Romans 8:29 (CSB) For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
God did not choose us because we were good. He chose us while we were wicked in his sight.
Romans 5:8 (CSB) But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Genesis 6:1–9 (CSB) When mankind began to multiply on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of mankind were beautiful, and they took any they chose as wives for themselves. And the LORD said, “My Spirit will not remain with mankind forever, because they are corrupt. Their days will be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth both in those days and afterward, when the sons of God came to the daughters of mankind, who bore children to them. They were the powerful men of old, the famous men. When the LORD saw that human wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time, the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and he was deeply grieved. Then the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I created, off the face of the earth, together with the animals, creatures that crawl, and birds of the sky—for I regret that I made them.” Noah, however, found favor with the LORD. These are the family records of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God.
Ephesians 1:3–14 (CSB) Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he richly poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding. He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ as a plan for the right time—to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him. In him we have also received an inheritance, because we were predestined according to the plan of the one who works out everything in agreement with the purpose of his will, so that we who had already put our hope in Christ might bring praise to his glory. In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.
God is our Conformer and our Image.
In the midst of our sinful lives, in the middle of our trespasses and our wickedness and condemnation and shame, Jesus Christ appears to us and calls us to be with him.
Titus 3:3–7 (CSB) For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.
When God swaps the heart, our ultimate desires are for him.
Luke 18:13 (CSB) “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’
Romans 7:24–25 (CSB) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am serving the law of God, but with my flesh, the law of sin.
John 1:12–13 (CSB) But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
If your ultimate, end-all-to-be-all desires of your heart is not God–in other words, you wanna get married, have a nice job, raise nice kids, store up a bunch of wealth, do good things but really not for God–I would strongly ask you this question:
Why? Why are you playing church? Why are you going through the motions? Why are you not trying to live differently than the world?
Do you have hidden sins? Have you given into those sins or are you pleading for the power of Christ to come take your sins away?
In other words: do you want to keep your sin? Do you? Be honest. Don’t lie to me. I am not God nor can I save you. Be honest with yourself.
The moment that you can be honest about yourself to yourself is the very moment that God will work in you. But keep lying to yourself–or as Paul says in it in Romans 1, keep suppressing the truth of God in your mind–and you are going to lie to yourself straight into the wrath of God.
If you can be real with yourself, you might be able to be real with the Living God. The Almighty God who knows all and sees all has to deal with million upon millions of people who have been deceived into thinking they they can fool and hide from God.
Sound familiar? Remember Adam and Eve in the garden? As soon as they sinned, they covered themselves and hid from God.
But God called them out. And he preached the gospel. And guess what. They believed the gospel! How do I know?
Genesis 3:21 (CSB) The LORD God made clothing from skins for the man and his wife, and he clothed them.
Adam and Eve covered themselves with dirt and leaves and mud because they were so ashamed. Stop me if you heard this before: God slays an animal, fashions clothing for them, and covers them with what he has done.
Now, you are sitting and reading this or hearing this. This is the gospel presented to you.
Hear the gospel. Believe in Christ. Trust in Christ and obey Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:1–11 (CSB) Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to you, which you received, on which you have taken your stand and by which you are being saved, if you hold to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers and sisters at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one born at the wrong time, he also appeared to me. For I am the least of the apostles, not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then, it is I or they, so we proclaim and so you have believed.
Stop trying to find another way to be saved. Stop trying to live in your sin. Stop trying to get God without God. Stop trying to find another way to get to God.
Go to God. Ask for God. Get God.
Acts 4:12 (CSB) There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”