“There is one all-comprehending, all-embracing, all-governing purpose to which God has committed Himself, by creation, by redemption, and by union. That purpose is the conformity of a race to the image of His Son.” From T. Austin Sparks http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/002930.html
“And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. For those God 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, those He called He also justified, those He justified He also glorified. Romans 8:18-30.
Why has this been marginalized and thrown under the bus in most of what we call Christendom – the idea of a manifesting and increasing Christ likeness, wrought in us by grace in the power of the Holy Spirit? A careful and thoughtful reading of the Scripture reveals that this is the very reason for the Gospel, the reason Christ shed His blood to ransom us from the power of the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh.
Here are a few more passages along these lines. There are many more?
“No, we speak of the mysterious and hidden wisdom of God, which He destined for our glory before time began.” 1 Corinthians 2:7
“And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so also shall we bear the likeness of the heavenly man.” 1 Corinthians 15:49
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
“He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Ephesians 1:5
“In Him we were also chosen as God’s own, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything by the counsel of His will.” Ephesians 1:11
“Who, by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself, will transform our lowly bodies to be like His glorious body.” Philippians 3:21
“But to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but born of God.” John 1:12,13
It seems that we don’t necessarily have issues with the idea of a state of eventual glory in the sweet by and by, even of the physical bodily resurrection. The issue seems to be that we may not have a big enough comprehension of God’s power to transform us into His likeness in spiritual ways, in spiritual fruits, and spiritual gifts, and characteristics like unto Him – in the here and now. The process goes on throughout the life of the faithful in Christ, and will see perfection in the hereafter.
King David asks the question, Psalm 8:3-5, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!” Some translations translate this as “lower than angels” or “lower than heavenly beings.” However, the word is ‘ĕlôhîym אלהים meaning “gods” in the ordinary sense, and it is specifically used of the supreme God. The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! “Our Father, Who art in heaven…”
In other words, our great Heavenly Father has great big plans for this fallen human race, ransomed by the blood of Jesus THE Christ, our elder brother – not only its redemption but its full renovation and restoration through the work of the Holy Spirit! As the song, “Only A Shadow” says, “The dream I have today, my Lord, is only a shadow of Your dreams for me, only a shadow of all that will be, if I but follow You.” … “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
( Song / Only A Shadow here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWbfT9a0WYI )
This doesn’t sound like “anything goes grace” to me. Does it to you? He will perfect us according to His promise: “… He who began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6.
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