In the movie Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius, actor Jim Caviezel plays the role of the legendary golfer Bobby Jones, who dominated the world of golf through most of the1920s. The closing scene of the film has Jones, along with his friend and golf writer O.B. Keeler, driving into an open field overlooking rolling hills and beautiful trees just outside of Augusta, Georgia. Bobby gets out of the car and stands in the knee deep grass. He looks at Keeler and says, “We’re standing on the first tee. I’m going to call it Augusta National.” Bobby Jones saw more than grass and trees and hills. He envisioned a golf course, and not just any golf course. Jones envisioned the Augusta National Golf Club becoming one of the great golf courses of the world. In 1933 his vision became a reality and to this day each year Augusta National hosts the Masters Tournament, one of the four major championships of professional golf.
History is filled with stories of humanity’s fulfilled visions, but it also reveals even more of humanity’s failed visions. Adolph Hitler envisioned an entire world dominated by a “super race” of human beings who, through an evolutionary process, had rid themselves of any weak traits. To fulfill his vision Hitler began exterminating those groups that he considered “weak.” Of course, this resulted in the horrific Holocaust that led to the deaths of more than six million Jews. For the first few years Hitler’s vision of a world dominated by Nazism appeared to be succeeding. But other nations of the world saw the evil in Hitler’s vision and rose up to resist and ultimately defeat it. As powerful as Hitler had become, he was not able to sustain his quest and achieve his vision … and we’re all grateful he didn’t.
In fact, no human being will ever accomplish all they dream of accomplishing. Many of our hopes and plans remain just dreams that never come true. This remains one of the exasperating parts of being human … many of our dreams hover out there just beyond our grasp. The old adage “if you can dream it you can achieve it” isn’t always true. For a variety of reasons, what we envision for ourselves and for the ones we love often proves very illusive.
But what if your dreams and aspirations are not just your own? What if your life’s vision is linked to the vision of One whose dreams always come true … whose vision always comes to pass … whose purposes are always achieved?
The Bible reveals God as the One whose plans “stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” (Psalm 33:11). The Lord Himself declares: “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please” (Isaiah 46:10).
The glorious truth of the Gospel is that what God lovingly purposes for us in His Son Jesus Christ will be fulfilled. The Apostle Paul describes what God envisioned for us in salvation:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30).
So God has in mind a glorious purpose for our lives. He predestined or predetermined that the ultimate outcome of our salvation would be that we would conform to the likeness of Jesus Christ. God’s purposes will be achieved; this is the destiny of all followers of Christ. His vision will become reality. To that end God is working to bring to completion that glorious finished product of our salvation.
To affect this magnificent destiny for us God did three things. First, He called us (v.30). This means more than just being invited. When God calls us He summons us and enables us to come to Him. Second, God justified us (v.30). This is the great work of God where the righteousness of Jesus is credited to us, not based upon our good works, but upon the work of Christ on the Cross. Third, God glorified us (v.30). In other words, our destiny is to stand before God completely perfected into the likeness of Christ in body, soul and spirit. Interestingly it is so certain that God’s vision for us will be achieved that Paul speaks of it in the past tense, as though it had already occurred!
God has in mind this entire process when He calls us into a relationship with Himself through Jesus Christ, with the final product being human lives transformed into the likeness of Jesus. For some reason there’s part of this process that God intends to happen in this life, otherwise He would take us straight to heaven when we are saved. And this gives meaning to everything that happens to us in our earthly life. God is working them all together for good (v.28) … the heartaches, the failures, the trials, the suffering, the adversity, all of it. And again, the “good” toward which God is working is shaping us into the likeness of His Son. In this lifelong process God is forming us and fitting us for heaven.
And God envisions all of this from the beginning. It is not wistful dream for Him; it is His resolute purpose to bring many sons and daughters to glory. And it shall be so!