So far we have seen that we can take refuge in God because we are;
Now we will see that;
We can take refuge in God because we are being sanctified.
Sanctified is one of those Christian-y jargon-y words which can sound intimidating. But really, it means to be made holy. To be made right, and righteous, before God. And this is something we need because, as we saw in point one, without the Spirit we live according to our sinful nature, which leaves us separated from God.
Since Jesus is the only perfect sinless man, when Romans 8 talks about being 'conformed to the likeness of his Son' we know that this is talking about how we are sanctified, made righteous before God.
Have a look with me at verse 28:
“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 sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” ~ Romans 8:28-30
Here we learn that being made to look more like Jesus is inextricably linked to our faith which God has chosen us for. Not only that, but when we read in verse 28 that 'we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose', we know because of verse 29 that this is referring to being made more christlike.
It's kind of like that couple, we all know one, where over time the two people in the relationship become more and more like each other. After a while it can feel like the other person is present when you're only spending time with one of them!
Now that may or may not be a healthy relationship between two people, not commenting there! But becoming more like Christ is kind of like this. Except that it is by the Spirit working in our hearts over time so that we can be made brothers and sisters of Jesus (verse 29). It's Jesus' righteousness that becomes ours!
So we can take refuge in the fact that God has chosen us and that He works all things for our good. And that the primary way He does this is by sanctifying us. By making us more holy, more like the perfect God-man; Jesus. And this in turn is part of how we share in Jesus' sonship, and how we are glorified with him as we saw in point one and two.
What a comfort to know that we won't be flawed forever. That as we repent and believe, God is making us look more like His perfect Son Jesus so that we can be glorious children in the new heavens earth to come!
I hope that through exploring Romans 8 you have been able to see how being saved, suffering and being sanctified mean that we can take great comfort and refuge in God in this life. It certainly gives me great comfort!
Now I think there is only one way to finish this and that is to defer to Paul who wrote some of the most beautiful words to finish telling the Roman church of these truths.
“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 us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8:31-39