By Elder Enoch Ofori Jnr.
As a believer, have you ever pondered why you were born? Why you were called and chosen by God and the destiny ahead of you?
Well David, (he man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), mediated on these profound questions of life and arrived at a sobering conclusion:
marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Ps. 139:14).
The above Psalm celebrates the wondrous complexity of the human mechanism, a masterstroke of the Divine.
Do you realize that 100 trillion cells make up your body? That on average you added 100 million cells to your body every minute for the first 18 years of your life? By age 20 -thanks to a perfect biological programme — scientists estimate that you become an adult of more than 100 trillion (100,000,000,000,000) cells – “differentiated into heart, spleen, skin, bone, muscle, hair, stomach, eyes, intestines and, most important, brain” (Source Good News Magazine).
Like clockwork, God planned our biological system to work in perfect harmony with all our body parts. Add our intelligence and powers of reasoning, and we cannot but exclaim again in awesome wonder with the psalmist: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”
Mankind stands out from all other living beings on earth. We are a piece of the Divine. The apostle Paul stood in the Areopagus in the Greek city of Athens and addressed the gathering of philosophers on this fundamental truth:
“In Him (God) we live, and move, and have our being, as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring” (Acts 17:28).
Indeed we were made in His image and likeness (Gen, 1:26-27), and our physique and intelligence will never cease to amaze.
Yet all of this barely scratches the surface of our unfathomable spiritual potential. We were created for a far more awesome glory:
“Even every one that is called by My name: for I have created him for My glory, I have formed him; yea, 1 have made him” (Isa. 43:7).
The divine glory for which we were created is the same glory for which we have been called and chosen (2 Pet 1:3). We were ordained in advance for this glory, as was also the glory itself; for the glory is eternal. In His mercy, He has revealed the riches of His glory to us whom He prepared in advance for glory (Rom. 9:23-24).
The whole purpose of the calling is to crown us with glory. Nothing in between our calling and the attainment of the glory can upset or destroy our glorious destiny. The apostle Paul wrote:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God (by keeping His commandments – John 14:15, I Jn 5:3), to them who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
The glory we have been fore-ordained to receive is intact and indestructible, and it is set to survive all threats and opposition. The apostle Paul therefore continues:
“For whom He did foreknow. He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image (glory) of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren
“Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us (or has foreordained us for glory), who (and what) shall be against us?” (Rom. 8; 29-31).
We are fully insured for divine glory with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as the guarantee:
“He (God, the underwriter) that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (v. 32).
The glory is sealed and delivered! In the face of this glory, no accusation seeking to cancel our justification will be entertained nor will any effort to condemn us stand! (See Is. 54:17). God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2, Heb. 6:18), is the One who justifies, whilst Christ intercedes for us – all in preservation of the glory:
“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again,
who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom. 8:33-34).
The glory and all it entails were planned by God before time was! They are not events thought up in the course of time; they were pre-planned to be executed in this dispensation – the age of Glory into which even angels sought to enquire (1 Pet 1:10 -12).
The apostle James observed: “known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18).
Every detail was planned; nothing was left to chance. The following scriptures attest to the purposeful revelation of the divine glory:
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
“To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He have made us accepted in the beloved,
“In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of
sins, according to the riches of His grace;
“Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence (insight):
“Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself:
‘That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him:
“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:4-11; See also 2 Tim. 1:9)
We can only have a faint idea of the glory He has prepared in advance for us; the depth of His thoughts (plans and purposes) towards us is unfathomable (Rom, 11:33). The glory is beyond our wildest dreams and imagination (1 Cor, 2 : 9).
King David wrote in praise of He who has called us to His glory:
“Many, O Lord my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to us – ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto Thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered” (Ps 40:5).
Never think the blessing or breakthrough you so expectantly await falls outside God’s plan for your life; it is an integral part of it – for this purpose you were called (1 Pet 3:9).
Just as our anatomy was purposefully made and intricately wrought, so our glorious destiny as believers was meticulously plotted in line with God’s predetermined purposes. No blessing will be skipped. God proposes to “do all His pleasure” (Isa. 46:13-11).
Indeed, He has not called us to seek Him in vain; He has called us in truth, declaring things that are right (or He’ll do) – Isa. 45:19. His thoughts towards us are thoughts of peace, to give us a future of hope (Jer. 29:11).
This future of hope is already an accomplished fact. All the works of glory were finished from the foundation of the world (Heb. 4:3).
What God will do He has already done! We are not about to be blessed; we have already been blessed with all spiritual blessings in Jesus Christ (Eph 1:3). We are not about to be healed; we were healed by the stripes of Christ on the stake (Isa, 53:5, 1 Pet 2:24).
To the point, all the blessings of glory were fore-ordained before the foundation of the world, just as our calling was (2 Tim 1.9).
That, of course, would mean the source of those blessing was also preordained:
“For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot:
“Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last limes for you” (1 Pet 1:18- 20).
Our destiny is to advance from glory to glory until we attain the greatest glory of all – the glorious image of Christ itself (2 Cor 3:18; 1 John 3:1-2). There is no stopping the glory!
