For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. Romans 8:29
As a boy, theologian Bruce Ware was frustrated that 1 Peter 2:21–23 calls us to be like Jesus. Ware wrote of his youthful exasperation in his book The Man Christ Jesus. “Not fair, I determined. Especially when the passage says to follow in the steps of one ‘who did no sin.’ This was totally outlandish . . . . I just couldn’t see how God could really mean for us to take it seriously.”
I understand why Ware would find such a biblical challenge so daunting! An old chorus says, “To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus. My desire, to be like Him.” But as Ware rightly noted, we are incapable of doing that. Left to ourselves, we could never become like Jesus.
However, we’re not left to ourselves. The Holy Spirit has been given to the child of God, in part so that Christ can be formed in us (Galatians 4:19). So it should come as no surprise that in Paul’s great chapter on the Spirit we read, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). God will see His work completed in us. And He does it through the Spirit of Jesus living in us.
As we yield to the Spirit’s work in us, we truly become more like Jesus. How comforting to know that’s God’s great desire for us!
What attribute of the fruit of the Spirit would you like to live out to a greater degree? (see Galatians 5:22–23). What will help you do so?
Father, I long to be more like Your Son but so often fall short in word, thought, or deed. Forgive me, and help me to yield to the work of Your Spirit so that Jesus might be formed in me.
For further study, read Free in the Spirit at DiscoverySeries.org/Q0307.
Unlike Stoic philosophy, which advocated responding to suffering by submitting to fate, in Romans 8 Paul emphasizes God’s love and power working on behalf of His people even in the midst of hardships. Although God can bring good out of suffering and evil in this lifetime, Paul focuses primarily on the ultimate good to come in the future with God’s final and complete redemption of the cosmos (vv. 18–21), as well as transformation into Christ’s image and likeness (v. 29) through the work of the Spirit.