God’s salvific plan in summary. Part 8
“And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Romans 8:30.
In yesterday’s insight, we have learned that a believer in Christ is sanctified forever positionally by the act of justification. Hebrews 10 beautifully explains this truth. It says in verse 11 that in the olden days (referring to the Old Testament Sacrificial system), “day after day every priest stands and perform his religious duties again and again by offering the same sacrifice, which can never take away sins. But when this priest (referring to Christ) had offered one time sacrifice for sins (referring to His death, burial and resurrection as the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world-John 1:29 & 35), He sat down at the right hand of God (proving the finished work once for all in contrast to the olden day’s priest who stands all the time to make repeated sacrifices). Then it says in verse 14, “for by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”
“For by one sacrifice, He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” addresses the positional and progressive sanctification in one verse. The first part of the verse informs us of the completed once for all justification (which also means positional sanctification), and the second part of the verse talks about the progressive nature of sanctification. A believer in Christ is made perfect forever and is being made holy. Then verse 16-17 links the New Covenant promises from Jeremiah 31:31-34, and it says, “I (the LORD) will put my Laws upon the heart, and upon their mind, I will write them, and then it says Listen, “And their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Here the first part of 31-34 shows how the progressive sanctification happens in a believer’s life (God put His Laws upon their heart, and He writes them upon their mind and the second part is the result of justification (their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more).
Does this mean a believer can continue in sins? Apostle Paul says in Romans 6:1, it never meant that way. He says, “may it never be!” If we carefully read the New Testament, we come to terms with the fact that God’s intention of predestination, divine call, legally declared justification and clothing of Christ and His righteousness on an undeserving sinner is to heighten their moral life to match with his announcement of justification. It is God’s call that a believer would live worthy of His calling. Ephesians 4:1 says, “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”
Romans 8:29 says, “those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” The progressive sanctification concept is summarized in this verse-God foreknew a believer, and He predestined, called in time, justified him so that he or she would be progressively conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. The phrase “to be conformed” expresses an ongoing process of becoming and looking like Jesus.
The Bible also informs us the process of progressive sanctification does not happen overnight or quickly. It takes time and effort from a believer, the illumination and divine help from the Holy Spirit of God who indwells in him, and the power of the Word of God to make it happen. When Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia, he wrote, “my dear brethren, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” In justification, a believer has clothed himself with Christ (Galatians 3:27) and his righteousness. It is also true as Colossians 1:27 says, “Christ is in you, the hope of glory.” However, it does not mean Christ is formed in you. Christ forming in a believer is the progressive sanctification. The progressive sanctification would not be fully achieved or attained on this side of the eternity when we live on the earth. Why? Because no believer would become like Christ in its entirety until glorification happens. (1 John 3:2(b).
We will see the conflict/struggle a believer in Christ experiences in tomorrow’s daily insight.
“Father in heaven, thank you for revealing me the truths about your salvation that you beautifully planned in the eternity past. I accept the salvation and eternal life you offer me now by accepting Jesus as my savior and Lord. I believe Jesus died, buried, and rose again for my sins. Please forgive my sins and save me today. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.”