“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29 ESV)
How do we conform to the likeness of Christ?
Let me summarize it with this, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Through the gospel and by the Spirit of God, a Christian is someone who beholds the glory of Jesus, though not perfectly. Paul says elsewhere, we see him like in a foggy mirror (1 Corinthians 13:12). But by faith we see in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection true glory and beauty. We behold the glory of the Lord. We perceive in him divine glory and place in him all our eternal hope.
The Spirit of God indwells us. Our eyes are wide open to his beauty. The Christian life is an ongoing experience of beholding—seeing—the glory of Jesus. How? Primarily through Scripture but also through the church family, life’s trials, and our own maturing in Christ. As we see and savor him, the Spirit of God works to change our lives, values, perspectives, attitudes, and actions to slowly but increasingly resemble Jesus. We are being changed progressively. We are being sanctified progressively. We are being transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ.
But as we saw in Romans 7, none of us in this life get there completely. We will always have indwelling sin on this earth. But there is coming a time when we will instantly and completely resemble Jesus. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2) That moment of resurrection and glorification will mean instant and full Christlikeness. Our moral character will be perfect. Our desires fully his. No more struggle with sin. No more struggle with self. Our worship forever will completely be All about Him.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
© 2019 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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