Friday, June 7, 2013

We shall be gloriously perfected

God is changing us from the inside out. He has planted the incorruptible seed of eternal life deep in the believer’s soul. We have a new desire and a new power to please God. We have a new heart and a whole new love for God. And all those are factors that contribute to our ultimate growth in grace.

Imagine a world where everyone acknowledged God and promised to try to live by His will. Imagine leaders who were committed to love and peace and justice. Imagine a world where people forgave one another instead of living for revenge. Imagine world where no one felt the need for bombs and guns and wars. Imagine. God gave us a beautiful world and gave the choice of what it would become to us. He said, "Imagine!" Is this the best we could do?

If you don’t have close friends and if you don’t like your family, life will be cleaner. But you won’t get anything done in life – especially in regard to relationships. Let’s stop looking for perfection in others. Let’s drop our expectations that life with other people will be easy. Of course there will be conflict. Other people will get on your nerves and let you down and make you mad. Welcome to the human race. But we have to keep running in that race.

Paul makes a fascinating point about the inside-out transformation of believers. In 2 Corinthians 3:1-24, he contrasts the effects of our salvation with what happened to Moses when he encountered God’s glory on Sinai. Remember that when Moses came down from the mountain after the giving of the law, the glow on his face was so terrifying that he had to put a veil over his face (Exodus 34:29-33). Yet that was a relatively weak and diminishing glory (2 Corinthians 3:7). It was also a reflected glory.

In contrast, “the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18) is an ever-growing glory that is not reflected, but comes straight from within. Paul writes, “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). In other words, the indwelling Spirit of God personally conveys us from one level of glory to another.

Not only that, but we shall be gloriously perfected. The whole person—body and soul—will be made completely new, flawless. As the apostle John wrote, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

We can’t envision it now—“what we will be has not yet appeared”—but we will finally be wholly and completely Christlike. This is the very purpose for which God chose us in eternity past: “to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29). “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:4). He has already begun this good work in us, and he will faithfully “bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). And when we see Christ, we will instantly and summarily be made utterly perfect, because we shall see him as he is.

Remember wherever we go and whatever we face, God is with us – yesterday, today and forever. He bids us to live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). He wants us to trust Him. He catches us when we Trust Fall,when we live by faith. And to encourage us along the way He spurs us on by sending a cloud of witnesses who testify of His faithfulness. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”  (Hebrews 12:1, NIV).      


Raj Kosaraju

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