Created to be Like God

The Truth that is in Jesus
Ephesians 4:21-24 ESV

“But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

The preceding verses tell us that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, should no longer conduct our lives (walk) as the ungodly do. We should not be those who have hardened hearts against God, and against his commandments (New Covenant). And we are not to give ourselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity, for that is not the way we learned Christ.

Of course, this is assuming that we did learn the truth in Christ Jesus, but not many people today are hearing the truth, for lies abound. Not many are teaching the truth in Christ Jesus that was taught here in Ephesians 4, or in many other passages of Scripture which teach on salvation and eternal life with God. For they are accepting a flesh-driven gospel, instead.

What they are being taught is that Jesus Christ died on that cross to forgive us our sins so that we can go to heaven when we die. And they are teaching that we can have heaven guaranteed as our eternal destiny if we would repeat some words after someone, or if we would make a public confession of Christ as Lord, or if we would just accept God’s forgiveness of our sins.

But most of them are not teaching that we must die with Christ to sin, not just once, but daily, and that we must walk (conduct our lives, in practice) in obedience to his commands, and that we must surrender our lives to Christ Jesus, and submit to him as Lord of our lives. For there we have the promise of salvation from sin and eternal life with God, for this is what faith is.

They are also not teaching that Jesus died that we would no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. They are not teaching the true meaning of redemption, either. For when Jesus shed his blood on that cross, he bought us back for God so that we would now be God’s possession, and so that we would now honor Him with our lives (with our bodies).

Thus, they are also not teaching that our salvation is deliverance from our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we would now become slaves of God and of his righteousness, and that in our new birth, we were created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. As followers of Jesus Christ our goal is to be like Jesus in thought, word, attitude, and deed.

In These You Once Walked
Colossians 3:5-10 ESV

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”

Our new lives in Jesus Christ were created by God after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. So, righteousness is not just a status that we wear because we believed in Jesus Christ. Righteousness is what we do. We who practice righteousness are those who are righteous, not those who merely mouth faith in Jesus Christ.

Thus, we are to no longer live in sin, making sin our practice. Daily by the Spirit we are to be putting to death the deeds of the flesh. And this putting what is earthly to death is not daily verbal confessions of sin while we continue living in sin without genuine repentance. That is what many people make it out to be, though, as they habitually sin, confess, sin, confess.

I am certainly not saying that we have to live in sinless perfection, or else. But what I am saying is what the word of God teaches. We must no longer make sin our practice. Sin must no longer have dominion over us. It should not be our master. Jesus is to be our only master. He is to be the only one determining our steps, not our fleshly desires.

For, if we are in Christ Jesus, by genuine faith in him, we should have died with him to sin, so we can say that we once walked in these sins, but that we no longer live in them. They are not what we practice, but righteousness is what we now practice, by the grace of God, and empowered by God’s Spirit who dwells within us.

So, instead of patterning our lives after the ways of this sinful world, and after our fleshly desires, we put those to death, and we now put the life of Christ into practice in our lives, by God’s Spirit. And now we are becoming like Christ, having our lives patterned after his likeness, so that our lives reflect him in all that we do, and they no longer reflect our sinful flesh.

Predestined to be Conformed
Romans 8:28-29

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 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.”

To love God is to obey him, to do what he says, and to put the word of God into practice in our daily lives. Now, we don’t have to obey the Old Covenant. For, we are under the New Covenant. But the New Covenant still has commands that we must obey. They are the commands of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Nine of the Ten Commandments are repeated for us under the New Covenant. The only one of the ten we are not required to obey is the keeping of the Sabbath, because Jesus Christ is now our Sabbath rest. We rest in him. We abide in him, and we keep his word. And he abides in us, and his word abides in us. And we worship him now in spirit and in truth any day, anywhere. For, we are now his temple.

So, it is for those who love God, who obey him, that all things work together for good. And it is for those who are called according to his purpose that all things work together for good. And his purpose is that we die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, that we forsake our sins, and that we follow him in obedience, in surrender to his will for our lives.

For… and we need to pay attention to this… those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image (likeness) of his Son, Jesus Christ. It was always God’s plan that, by faith in Jesus Christ, we would become like Christ in our thinking, believing, speaking, attitudes, and behaviors. For, believing in Jesus Christ means we are being made to be like him.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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