the kingdom that was represented not by the statue but by the stone.

If you read Daniel 2, you will discover that more time, more space, more words are being used to explain the stone than the others.  But the difference between the stone kingdom and the rest is that all of them will be destroyed.  But the stone kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom.  And it will occupy all the territory of the other kingdoms.

In Daniel 7 we are told that the saints of the Most High will reign with Christ forever in that kingdom when it is established.  I want to give you two more texts to help you, because we need to keep in mind that glorious hope.  Revelation 20:6, where John tells us:

Blessed [the word means “happy”] and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.  The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

Who has part in the first resurrection?  The believers.  What about them?  Number one, on them the second death has no power.  Why?  Because, in Christ, we have already died the second death.  He took the pain, we enjoy the benefits.  But you and I will never have to die the second death because we have already died the second death in Christ.

But John doesn’t stop there.  Not only does the second death have no power, but we will reign with Christ for a thousand years.  Now that seems a long time, but please remember it is a long time because we human beings today are living in the context of time, we are time-bound people.  But when we go to heaven we will be living in the context of eternity, and a thousand years in eternity is like the twinkle of an eye, it’s like a moment, a split second moment.  It’s like a drop in the ocean.

If you take a cup of water from the Pacific Ocean, how much would the level of the water drop?  Nothing.  It’s insignificant.  So the thousand years will be like nothing.

Some will say, “What will we do after a thousand years?  Will we have retirement?”

It is only those who work at things that they don’t enjoy who want to retire.  But there are some things from which we don’t want retirement.  For example, if we are kings of a country, we don’t want to retire.  You go to the countries where they have no laws like we have in this country, where a ruler, a president can rule as long as he wants.  They don’t want to give up.

You take Ethiopia.  Do you know how old Haile Selassi was when he was taken captive by the Marxist government, the revolution?  83 years old! Long past the retirement period.  But he did not want to give up that throne, even though he was senile.  Do you know how old Jomo Kenyatta was when he died in Kenya?  Close to 84 years of age.  We don’t want to give up.

Well, folks, I have good news:  you don’t have to give up your reigning.  What will happen after the thousand years is that God will remove His throne from heaven to this Earth.  This Earth that rebelled against Him is going to be made the center of His kingdom.  And I read in Revelation 22 that, when He moves His throne here, we will come with Him, and we will reign with Him.  Revelation 22:5:

...And they will reign for ever and ever.

Because His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.  Why should we reign?  Because we are joint-heirs with Christ.  He is the King of Whom we are the kings.  He is the King of kings, of whom we are the kings.

So Paul is saying here that this is going to be our privilege.  But when will that take place?  At glorification.  What about the meantime?  We will have to suffer, because we are living in enemy territory.  I want to give you a text, it is out of context, but it is a text that my wife always uses in times of trouble, and it’s very, very useful.  The text is:

It came to pass....

So whenever you go through a hard time, remember “it came to pass.”  Nothing that you are facing in this world is permanent.  Nothing!  It’s temporary.  And I want to remind you that while we may have to suffer for a short time, it is only for a season.  Our real hope, our blessed hope is the coming of Christ.

But, you know, we human beings can’t wait.  We want everything now.  It is worse in America for one reason:  because this country has taught us that we can enjoy things now and pay for it later.  But, folks, the Bible doesn’t say that about heaven.  The Bible makes it clear that you have to suffer now and enjoy heaven later.  Is it worth suffering?  Well, listen to Paul.  In Romans 8:18, listen to what Paul says about the suffering, and may God give us this attitude:

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

I don’t care what you’re going through, but it won’t be as much as what Paul did.  Paul went through a lot of problems.  He was shipwrecked, he was flogged, he was mistreated, he was accused falsely by his own brethren.  The suffering that you and I have to go through is like a drop in the ocean, because Paul is talking in the context of eternity.  And we should live in the context of eternity because we have already received eternal life in Jesus Christ.  But while we are waiting for that glorious hope we are going to groan, and so he says in verses 19-20:

The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it....

