The last key word in Romans 8 is glorified (v. 30). We are currently in the process of conformation, but our aim is that one day when He returns He will glorify us; He will bring us into glory. This glory is already within us today. One day it will shine out of us in full and swallow up the death in our body. Our body will change in form from a body of humiliation to a body of glory (Phil. 3:21). This is the meaning of glorification.
Although today the glory is within us already, it needs to shine out. It has not yet shined out in full. From the center, the hub, to the rim of our being, this glory is continually expanding, permeating, and saturating our soul to the point that we await only one thing—the Lord’s coming. When He returns, this glory will saturate our entire body. At this point our entire body will be changed from a form of humiliation into a glorious form. This is the glorification spoken of in Romans 8.
We can never exhaust the study of this chapter. I have come back to it many times, and it is well-marked in my Bible. The more we read, study, and enter into this chapter, the more glorious it is. In this one portion we can realize the three laws within us, the law of the Spirit of life, and the indwelling Spirit working within us. In addition, there are the “all things” working together for our good to conform us to the image of Christ. This is not simply a matter of overcoming sin, helping us to do good, or fulfilling the requirements of the law; God desires to conform us to the image of His Son. Nothing less than conforming us to the image of Christ will please God. Therefore, we need to be conformed to His image.
We may not have much realization of this truth. We are often troubled that we are weak, defeated, and sinful and that we cannot do good or overcome our weak points. This is largely what we hold in our concept. However, this is not related to God’s intention. His intention is much higher. God’s intention is to conform us to the image of Christ. It is not a matter of doing good. It is not a matter of defeating the enemy or overcoming our weaknesses. It is a matter of being conformed to the image of Christ. This is much higher and more positive.
It is impossible for us to do this kind of work. There is no potential for this in ourselves, but we praise the Lord that the potential is in Him. He is the Spirit within us, and His sovereign hand is arranging all the necessary things to work together for us. Therefore, we must trust Him. We must entrust ourselves to Him, leave it to Him, and enjoy His working. I say again, it is not simply a matter of doing good, overcoming sin, or defeating the enemy, but to have the very living image of Christ. God will work this out. What we need to do is to cooperate with Him and go along with Him without complaining or murmuring. Whatever happens to us, we praise the Lord, because it is for good. We should always have the assurance that whatever happens to us is measured to us under His sovereign hand. It is in His hand. Then, one day He will come, and we will be in His glorification.
THE SELECTION OF GRACE
Chapters nine, ten, and eleven of Romans can be summed up in one phrase, the selection of grace (11:5). Without these three chapters, we may think that believing in the Lord Jesus is something initiated by us. However, after reading these chapters, we realize that it is not we who initiated it; it is God. God elected us, that is, He selected us. Because He selected us in eternity past, we now can believe in Him. The very fact that we are breathing now is a proof that He has selected us. Moreover, this selection can never be changed. It is a selection of God’s grace, not a choosing according to our human work or deeds. Therefore, in this section of Romans the most important verse is 9:16, which says, “So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” It is not of us who work and struggle but of God who shows mercy and grace.
(General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 2: Romans through Philemon, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)