Then Paul goes a glorious step further. He opens up the hidden purpose behind our sufferings and disturbed conditions. “Your destiny is to be a Co-Son with the Son in the development of His vast universal inheritance!” So these are necessary TRAINING YEARS on earth. “You have begun recognizing and realizing that you already are Christ in your human form (Gal. 2:20; Col 3:4); and it is necessary that you are brought, by the maturing grace of the indwelling Spirit, to exact conformity to Him.” What a destiny! What a conformity, which John also foresaw (1 Jn 3:2). So there is a steady gradual conforming process in action by the Spirit, who is already indissolubly joined to our spirit (1 Cor 6:17).
And we are being “changed into His likeness from glory to glory” (2 Cor 3:18).
We must not confuse God’s transforming operations, taking place in us through those constant trials and pressures (which James said are used to establish us “perfect, wanting nothing” [Ja 1:2-4]), with the total basic transformation already taken place. We escaped from the lying independent self outlook of Romans 7 into the permanent liberation of Romans 8:1-2 by our faith recognition of the finished work on Calvary. Growth in conforming us to the image of Christ, which Paul is now speaking about (8:29), is the spontaneous development of Christ fixed in us as us: union fact.
Folks often do try to escape the necessity of the crisis and exchange of the independent self lie of Romans 7 for that glorious fact of Christ having replaced Satan as the fixed one now living our lives, by majoring on the subsequent changes conforming us to His likeness. These changes are constantly taking place in us merely as products of that crisis. They are not to be mistaken for it or used as a gradual improvement method, as though to escape from the rugged confronting of the necessary faith crisis.
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