God reveals in Romans 8:28,29 His plan to include us in His purpose. He is controlling all things in His universe to cause us to be conformed to the image of His Son!
When we ultimately enter the physical presence of Christ, we, too, will be completely conformed spiritually and physically to His glorious image as an everlasting group testimony of His glory and His perfect work through His cross!
I am also deeply touched to recently learn the meanings of the Greek words for image and conformed in Romans 8:29. I’m in awe of the specific words the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write.
The Greek word for image (of Christ), means more than imitation likeness; it means a likeness derived directly from the object that is resembled. This same Greek word is used when Jesus is referred to as the image of God in 2 Corinthians 4:4 and Colossians 1:15!
For further emphasis, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write the Greek word for conformed that refers to an inward conformity of essence, not just an outward similarity. The Greek word for conformity literally means “an outward expression of an inward essence or nature.”
These two special words speak deeply to me regarding my vital union with Christ. I am more clearly seeing the purpose of my life is so much more than becoming like Christ, it is coming to know Christ Himself and that He is conforming me to His image.
Therefore, the Father’s eternal purpose through His beloved Son is the basis for all that I do, all that I am, and all that He leads me to cherish. Some examples follow:
I chose this picture of Jesus washing feet to display a fundamental aspect of the image of Christ we are being conformed to — His humility. This is not a humility that we can imitate through self-pity and timidity. This is a supernatural meekness Christ produces in us through the Holy Spirit and that we bear as fruit of the Spirit for the glory of God (Galatians 5:22). The humble and glorified Lamb of God who was slain is worshiped by all the angels in heaven (Revelation 5:12). Through this humility, we glorify God and will glorify Him forever in the physical presence of Christ.
Martyn Lloyd Jones has well said, “Nothing so robs us of the joy and assurance of salvation as the failure to realize the full content of justification.” Salvation is not only forgiveness, it is also being a new creation by being united with Christ, which ensures the perfect fulfillment of God’s purpose for us to be conformed to the image of His Son.
God’s eternal purpose is the unifying theme of the whole Bible. When I fail to see this purpose, my view of truths from the Bible can become limited and distorted.
I don’t suppose anything has impacted my prayer life as much as meditating on God’s eternal purpose. Prayer is becoming less of an activity I must do whenever things get difficult and more of my experience of the Holy Spirit always training me and conforming me for the glory of Christ as I pray for others.
Knowing God’s purpose leads me to not be surprised with, and to persevere in, sufferings because I know my Father is working even (and especially) in sufferings to conform me to the image of His Son with whom I fellowship in His sufferings.
Most Christians come to counseling with a “problem.” Biblical counseling first and foremost helps puts the temporal “problem” into the light of God’s eternal purpose. Otherwise counseling becomes problem-centered and not Christ-centered.
Perhaps this article might encourage you to think more about, and even consider writing into a statement, your life’s purpose.
My church’s mission statement is a concise purpose statement that well expresses my heart described in this article:
We exist…to delight in, to declare, and to display the glory of God in Christ.
Following is my current personal purpose statement:
My purpose in life is…
…to know God as my Father who is working all things together in order for me…(Romans 8:28-29).
…to behold His Son who transforms me into His image in order for me…(2 Corinthians 3:18)
…to experience the Holy Spirit overflowing the love of God from my heart to others…(Romans 5:5)
…for the glory of God both now and forever.
May God bless you in His eternal purpose!