Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. BSB
The Lord has given us many promises throughout His Word. He has promised to supply all of our needs. (see Php 4:19) He has promised to cause all things to work together for our good and His glory. (see Rom 8:28) He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. (see Heb 13:5) And He has promised to guide us through life. (see Ps 32:8) Today’s passage of scripture reveals yet another great promise from the Lord. The Lord has promised to make us like His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Scripture teaches us that it has always been God’s purpose to make us like His Son. We read from the book of Romans-
Romans 8:29 For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son… BSB
The word ‘predestined’ or ‘predestination’ means to ‘pre-determine.’ Before God created the world He predetermined that He would save us from our sins and that He would cause us become like the image of His Son. The process of saving us is called ‘salvation’ and the process of changing us is called ‘sanctification.’ Sanctification simply means that God separates us from the sinful things of this world and dedicates us unto Himself.
Because this has always been God’s plan, we can be certain that He is going to cause it happen. The question some might ask is – “How will God ever transform someone as sinful as myself into the likeness of His Son?” We learn from the book of 1 John that God’s final act of sanctification will occur on the day we see Jesus.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. ESV
Romans 8:22-23 tells us that at the present, we often ‘groan’ as we struggle with sin. We groan over the sin of this world and we groan over the sin within ourselves. We groan also because we long for the day when this struggle with sin will finally be over.
Scripture teaches us that when Christ returns, our groaning will end. On that day, our sin-prone bodies will suddenly be changed so that we will become like the Lord Jesus. (see 1 Cor 15:50-56) Many think that this means that we will be able to instantaneously appear in rooms like Jesus did before His disciples. Yet our transformation into the likeness of Christ means something much more important. It means that we will be given a nature that will no longer desire sin. Today our bodies (flesh) often craves what is sinful. But on that day, when we see Jesus, our bodies will be changed to match our spirits and from that point on we will be completely separated unto God.
I have read that Ruth Graham (wife of Billy Graham) had these words inscribed on her tombstone: “END OF CONSTRUCTION. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE.” Though those words make us smile, they convey something that many of us feel. Today we are under construction; yet one day, the work will be done and we will finally be home!