“Whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Rom. 8:29
“Conformed to the image of his Son” — that is the basic, all-governing thought of God where His people are concerned. That is what He has been at work upon from the beginning with His people. That is at the very heart and root of our present experiences, our trials, our suffering. God is at work upon you and me with this one thing in view — conformity to the image of His Son. That means many things, which we do not now stay to consider, but we take fresh note of it as the underlying, undergirding fact. Going right back before time, “foreknown, foreordained,” on to “the ages of the ages,” the realization; “conformed to the image of his Son.” The previous verse (v. 28) expresses this — “God is working all things for good with those who are called according to His purpose.”
What good? What is the good of the suffering and trial that we go through? It is this — that God is (may I use the word?) reproducing His Son in us; and His Son is His hope, and His ultimate glory is to be revealed manifestly in the saints in terms of sonship. It is the hope for the whole creation — “subjected to vanity… in hope.” We are travailing in hope. The hope is in God’s Son, and the hope is the manifestation of that Son in the saints. “Christ in you the hope of glory.”
So we must go back to the sphere and conditions in which the Lord has placed us, with this attitude — God has a thought which relates to me as one of His Own; and that thought is, that through the conditions and sufferings of my life He should develop in me the features of His Son. On the one hand, the features of the old creation may be seen to be more and more terrible and horrible, as I recognize them in myself; but over against that God is doing something which is other than myself, not me at all. He is bringing into being Another, altogether other, and that is His Son. Slowly, all too slowly; nevertheless something is happening. That sonship is not very much manifested yet, but it is going to be manifested. What God has been doing will come out into the light eventually — conformity to the image of His Son; “that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
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