God’s Eternal Predestinating Purpose

The revealed Will of God is for His people to be conformed to His Son. ( Rom 8:28-29). God wants His people to bear all the attributes of a life filled by the Spirit of His Son – namely love, joy, peace, patience, kindnesss, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control – for all eternity. We were made in this original image of God but we have lost much of it.

When God said that everything works together for good, He really mean everything including suffering, trials and temptation. He will allow trials to test our patience and faithfulness, and opportunities to test our kindness and goodness. Eventually, suffering produce endurance and endurance in turn produces character. Heb 12:3-11; Rom 5:3-5.

How do we shine as light and bring glory to God ? It is the outward works that manifest these inner qualities which people will SEE and give glory to God. Matt 5:16.

It is a world of difference between doing some kind deeds and being a good person. The Priest and the Levite may do some good deeds at some time in life but the Samaritan is a good person. The distinction is important otherwise it may lead to wrong ideas according to CS Lewis in his excellent book Mere Christianity. (Pray I paraphrase correctly what he had said.)

The first wrong idea is provided we do the right thing, it does not matter whether we do it willingly or unwillingly, out of public opinion or not, grudgingly or cheerfully. The truth is that right action done for the wrong reason does not build up our inner quality or character. We may give a ton of praise and worship Jesus but our hearts may be far away from Him altogether. Our inner desires or personal fulfillment may sadly be the true motive for the worship rather than out of true love. Mark 7:6-7.

The second wrong idea is that we may think God wants us simply to obey a set of rules whereas He actually wants us to have certain character. (The Law is actually the blueprint of that Christ-like character or what some theologians call it the teacher of righteousness.) That was what Jesus our Lord meant when he said that one might NOT have committed adultery all his life but he had committed the sin already when he looked at a woman lustfully. It is not so much about the strict adherence to the commandments but rather about having the inner quality of love or fruit of the Spirit that fulfills the commandments.

Each time we make a moral choice – and we will make numerous such choices in our entire life – we are turning the central part of us either towards a heavenly creature or towards a hellish creature : either into a creature that is in harmony with God’s laws or a creature that is in harmony with the world, the flesh and the Devil. Now each time we examine ourselves of our action and thought, we move our central part towards the heavenly creature end and this self examination comes from the sanctifying work of the Spirit of Christ. Some call this process Sanctification. Now it will be disastrous to hear of false teaching that we can make choices towards the hellish creature part without even worrying about it. Then it is regrettable that the initial belief is merely a professing of faith and not a genuine repentant faith.

The third wrong idea is that all the good fruits of the Spirit is only good for this life and not beyond because all will be perfect in future. Yes, there may not be occasion for us to do good deeds in heaven but there will be every occasion for us to become that Spirit-filled person as a result of doing such acts NOW. It will be very strange for people not wanting to be sanctified now and yet they hope to be in Heaven in which all such sanctified people live.

It is still about the true circumcision of the heart….

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