What is to be “transformed into the same image” of Christ? (Part 1)

When Jesus was born, he had both the divine nature and the human nature. Although He was 100% God, he was also 100% human. Realize he was not only the Son of God, he was the Son of Man. As a man he humbled himself and always did the Father’s will. He submitted his will totally to the Father, so the Father could live through him. All his actions were to glorify the Father in heaven. He was the “image’ (Col. 1:15) or “exact representation” (Heb 1:3) of the Father. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 6:38) All the miracles that Jesus did was to glorify the Father in heaven. In fact, it was the Father doing the miracles through Jesus. Jesus just submitted his will to the Father.

At the cross, Jesus, as the Son of Man, make the ultimate submission of his will to God the Father. In preparing Him for the cross, people spat on Him and stripped Him (Mat. 27:27-31) As he hung on the cross, people were hurling insults and mocking Him (Mat.27:39-44). Realize he was fully God, being mocked by men, submitting his will to the Father. He could have walked off that cross, he could have shown that he was the Son of God, but he didn’t. He was submitting his will to the Father’s will. Realize Jesus as the Son of God had the ability to get off the cross, to deal with men in the just way that they deserved. But he didn’t. Then, as a being who was fully God and fully man, he gave up his divinity. He gave up his divinity in order to die for us. If he didn’t give up his divinity, he couldn’t die for us. That is why, with his last breath, he said, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mat. 27:46) The divine nature left him to die as a man. God the Father had to leave, otherwise he could not die. Jesus was no longer divine, he was human so he died. He gave up his divinity so he could die for us…This is how much He loved us…This is what it means by, “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phi. 2:10)

To be transformed into the same image of Christ means everything that we know, everything that we have gained, everything that we are, needs to be sacrificed to Him. Paul implores us to be this living sacrifice (Rom. 12:2). Not only do we surrender the things that are sinful, to be crucified with Christ means we surrender the things of our own righteousness to him. Everything has to come from Christ who has to become our all in all (Col. 3:11). We cannot overcome sin today because we are trying to be righteous. Only when Christ becomes our righteousness to us (Rom. 10:4) can we overcome sin. Only when we submit our will totally to him, can Christ live out of us fully. Only in our weakness can Christ be our strength. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.” (2 Cor. 12:9) If we want to be strong is Christ, realize we have to be weak in ourselves. We are finally feeding and living off the tree of life and not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. All our practices, even the way we worship, needs to be surrendered to him. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him  must worship in spirit and truth (reality).” (John 4:24) All the good that we think we are doing, even if we think we are doing “divine” things or the most righteous things, needs to be surrendered to Him. Why? So Christ can live out of us. Everyone of us needs the reality of “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” The life we now live in the flesh we live by faith in the Son of God. To live by faith in Christ is to make Christ our life.

“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Col. 3:3-4) Realize we have died. All that we do, all that we are, is dead in Christ. It is by “…the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal. 6:14) Our life is now hidden with Christ in God. Only when we reach this point, can Christ become our life. Only when we tell Him we can do nothing apart from Him can Christ live out of us. “He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) For Christ to be “formed in [us]” (Gal. 4:19) so he can become our life, realize we have to die to ourselves. That is the only way.

How do we die to ourselves?…By loving Christ. The easiest way to die to ourselves is to love him. The love of God–whether it is our love or his love, a philia love or an agape love, it doesn’t matter (John 21:15-17)–is the easiest way to become “a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Rom. 12:1). When we love someone, we will give them our all. We will do whatever they ask. We will submit to them (Eph. 5:22). We will want to please them. We would want to meet their every wish. We will be patient and kind and endure all things (1 Cor. 13:4-11). For example, my wife is a very sound sleeper. When she was pregnant, I thought that I would have to wake up to care for the new baby at night and still manage a job during the day. I was looking forward to sleep-deprived days. However, when our child was born, she would always attend to him, even in the middle of night. He never had to cry. In the middle of the night when he woke up to feed, all he would do is make gurgling noises and my wife would wake up. In fact, if he turned over a little louder, she would get up to check on him. She did not do this grudgingly, she did not behave this way because of duty, she did it because of love. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) Realize this is the type of love we need to have for Christ. We will begin to hear what Christ is saying to us. It will affect our behaviour and keep us in the Holies of Holy within our spirit, in communion with Him  “praying without ceasing” (1 The. 5:17), and be made into “a pillar in the temple of My God, and [we] will not go out from it anymore” (Rev. 3:12).

The agape love Christ had for us is immeasurable. He was willing to give up his divinity, his everlasting life, to die for us. That is Christ’s love for us.

If we let Christ live out of us, that is the type of love we would have for each other. That is why Paul says, “So death works in us, but life in you.” (2 Cor. 4:19) in reference to his care for the church. That is how Christ is building His church.

That is what it means to be “transformed into the same image” of Christ.

 

 

 

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