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 – the preeminent among many brothers.
God knows the end from the beginning and He knows all who will trust in Christ. God predestined all who would believe in Jesus to be conformed into His image. God was well-pleased with the Lord Jesus, Who is His only begotten and beloved Son, and it's God’s divine purpose is that His children are made in the likeness of Jesus Christ. We are to all to be conformed into the image and likeness of God’s dearly beloved Son, and it is the Holy Spirit Himself that is to do this amazing work in the life of a believer.
The first work of the Holy Spirit in the life of all believers is to reveal Christ Jesus in us. The Spirit is to communicate with our human spirit and educate us about Jesus. Once the Spirit has revealed Christ in us, then we are to be conformed into His likeness. We are to ‘see‘ Christ’ first – and then we are to ‘learn‘ Christ, even more intimately.
A life governed by the Spirit is a life that becomes increasingly like Christ. The mark of a Christian is a man or woman that is led by the Spirit of God. Such a man or woman lives a life that becomes occupied with the Lord Jesus Christ.
The effect of this move of the Spirit in a Christian is that we are filled with His fullness, for when a man or woman is occupied with Jesus they get more and more like Him – and yet a life overflowing with Christ only scratches the surface of all that He is. The more we know Christ.. the more we want to know Him, more and more.
At the start of his life, we are told that it was God’s pleasure to reveal Christ in Paul, but at the end of his life, Paul longed to know the Lord Jesus more and more and more, and throughout his ministry, it is Paul’s longing that we also come to know Him more. I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection… and have fellowship in His suffering. Philippians 3:10
Paul was a man that met and worshipped the glorified Christ on the road to Damascus. Paul was a man that was caught up to the third heaven and shown unspeakable things. Paul was a man who was shown the many things he would have to suffer for Christ. Paul was a man whose life was governed by the Holy Spirit of Christ Jesus his Lord. Paul was a man that longed that we also should know Christ – in an intimate way.. that you may to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19
This aching to know Him more intimately should be the deepest desire of our heart too.. yet the more we know of Him, the greater His infinite fullness is opened up to us – for in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and untraceable His ways! Romans 11:33
It was Austin Sparks that once penned these words: The effect of the Holy Spirit’s work in us is to bring us to the shore of a mighty ocean which reaches far, far beyond our range — Oh, the depths, the fullness, of Christ! If we were to live as long as ever a man lived, we shall still be only on the fringe of this vast fullness of all that Christ is.
Let us with Paul, set our heart and mind to know Him more, and love Him better. Let us with Paul give the Spirit of God full authority to do as He will in our lives, too. Let us willingly submit to His work within so that we become more and more like Jesus. Let us willingly and joyfully set our hearts to be governed by the Holy Spirit of Christ.
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