And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified, those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)
We talked about who God’s mercy will be extended to, and who He will call to be with Him. But these verses also answer the question, How does God make himself known to us? The first step is that God foreknew us. God knows every person in history and every person that will be born in the future. He knows every scientific formula and every mystery of the universe because He created it. His mind is infinite.
The second step is that God has predestined us to be conformed to the likeness of his Son. He wants us to have all the fruits of the spirit that Jesus has: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (See Galatians 5:22.) Do these words describe your personality? We’re human and none of us are perfect, so maybe the question should be, Do you exhibit the fruits of the spirit 90% of the time? If not, you are stuck in step 2 and will keep experiencing the wrath of God until you develop these traits. God wants us to be like Jesus as much as is humanly possible, and he cannot develop our character without trials. If you are a Christian and a lot of bad things happen to you, you’re not trusting God. If you’re not kind, gentle and patient, he will not protect you from things that make you angry and miserable. Until you learn to pray and ask Him for these positive traits and exhibit them, you’ll remain angry, unkind, harsh, and/or impatient. So many of us are stuck here. We think we trust God, but we don’t!
The third step is that God calls us. Until we develop the fruits of the Spirit, God can’t fully use us. Sure, he can use us to be nice for a few minutes to a stranger, but unless we have all the fruits of the Spirit, people won’t want God because they won’t want to be like us. That Jody, she says she’s a Christian, but she’s angry or unkind, so I don’t want a God that makes her act like that. None of us are perfect, but are we quick to apologize when we’re not? As we try to develop these traits, the Holy Spirit begins to work in us and draws us to God. Many of us run away, but the Holy Spirit still tries to create a passion for Him in our hearts.
The fourth step is that he justifies us. When we apologize to those we have wronged and pray for forgiveness, God not only forgives us, he removes the sin from us. “And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins.” (Psalm 103:12) We become righteous – forgiven, cleansed and in the position of God wanting, loving, and accepting us. But, then, we must forgive ourselves. Who, by feeling guilty, can also exhibit joy and peace? No one! If you don’t have joy and peace in your life, you may feel guilty. Pray and ask God to let you forgive yourself since He has forgiven you. When God forgives us and we forgive ourselves, we become extremely valuable to God because He can use us.
The last step is that God glorifies us! We exhibit the glory of God. This won’t happen fully until God gives us our heavenly bodies, and we go to heaven to be with Him. Then, we will be able to return our unconditional love to Him, and we will fully exhibit the fruits of the spirit. But, in the meantime, we can work through our problems with God and share the love, peace, and joy (that we can only have through our relationship with Him) with everyone we encounter.
. “What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for all of us – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32) Our loving God who sacrificed His son for us to make us righteous, gives us everything we need, and sends us to heaven. In response we love God with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our minds, and with all our hearts and praise him. He wants our uncoerced love. The first sign that you love God is that you no longer fear and worry. You can say to your enemies: “If God is for me, who can be against me?”