The Refinery of Challenges
While there is no end in sight to the glory of the redeemed, there is no indication that there will not be challenges on the way. There will certainly be; but they won’t stop our forward movement towards glory.
The glory is sealed and delivered! Any situation that seems to suggest otherwise is only temporary; a time that will soon pass away.
The apostle Peter wrote:
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish you, strengthen, settle you”
(1 Pet. 5:10).
Established and perfect (complete) we will be after “suffering a while”. The glory is irreversible. We have already been called to eternal glory; a period of suffering will intervene, but it will not eclipse the glory!
Job in his time of trial, came to appreciate this profound truth and declared:
“But he knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
Silver is silver, gold is gold, but in their raw state they must be refined to remove the dross (Prov. 25:4). We are already gold (ordained to glory); going through the refinery of challenges and trials will not make us anything less but rather purer in quality and brighter in colour!
Through the prophet Zechariah the Lord spoke concerning His people, the remnant of Israel:
“And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on My name, and 1 will hear them: I will say, it is My people: and they shall, say , the Lord is My God” (Zech. 13:9).
Job’s story clearly shows that, indeed, he came out of the crucible of trial as gold, for “the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10, 12). The devil thought he was ruining Job for keeps, but hey, the glory ordained for him could not be eclipsed. He emerged richer with abundant blessings. How true Rom. 8:28 sounds! All things work together for good to the chosen of God called to His glory!
The trial of our faith leads to greater glory (1 Pet. 1:7): Trials and temptations never truncate the glory; they make us even more complete:
“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire wanting nothing” (Jam 1:3-4. See Rom. 5:3-4).
Knowing that we have already been called to a glory that is irreversible, patience is the watchword in the time of temptation. No man, no power, no force can wish away the glory. That is why we have been urged to have the patience of Job while enduring temptation (Jam. 5:11).
Despite the travails he faced, Job did not forsake obedience to God’s word, He remarked:
“My foot hath held His steps. His way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food”. (Job 23:11-12).
With the same attitude, we will surely come forth as gold in time of temptation. The raw, unpolished gold will be refined, and we will shine with brilliance.
Patience in the time of temptation is exercised through prayer, righteousness, obedience and FAITH (Rom. 12:12; Heb. 6:12, 10:36; Rev. 14:12).
This is the great example Jesus set for us. He patiently endured the cross in humble obedience to the Father, fully aware of the joy (glory) set before Him (Heb. 12:2).
Just before His death, He declared:
“Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son that Thy Son also may glorify Thee.
“As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou host given Him.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou host sent.
“I have glorified Thee on earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.
“And now, 0 Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:1-5).
What was this glory Christ talked about? The divine glory He shared with the Father before the world began and which He shed for the suffering of the cross!
Notice! The suffering did not rob Him of the glory. He rather emerged from the suffering with a Name above all names! The apostle Paul, in writing of the glory that came from the humiliation of Christ, urges us to have the same mind/attitude Christ had, namely humility and patience, while going through suffering:
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
“But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.
“And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name.
‘That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father” (Phil 2:5-11).
Before the suffering of the cross, Christ was God, and He emerged from it still God with an even greater authority: “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18).
God’s children predestined for glory are still the children of the Most High in time of suffering and temptation. Hear what He says in Isaiah 43; 1 – 2:
“But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel; Fear not; for I have redeemed thee. I have called thee by thy name: thou art Mine.
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned: neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
Halleluiah! Neither the waters nor the fire can change God’s decree that He has redeemed us. We are destined for glory whatever Satan does!
Rev. 12 shows the persecuted Church with the symbols of her foreordained glory: she’s clothed in the brilliance of the sun, wears a crown of twelve illuminating stars and has the moon under her feet. Already crowned with glory, the dragon (Satan) is bound to fail much as he tries to destroy her. In fact, when he spews water after her to cause her to be drowned, the earth opens her mouth and swallows up the flood (Rev. 12:1, 15-16). The moon, the lesser power of Satan, is under her feet (Gen 1:16).
What God has promised He has already accomplished. Accordingly, “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4: l7-18).
When God says He will do what He has promised, it is already done (I Thess. 5:24; Heb 4:3). God’s plan from the beginning is to make us a blessing, now available through Christ, the Heir of all things (I Cor, 3:21, Heb 1:2).
The meaninglessness of Life without Christ
Through the gospel Christ has changed man’s destiny of shame and emptiness to one of eternal glory that never fades!
Bro. Paul wrote: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all mere most miserable”(I Cor, 15:19).
Without Christ, man’s ultimate destiny is barely distinguishable from that of the lower creatures – death being our common fate:
“I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
“For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing (fate) befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man have no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
“All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again” (Eccl. 3: 18-20).
‘Thank God, Christ has appeared so that He might “bring many sons to glory” (Heb. 2:10).
Of this glorious future the apostle Paul wrote:
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us,
“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the son of God.
“For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope,
“Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:18-21).
The awesomely glorious destiny of the redeemed will have a positive impact on all creation. There will be life, freedom and peace without end.
And yes, we shall reign:
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).
“And the Kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the Kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him” (Dan. 7:27) Amen!