God has created all people. Some of those people are going to respond in faith. Other people are not going to respond in faith. Both those who respond, and those who don’t, have free will. But God delights to work with those who respond so that they will become more and more like Jesus. He’s not going to force anyone to be conformed or transformed. At the same time, he does not desire for anyone to reject him. In fact, he does all he can to help people believe in him. Here’s what Peter said: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2nd Peter 3:9) This is the heart of God! His heart’s desire is for everyone to come to him, to believe in him. That’s his first yearning. He allows all people everywhere to make their own decision for him or against him. And if you decide for him, then according to Romans 8:29, he has predetermined (that is, predestined) for you to be conformed to the image of Jesus. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…”
Notice that the goal is not heaven. That might sound shocking, no? The endgame, the goal line, is not just for you to get into heaven. If that’s all you go to Church for – putting in your Sunday Church time and getting your ticket punched to get into heaven – you’re missing the boat. Listen… The goal is to be conformed (or transformed) to be like Jesus. The Holy Spirit works in every believer to produce the fruit of the Spirit which is what Jesus exuded each and every moment of his life on earth. Every follower of Christ is in the middle of a drastic transformation while we walk this earth. We feel the struggle Paul wrote about in chapter 7 to shed the old sinful self and replace it with the character of Christ that the Spirit develops in us. That is what this life is about. We have the first-fruits of the Spirit living in us! And with the Spirit inside of you, you have access to the One who knows best how you should pray and how you should live. You have access through the Spirit to the Father’s will. You can ask Dad. He knows best. He knows best how to direct the Spirit to transform your life and conform you to the image of Jesus. He has chosen you. He has selected you. He has called you. He wants to work with you and in you. Are you willing to be transformed?