In other words, when sin came into this world, God did not destroy the world.  He said, “Yes, the world is cursed because of the fall, but I have given you a hope, and, until that hope becomes a reality (which he will talk about in verses 24 and 25), we may have to suffer, we may have to groan, we may have to wait patiently.”  Verses 21, 22:

...In hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

One day there in Kenya, an African teacher came up to me in desperation.  It was 11 o’clock at night.  He said, “My wife is having a baby.  Could you please rush her to the hospital?” The hospital was more than five miles down the road.

So I rushed there, and we put her in the car, and she was having the baby in the car.  I’m not a doctor; I was horrified.  Here I was breaking the speed limit, and all I heard was screaming and shouting and I said, “Boy, it must be very painful.”

We men don’t understand it, but I’ll tell you, I saw it.  And I understand what this text is saying, therefore.  But after the baby’s born, it’s wonderful.  And the mother says, “It was worth it.”  But I’ll tell you, folks, the suffering of this present time is worth it.

Let me make it clear.  The whole world today is under the evil one.  1 John 5:19:

We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

And because it is under the evil one, Jesus made it clear in John 15:18,19:

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you.

So we have to suffer, we have to groan.  Look at Romans 8:23:

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

We have been saved but our bodies are still sinful.  We are still plagued with the flesh, and we are struggling with the flesh.  Paul says, “No, it won’t be forever.”  And so he goes on in verses 24 and 25 and says:

For in this hope we were saved.  But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In other words, our minds must be focused not in the present situation but in the future.  We have a future, and that future is glorious.  And if you look at that future and keep that in mind, your present suffering will seem as if it is nothing.  But if you focus your minds on the present sufferings, you will feel like Jonah.

Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights, but when you read his account of it, he says, “I was there forever.”  That’s how he felt.  So keep your eyes on the future.

But now I want to say something about the word “hope.”  Because in English, the word “hope” can have more than one meaning.  Sometimes we use the word hope in a doubtful connotation:

“Have you passed your exams?” “I hope so.”

“Will you make it to heaven?” “I hope so.”

That is not the word that Paul uses.  Paul is not doubting his salvation.  He is sure.  But he’s using the word “hope” in terms of something that he knows he will get but he doesn’t have at the moment.  But he’s sure of it.

So he says, “Because I’m sure of what I’m going to get...”  (that’s why he uses the word hope:  “We were saved, but we were saved in hope...”), “because I’m sure, I’m eagerly waiting with perseverance.  And while I’m waiting, the Holy Spirit helps me.  He helps me to endure the suffering, He helps me, guides me, comforts me, He intercedes for me.”  And so Paul says in verse 26:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

The Spirit, besides giving me strength to suffer, the same Spirit, the Paraclaytos, also helps in our weaknesses.  He understands when we groan, He understands when we complain, “Why, Lord, are you allowing this?” He understands.  He understands our groaning and He makes our prayers meaningful.

We do not know what we ought to pray for...

Because we are plagued with this flesh.  Often our prayers are egocentric.

...but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

God doesn’t need words.  He knows the groaning of your heart.  Romans 8:27:

And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

You see, Jesus redeemed us.  And that redemption is unconditional; I want to emphasize it.  For 400 years now, the Christian church — and it doesn’t matter to which camp you belong to, whether you’re a Calvinist, or an Armenian, or even a Roman Catholic — the Christian church has presented the idea that all men are lost except those who the Bible says will be saved.  And to the Calvinist, those are the elect, whom God predetermined He will save, which is only a few, or some.

The Armenian says, “Yes, Christ died for everybody but it was only a provision, and you have to fulfill certain conditions before that provision is yours.”

So for 400 years, the Calvinist has been saying, “How can I be sure I am among the elect?” And for 400 years the Armenian, to which the Adventists belong, have been saying, “How can I be sure that I have fulfilled all the conditions, so that I can be sure of my salvation?”

The Bible teaches neither of these.  The Bible teaches that God saved us unconditionally, that all men were redeemed in Christ.  Only those will be lost who deliberately, willfully, persistently say, “God, we don’t want You!” Those who push Him away and say, “We don’t want You; we don’t want your gift!”

Then God will not force that upon you.  But please remember that the Holy Spirit is there.  You know why?  Because when Jesus went up to heaven, He said, “Father, I have redeemed the world.  But these people who have accepted Me, who follow Me, need help.  They cannot manage on their own.  Can I send them the Holy Spirit?” Jesus said [John 14:16]:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever....

