With God, there is no such thing as a detour. He has ordained every day of our lives. Everything that comes to pass in his creation has been sovereignly and eternally decreed. He is moving all of history toward his eternal goal and his purposes cannot be thwarted.
During the Detour series, we’ve talked a lot about the journey, but now I would like to discuss the destination, whatever it may be. We should start by asking:
What is your stated destination?
Where is it that you say you’re going? Is it success in your career? Is it financial stability and a nice retirement? Is it raising your children to be respectable and successful adults? Is it being a loving spouse? Is it just trying to make the world a better place? These are just a few of the destinations you could be striving towards, and there is nothing wrong with pursuing any of these goals. They are all noble pursuits.
Or would you say your destination is a bit more spiritual than those listed above? Would you say your destination is being a good person or a spiritual leader in your family, church or community? Again, all very noble pursuits.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to reach any of the destinations listed so far. Now, I have another question to ask you:
What is your actual destination?
It is important to distinguish between what you say your destination is and your actual destination. What does your life show your destination to be? Many times there is a discrepancy between what we say we are striving toward and what the majority of our thoughts, efforts, and resources are directed towards.
What are you striving towards? What do you have your eyes set on? What has dominated the majority of your thoughts, efforts and resources? A person might say that his or her goal in life is to be a good parent and spouse, but if the majority of their thoughts, efforts and resources are focused on their career, then the actual destination is probably career success or financial stability. An individual may say that their goal is to be a good person or a spiritual leader in their family, church or community, but where they direct most of their thoughts, efforts and resources will reveal their true passion in life.
So, what are your stated and actual destinations? If someone who had never met you were able to thoroughly examine your life, and they had access to your internal thoughts as well as your external actions, what would they say your destination is?
What is God’s destination for you?
If you are a born-again child of God, what is his intention for you? He saved you, but to what end? The apostle Paul tells us:
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;
― Romans 8:29 NASB
Paul tells us that God “predestined” us to be “conformed to the image of His Son.” God’s destination for you is being a perfect reflection of his Son. So, how do you become a perfect reflection of his Son? Well, God does it. The word most commonly used for this process is sanctification.
God’s saving act takes place in three steps: justification, sanctification and glorification.
Justification happens in the blink of an eye. It happened the moment God granted you faith and repentance, and you called out to him to save you. At that moment, he justified you (by placing your sin-guilt upon Christ and declaring you innocent in the heavenly court) and he regenerated you (by putting to death your old sinful inner self and creating you anew in Christ).
Sanctification is a process that takes place for the rest of your life. It is God continually opening your eyes to your sin, convicting you of it, making you miserable in it, bringing you to repentance of it, and producing in you a continually growing love for him and obedience to him in every area of your life. Through this process, he makes you more and more holy, bringing you closer and closer to being a perfect reflection of his son.
Glorification, like justification, takes place in the blink of an eye. It will happen when Christ comes again to gather all God’s children and take them to heaven. At that moment, God will replace your sinful old fleshly body with a new heavenly body, removing all remnants of sin and making you a perfect and holy reflection of his Son, thereby completing your salvation.
If you are truly God’s child, that is his destination for you. And what a beautiful destination it is!
So, if God has granted you faith and repentance and you have called out to him to save you, God has justified you and he is now sanctifying you. Your ultimate destination is becoming a perfect reflection of God’s son, and God will do whatever is necessary to bring you to that destination. You will not reach your destination in this life, but you will reach it, because God has predestined you to reach it, and he will bring you to it.
God loves you too much to leave you in your sin, and he will purge you of it. Purging sin from his children is never easy or pleasant, but it is always the loving thing to do. He will purge you of every hint of if, even if it means taking everything and everyone from you and bringing you near death. He loves you that much! Hold on to him with all you have, because it’s going to hurt. But in the end, you will be what he created you to be, a perfect reflection of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise him, all his children, for he is worthy to be praised!