STAGE ONE - IN THE MIND OF GOD
You would think that God's first though of you would have to be on day six of creation when He said, "Let us make man" (Gen. 1:26). But you would be wrong. We are told that God chose us "in Him before the foundation of the world" which means before day one (Eph. 1:4). We were destined to inherit His kingdom, we were considered saved, Jesus was considered slain, and our names were written in the Lamb's book of life before the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34; Heb. 4:3; Rev. 13:8; Rev. 17:8). God knew us!
STAGE TWO - IN THE WOMB OF WOMAN
Jeremiah 1:5 says, "Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." God knows us before we are conceived. He knows we are going to receive His Son as our Lord and Savior before we are conceived, and He already counts us as sanctified. He knows the plans He has for our part in the ministry of reconciliation.
STAGE THREE - IN THE MIDST OF THE WORLD
While our entire life from the beginning to the end is known to God, He also knows that there will be a stage in every person's life that is in rebellion to Him. Adam did die the day he ate of the forbidden fruit; he died spiritually. And as a result, all of humanity born of men are born with a death sentence upon them (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12).
STAGE FOUR - IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
When God draws us to His Son (Jn. 6:44); and the Spirit gives us the faith to believe (Eph. 2:8); and when we place that gift of faith in Jesus, we become the child of God (Jn. 1:12). We are born again spiritually (Jn. 3:6; 1 Cor. 15:22; Col. 2:13). We are said to be "in Christ" and a member of His body (1 Cor. 12:12-27). We are no longer independent beings, but are part of the corporate Body of Christ. We need each other.
STAGE FIVE - IN THE SERVICE OF THE KING
We are created in Christ to do the work of Christ (Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 2:10; Phil. 1:6; Phil. 2:13). We are to be our King's ambassadors to the lost world (2 Cor. 5:18-20). Ambassadors must provide credentials to show they are servants of their King. Jesus said, "By their fruit ye shall know them" (Matt. 7:16-20). Our evidence is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).
STAGE SIX - IN THE LIKENESS OF GOD
Adam was created in the image and likeness of God, but when he sinned, he and his offspring were no longer like God (Gen 1:26; Gen. 5:3). The good news is that the Christian, one day not long from now, will again be like Him for eternity (1 Jn. 3:2)!