Positionally right, Practically not yet

Positionally right, Practically not yet

Romans 8:29—29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Jesus Christ is God.  It is in His image that we were made and for His followers, it is in His image that they are being conformed.  This is our sanctification.  We call it by several names.  We say we are growing in holiness or godliness.  We are being renewed in mind and spirit.  We are growing in Christlikeness.  What does this mean and how does this work?

When we come to the moment of salvation—the moment of our justification—we are forgiven of our sins and God looks upon us as if we have never sinned.  He looks at us as if we have the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  He reckons us as righteous or justified.  Positionally, in God’s eyes, we cannot be more righteous than Jesus.  There is nothing we have to do to earn God’s favor or improve His view of us.  We are justified in His sight and we will never be unjustified.

But there is a practical element to this as well.  Although we are positionally righteous because of Jesus, we now need to be made practically righteous because of Jesus.  This is our sanctification.  This is being conformed to His image.  This happens through the trials of life and by continuing to behold the glory of God in all of life.  As we grow more and more and see the beauty of God’s character on display in all of life, we glorify Him.  We see it, we think and meditate on it, we cherish and love it, and we praise it.  This is a life of worship.  But it is also how we are sanctified.  While we glorify God, God uses this revelation in our hearts about Him to show us that we are not like Jesus.  The Holy Spirit convicts us of this and then builds that desire in us to conform to the image of Jesus.  He then gives us the strength to change and He transforms us.  It starts with Jesus—happens through Jesus—and conforms us to Jesus.

Romans 11:3636For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.