What is to be “transformed into the same image” of Christ? (Part 2) or What motivates God?

What motivates God? Why did he do all that he did? Realize it was because of love. God’s love for man is immeasurable. It is hard for us to imagine what God has done for us. Here are only highlights.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” to us. What does this mean? God, the infinite God who created the universe, loved us so much that he confined himself into the form of a man. “Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Phi. 2:6) The infinite God came down to be a bond-servant, made into the likeness of men. Before he started his ministry, realize God had humbled himself so he would be hungry. “He then became hungry.” (Mat. 4:2) Yet, he rejected the care for himself to care for God. “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” (Mat. 4:4) He was tempted to show forth his inner power, which was trapped inside the body of Jesus. He refused so he would not test the Father. And finally he was tempted with power to rule over all the kingdoms of the world. He refused because he only wanted to serve God alone. As the Son of both God and Man, his motivation was to do his Father’s will alone. But as God, realize it was because he loved us so much.

In preparation for the cross, “They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.” (Mat. 27:18-31) Then at Golgotha, “At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. And those passing by were hurling abuse at him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, say Yourself! If You are at the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, ‘He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the king of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’’ The robbers who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words.” (Mat. 28:44) Why did Jesus suffer this? Why did he not say anything? Why did he not exercise his divinity? On the one hand, it was because he was absolutely obedient to the Father’s will, but on the other hand, what motivated him was his love for us. As God, He sent Himself to save us. “For God so loved the world.” (John 3:16), he “showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) That is why “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Col. 1:15)

When he died, realize Jesus had to give up his divinity for us. He loved us so much that he gave up his divinity to die for us. That is the ultimate sacrifice. Imagine if you can, a being who could do anything, an omnipotent being who is God, sacrificing himself, giving up the divine part of his being, so he would be left only with the human part, just like his created creatures, so he could die for us. Realize even at his incarnation, he did this already, humbling himself to be a bond-servant. Though Jesus had freewill and possessed the power of the Father, he never exercised his own will, but the Father’s will. This is how much Jesus loved the Father. This is how much Jesus loves us. This is the reason the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father (John 14:11), and they now both live in us (John 14:20). This is God loving us. “God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16) This in why love is the inner substance of God.

Today, realize this very same God, in Christ, transmitted by the Spirit, lives inside of you. “Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Cor. 13:5) “For the love of Christ controls us.” (2 Cor. 5:14) This love will perfect our behaviours as Christ lives out of us. That is why “You must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mat. 5:48) None of us has fully realized that Jesus Christ is in us and has been perfected, but that is why we are “being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.” (2 Cor. 3:18) Christ lived out through us is from one stage of glory to the next stage of glory. As the Spirit makes us realize more and more that it is Jesus Christ living through us and not ourselves, we will grow to love him more, trust him more, and be “transformed into the same image” (2 Cor. 3:18) in “one Spirit with him” (1 Cor. 6:17). That is how we are growing to maturity in Christ.

God is building for Himself a bride who loves Him. That is why He loves us so dearly. “We love, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.'” (Rev. 22:17)

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