October 16, 2019
Dear Praying Friends,
Thank You for praying for our prodigals and for revival. The Lord loves to hear and answer our prayers.
Over the past weeks, we have been considering what sanctification looks like and how the Holy Spirit is accomplishing it in our lives. Very often, sanctification is brought about through suffering. While the process is never easy, and life’s trials are not what we would naturally desire, God has a longterm plan through it all. Never forget that God’s purpose in all that He does, and all that He allows, is that we become more like His Son. This is the overriding principle of suffering in the believer’s life. Through it all, we have this promise:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
This verse is probably the most used (misused) text in trying to help believers who are going through difficult times. Sometimes, when we’re faced with the suffering of another believer, we reach into our faith arsenal, grab a verse like Romans 8:28 and let it fly like an arrow, straight into the wounded Christian. But the hurting believer may not yet be in a position to receive that truth. It may be when their suffering is so intense that their greatest need from us at that moment is for our compassionate presence—for us to draw alongside, sit with them in their grief, pray with them, and perhaps weep together. As we share in their sorrow, the presence of our God consoles us both and His presence soothes our pain. As our deepest needs are met by His presence, we find comfort in His promises as well.
God is able to work all things together for good. We cannot deny that we live in a world marred and broken by sin, where we, as God’s children, experience its dreadful effects. Whether it is sin that we ourselves commit or sin that hurts us and those around us, we feel its results every day. What our verse is saying is that God is working through it all for our good and also for His own good. Our God is powerful enough to bring good out bad circumstances. He is able to take all the wrongs that happen to us and redeem them so that we are blessed and He is glorified. May the Holy Spirit remind us of this in the lonely, desperate, and heartbreaking experiences of life.
These next two verses affirm the fact that God has a final goal in mind. “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 among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified” (Rom. 8:29-30). The reason He chose us was in order that we might be conformed to His Son. How amazing is that! This word, conform, means to have the same form, or to be fashioned like. Therefore, the process of sanctification is to mold and shape our hearts and lives so that we closely resemble our Lord Jesus Christ.
Consider these beautiful words: ”Sanctification means the impartation of the holy qualities of Jesus Christ. It is His patience, His love, His holiness, His faith, His purity, His godliness, that is manifested in and through every sanctified soul. Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy; it is drawing from Jesus the holiness that was manifested in Him, and He manifests it in me” (Oswald Chambers).
These great truths enable us to be thankful, even in our present suffering. May the Holy Spirit encourage each of us as we pray today and as we go through the difficulties of life.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel