From Paul’s Pen

            Moses E. Lard once wrote that “perhaps no passage in the New Testament has given rise to more extended controversy than” Romans 8:28-30.[1] While a discussion of all the misunderstandings about this passage are beyond the scope of this article, I believe most would agree that God’s plan for all mankind is “to be conformed to the image of His Son.” Christians often say they want to be Christ-like or to look like Jesus and we know that man was originally created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). However, sin soon separated man from God and redemption/reconciliation became necessary – as God knew before creation began (Ephesians 1:3-7; 2 Corinthians 5:17-19).

            When we obey the gospel by being baptized into the death of Christ (Romans 6:3-4), we become a new creation – a new man (or woman) – created in the image of Christ. Like the growth of children into adults, we must grow “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” to become like Him (2 Peter 3:18a).

            May we resolve to let God mold us into what He wants us to be! That does not absolve us of our responsibility but becoming more like Jesus requires the total submission of our lives to the Father’s will. Consider the words of Isaiah 64:8

            But now, O Lord,

            You are our Father;

            We are the clay, and You our potter;

            And all we are the work of Your hand.  

Perhaps these hymns will drive the point home:

29 — All to Jesus I Surrender

197 – Have Thine Own Way, Lord

426 – More Like Jesus

619 – Take Time to Be Holy

[1] Moses E. Lard, Commentary on Paul’s Letter to Romans. (Lexington, KY, 1875. Reprint, Delight, AR: Gospel Light Publishing Co.), 279.