Monday, March 27, 2017

LIVING TOWARD HIS LIKENESS

Romans 8:14-17 names several key identifiers for Christians as God's children. 

  1. "those who are led by the Spirit"
  2. not living in fear any longer
  3. regarding God as your true Father
  4. recognizing suffering is guaranteed as a child of God, but realizing the glory and benefits outweigh them all (verses 17-18).
Why are there identifiers in the first place? Because acceptance of Christ's Salvation plan for your life is great, but not all. The rest of a Christian's walk is living out the joy from where or what God saved you. The faith walk of a Christian has been guaranteed to be hazardous, but not without God's presence and guidance along the way. The hope is in the destination and transformation. Heaven being the ultimate destination and the Christian's transformation from glory to glory unto more Christ-likeness being the other goal. 

As a Christian there is a time we are trying to recover or return to - the pre-fall condition. Besides mankind's duties of tending the Garden of Eden and naming the animals (Gen. 2:15, 19), the biggest perk of all was being made in God's image and His likeness

In Genesis 1:26 God said, "'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over....". To begin I want you to catch two important observations about this verse. The first is that there is a comma after the word "image" for a reason. The comma is meant to give the reader pause and for good reason - the word "image" and the word "likeness" are not the same word. 

"Image" in the original Hebrew is the word Tselem. This word means resemblance. In this sense resemblance refers to having the same kind of make-up - body, mind and soul - therefore being a person like God is a person.

"Likeness" in the original Hebrew is the word D'muth. This word means similitude also. However, this similarity refers to the mannerisms of Adam and Eve matching up with God's.

Second of all the words "so that" imply that the preceding image and likeness are used in some fashion. How are they used? "that they (Adam and Eve) may rule over... [whatever]. In this case, it was the creatures of the earth and sea that they were to have dominion. Today in our Christian journey that which we desire to have "rule over" is obtainable through aligning with Christ's image and likeness.

So a quick status check for me or any other Christian would be to initialize a sort of reflective Life Through the Spirit Report Card. Ask the Holy Spirit to grade you - He will. I would include things like - Do I screen decisions through the discernment of the Holy Spirit first? Do I still allow fear to steer my choices? Do I keep in view God as my Father? Do I recognize coming suffering, but realize greater reward? Do I realize how I respond to these questions attracts or detracts others from The Family of God? I can't wait for my image to be perfected. Meanwhile, He has instilled in me His likeness as I improve with God's help - "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Living Toward His Likeness.