Tag Archives: Romans 8:29

Can People Really Change?

I know alcoholics who have stayed sober for decades, but they stayed sober by changing and continuing to change – by growing. But staying sober is not the only thing that requires change; staying Christian does too. It requires progressive changes, one leading to another, across the span of a lifetime. Continue reading

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Spiritual Formation: Anything but Boring

God, according to the Bible, intends to conform humans to the image of his Son. We might think it would be boring to have a world full of people who were all the same, even if they were like Jesus. But that is to think wrongly. If everyone were like me, the world would be a boring place. In becoming like me, so many of the things that make people interesting would be lost. But in becoming like Jesus, nothing that is good is lost. Boring? It’s just the opposite. The world goes from black and white to living color – colors we have not yet imagined – as we become like Christ.

But wait a minute. If I become like Jesus – so different from what I am now – won’t I cease to be me? No. It is quite the opposite. The more I become like Jesus, the more I become myself. In fact, I can only be me to the degree that I become like him. If I refuse to be like him, I will inevitably lose myself and everything that makes me me.

Here is a mystery. If you become more like Jesus and I become more like Jesus (which, remember is God’s plan), we won’t become more like each other in a way that makes one of us superfluous. Instead, as each of us becomes more like Christ, our uniqueness becomes more apparent, not less. The good but undeveloped possibilities within each of us spring to life. Continue reading

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What Is God Up To?

Romans 8:28 is one of the Bible best-loved verses. “All things work together for good to those who love God…” And yet things frequently don’t seem to work together for good. For example, let’s say you have been saving up for a better car for the last 18 months. The one you have now is unreliable and you finally have enough money to replace it. But before you do, you incur unexpected bills that wipe out all the money you’ve saved and then some. How does that work for good?

And that is nothing compared to what some people experience. How does a cancer diagnosis work for good? A tragic accident? How about a tsunami? The death of a child? The deaths of tens of thousands of children in war and famine? In what sense are any of these things good?

The answer is, they are not and the Bible never says they are. In fact, it says quite the opposite. These things are not good but God is. He is so wise, so capable, and powerful that he can make even bad things like these serve his people’s good. Continue reading

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The Importance of Staying Limber

In Christian circles there is a high degree of suspicion towards people whose beliefs are constantly changing. We applaud Luther for his “Here I stand; I can do no other” attitude but we deplore Bunyan’s Mr. Pliable. Luther stands strong … Continue reading

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