Family Resemblance

Some children question whether their parents are their biological parents. There was a girl my sister’s age who grew up close to us. When she was a teenager she was told by her mother, who was actually her grandmother, that her oldest sister was actually her mother. She suspected something was wrong because her parents were very much older than the parents of children her age. The question lingered … “are these my parents”? Other children question whether their parents are their birth parents because, as they go through the various stages of growth, schooling and family life, their emotions play tricks with them and their reaction is … “these can’t be my parents!” Then, many years later they find they look so much like one of their parents or there are features of both parents in their appearance. About 20 years ago I saw my cousin, my mom’s diseased brother’s son, for the first time in many years. When he saw me he almost fainted. He turned snow white. After he calmed down he said looking at me he saw his father. My general appearance comes from mom’s side … but then when I look at my hands, the veins in my legs and a few other features I see my dad. I have no question that my mom and dad are my mom and dad. When a person is born again and becomes part of God’s eternal family, it is possible that one might go through doubts about whether God is your heavenly parent. Humanly speaking, apart from having blood tests to determine your DNA, look alike traits reveal your parents are your parents … but you can’t do this with God, yet there are other ways to determine whether you are God’s own and one of the ways is “faith”. I want you to see a phrase in the following passage:

Phil 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

It is “work out your salvation”.

(1) You are saved … when you believe, confess and repent, receiving Jesus as Saviour and Lord.

(2) You are being saved as you “work out your salvation” throughout life on this earth.

(3) You will be saved the day you died in the flesh and step into glory.

We are at point “2” at the moment of complete salvation. There are many aspects to this point such as sinning less, growth in holiness through the study of Scripture and applying God’s teaching through intentional prayer … but encapsulating it all is “faith”. Where the look alike of parents determines genuineness, faith determines genuine salvation and genuine working out your salvation. Coming back to where we left off yesterday

Ro 8:29 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. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

God’s divine parenthood, expressed here is grasped by faith.

(1) Through faith you believe God predestined you to be conformed to the likeness of His Son (Jesus). Remember the Lord Jesus is God, part of the One, True and Living God … the Triune God.

(2) Through faith you believe those God predestined, He called to salvation. Through faith you believe God justified them before His judicial heavenly court as not guilty because of Jesus’ substitutional blood sacrifice.

(3) Through faith you believe God has glorified all he predestined, called and justified. This refers to all believers in Jesus. This refers to you beloved and more … this is not a futuristic possibility … this is a present continuous action. You, in the context of eternity, right here on earth are already glorified!

The resemblance between the Father and you the child is identified through a spiritual DNA known as “faith”. Please remember that we are dealing with the fact that nothing is unchanging except salvation through Jesus Christ. When you have been saved you cannot lose your salvation, that is why you continue “to work out your salvation”. Coming back to Romans 8 …

1) God is eternally for you.

Ro 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

In response to verse 28-30, how ought you to respond? Look at this … If God is for us, who can be against us? Yes there will be many against us. People throughout the planet will challenge our religion, our faith, our God, our Holy Scriptures, our Saviour Jesus, etc. but what does it matter when you know you have the Truth and God is for you? You may have people in your household and in your family, colleagues at work and fellow learners and students, neighbors and acquaintances who detest you, hate you, and despise you because you have declared Jesus to be your Lord … but God is for you!

2) How do you know God is for you? Because:

Ro 8:32 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?

Our Father’s most precious possession is His Son, Jesus Christ, yet He sent Him to the execution chamber at Calvary for you and me. Let’s put it another way … God knew what He was doing when He died in your place to pay for your sin and guilt to make you holy, saving you for eternity … because He predestined you for salvation so He called you effectually, ensuring that you were justified enabling you to be glorified. Beloved, this is unfathomable … it is incomprehensible to the human mind and can only be understood through faith. Remember we are dealing with the eternal security of our souls … that our salvation will continue through to full salvation in glory at death. Nothing can change this as we will see tomorrow again. But for now … Not only did Father give His Son for our salvation … together with Him, we will enjoy all God’s glorious grace in eternity. Here is a taste:

Eph 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Father Your love, grace and kindness are so precious. Help me to enjoy Your goodness by appropriating what You promise through faith because of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

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