The Third Person of the Godhead, Who will be by your side not seven hours or ten hours a day.  He doesn’t have office hours.  He has 24 hours a day, He’s by your side until you die or until Christ comes.  That is the kind of God that I worship, Who leaves me not helpless, but He has sent me a Paraclaytos to be by my side.

The question is, “Do you know this?” For Paul says in verse 28:

And we know...

If you don’t know this, then you have not understood the gospel.  The unbeliever doesn’t know this, even though what is true of the text may apply to Him, but he doesn’t know this.  The key words here are, “and we know.”  What do we know?

...that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to this purpose.

Now, some of the best manuscripts do not say it exactly like this.  Some read, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God.”  So I’m going to read to you from the Revised Standard Version.  Because the RSV and the New International Version are really the more accurate texts.  This is what it says:

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love God.

In other words, not everything that happens to you is from God.  But God will use anything that happens, the bad and the good, He will use it for your good.  Because that’s all God has in mind.

Sometimes, when you are in the dumps, when you have lost your job and everything goes wrong and the world is collapsing, please remember the Paraclaytos is by your side.  You can’t see Him, you can’t feel Him, but “do you know, do you believe” that He is by your side?  He’s there to help you, to guide you, to lead you.  And then Paul says in verse 29:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

This text has caused problems.  There are two words, and they are not synonymous:  “foreknowledge” and “foreordained.”  Foreknew and predestined are not the same words.  Who is Paul referring to?  He is not discussing here salvation; he is discussing whom God knew beforehand would accept the gift of salvation.  The salvation is for all people.  But he’s not talking about the predestination of those whom he will save; he’s talking about the predestination of those whom He foreknew would accept the gift of His Son:  “Those whom God knew beforehand would accept His Son He predestined (not in terms of salvation) but He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son that Christ might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

So what is Paul doing here?  He is not talking Calvinism here, he’s not saying that God predestined some to be saved.  What he is saying is that he knows beforehand those that will accept His gift.  He’s not responsible, but He knows because He’s all knowing.

And those He knows, He has a special plan for them.  He has predestined that He reproduce in you and in me the character of His Son.  You see, He has predestined all people to be saved, but He will not force that salvation on all people.  But He has predestined all that will accept that salvation,

...to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he [Christ] might be the firstborn among many brothers.

The word “firstborn” here means “prototype.”  Here Paul is using Christ not as a Savior.  He is our Savior, He is our Redeemer, but here he is using Him as a prototype, which means that all that God accomplished in Christ’s humanity is for our experience.  He wants to reproduce in us what He has already accomplished in Jesus Christ.  In other words, He wants us to reflect His Son, Jesus Christ.  That is what He has predestined for every believer.  For the world, He has predestined salvation; for the believer He has predestined, foreordained, a transformation of character until we reflect the image of His Son.  And these are the steps, Romans 8:30:

And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Remember, the “predestined” has to do with reproducing the character of Christ.  God doesn’t do a half and half work with us.  I want to leave you with a promise.  The promise if found in 1 Thessalonians 5:24.  And verse 23 also but verse 24 is the one that I want you to keep in mind:

The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

He will do it! The work of justification, the work of sanctification, the work of glorification is not our job, it’s the work of God.  Through the Spirit, God is going to fulfill what He has already accomplished in Jesus Christ.  Our job is faith.  Our job is to walk in the Spirit.  Our job is to say, “Not I, but Christ.”

It is my prayer that we learn, daily, to walk in the Spirit, that we learn to say daily, “Not I, but Christ,” that we will daily allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit, so that He may produce in us the character of His Son that we may behave and act like children of God.

While we may have to suffer in this world in many ways — physically, socially, mentally, economically — please remember, the suffering in this world, while we are waiting for the actual adoption to be a tangible reality, remember it is only for a season.  And remember that this suffering is not worth mentioning when you compare it to the eternal glory we will have in Christ.

So I leave with you God’s Paraclaytos for us, our Helper.  Don’t depend on the church, don’t depend on the pastor, don’t depend on human beings, because when the time of trouble comes, the church will disintegrate.  Your pastor will not be here.  You will be out in the mountains.  But please remember there is One by your side Who will never leave you, never forsake you.  And He’s there to help you, to guide you, to strengthen you, to comfort you.


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