The processes of life serve a greater purpose in God’s plan.
Life is a process. There is birth, and there is death. And everything in between is a series of processes. In Genesis 1, we observe God engaging in a series of processes. It is how He operates and illustrates His creative power. From creation to consummation, God has a detailed plan that He has been executing since the Spirit’s move upon the primordial abyss. He spoke, and it was so. There was an evening, and then a morning. That cycle became the first day, and God repeated the cycle for five more days, working each day. On the seventh day, He completed the process by ceasing from His work.
There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 30 days in a month (Hebrew calendar), and 12 months in a year. The Preacher bemoaned that life is a series of cycles stuck on repeat (Eccl. 1:4-9). We wake up, workout, work late, and wear out; just to wake up the next morning and repeat the process.
Processes Have Purpose
Cycles and processes can rob the joy out of living because they seem as if they serve no purpose. But on the contrary, they are the vehicles that transport us from one destination to the next. Between the promise of God and the performance of that promise is a process of preparation and maturation that brings us to God’s expected end. As we matriculate through life, we discover that promise and performance become a cycle of occurrences that takes us to new levels and dimensions in God.
So, while the Preacher may view processes and cycles as meaningless, they serve to provide consistency and predictability for those of us who are trying to understand what is happening in our lives.
In Romans 8:29-30, the Apostle Paul explains how God causes all things to work together for the good of Christ-believers by listing the process by which God brings us from damnation to glorification: “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”
1. God foreknew us
Foreknowledge is the act by which God chooses beforehand. There is no data or details that influence His decision. He foreknows by an act of His divine will. Consequently, His foreknowledge sets the rest of the process in motion. Our salvation is the outcome of God’s decision to choose us before we did any good or evil.
2. God predestined us
Predestination is what God decides for our lives before we ever materialize. Quite frankly, it is what He decided prior to the creation of any existing entities—cosmos, country, or creature. God decided that we would be conformed into the image of Christ. It is the promise that we eagerly await to be performed in our lives. But thank God, it’s already been decided!
3. God called us
God then calls those whom He has foreknown and predestined. The call is the official summons He sends to those He has chosen to receive what He has decided to give them. It is the vehicle by which we are transported from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Christ. That call comes to us through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
4. God justified us
At the moment we respond to God’s call by believing the gospel, He justifies us. Justification is the judicial act that acquits us from the guilt of our sins and sanctifies us to receive the gift and indwelling of His Holy Spirit. Our guilt has been atoned for through the shed blood of Jesus, and we stand before God acquitted of all charges.
5. God glorified us
The final step in the process is glorification. It is the performance of God’s decision to conform us into the image of Christ. Glorification is the splendor we will share when we receive our Jesus-like bodies at the rapture of the church—His expected end. This is the promise we await by faith as we continue to trust in the finished work of Christ at Calvary.
Process matters. And from Genesis to Revelation, God has unveiled His detailed plan for how He would share His glory with us. He chose us before the creation of the world and predetermined that, like Him, we would cease from our works (of righteousness). He called us through Jesus to enter His rest, and by faith in the person and work of Christ, we now stand in that rest. At the rapture of the church, we will receive our glorified bodies. And at the consummation, we will rest under the radiant glory of Jesus in the New Jerusalem.