Principle for Bible Reading
God’s purpose in creation and redemption is to have a family of children conformed to the image of his Son. But how does that happen in me? In this lab, Pastor John explains the ways in which we are made like Jesus.
Predestined to Adoption and Conformity (01:30–05:02)
- God’s plan is to have a vast family (“the firstborn among many brothers”) (Romans 8:29). Predestination is God’s purpose to have many children — many sons and daughters. (Ephesians 1:3–5)
- Those who experience the amazing privilege of being in God’s family are being conformed into the image of Christ, God’s Son. (Romans 8:29)
- Jesus himself is the image of God (Colossians 1:15–16). Therefore, we are being made into images of the image of the Father.
The Way We Are Changed (05:02–09:20)
- To be conformed into the image of the Son is to be glorified. The glory we get in glorification is the glory of the Son. (Romans 8:29–30, cf. Romans 8:17)
- This glory is moral and spiritual (2 Corinthians 3:18). Our bodies get older and weaker, so this growth in glory cannot be physical. We are, however, being transformed day by day within.
- And one day, our bodies will be transformed physically to be like the glorious body of Jesus. (Philippians 3:20–21)
- Our transformation will be made complete at the second coming, when we see Jesus and never sin again. (1 John 3:2)
Christ, the Goal and End of Everything (09:20–11:08)
- All this happens so that Christ would be “the firstborn of many” (Romans 8:29). That does not diminish Christ; it exalts him.
- As we are conformed to him, he is made the standard of all beauty, excellence, and purity.
- So, the purpose of the universe is to have a vast family of children conformed to Christ, which makes him the center of all things and the meaning of creation.
- Read Ephesians 1:3–5. How does this help you understand and explain predestination in Romans 8:29?
- Read 2 Corinthians 3:18 and Philippians 3:20–21. In what ways are we being conformed to Christ? Is it moral, spiritual, or physical?
- Explain how us being conformed to Christ exalts Christ. Why does that not diminish him in any way? How does our being conformed to Christ fit into God’s main purpose in creation and redemption?
Piper: “As we are conformed to the image of Christ, he is made more and more the center of all things.”
‘The Greatest Chapter’ Series
This lab is part of a series through Romans 8. Taking a verse or two at a time, John Piper unfolds the other-worldly realities in these thirty-nine verses, all along pointing out general, practical principles for understanding and applying the Bible’s meaning. Visit ‘The Greatest Chapter’ series page to see all the labs in this series.