Like father, like son is a common expression that people use to highlight the similarities between parents and their offspring. Some may say, "Oh, he has your eyes," or "she smiles just like you." Fathers and mothers naturally beam with delight when they hear such statements. Do you not think our heavenly Father rejoices when we exhibit His qualities in our lives?
1) Christians Mirror Their Father: -- As Christians we are to exhibit the character of God. The apostle Peter expresses it this way, "But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourseves also in all your behavior" (1 Pet. 1:15). In Peter's second epistle, he speaks of becoming partakers of the divine nature. To partake of the divine nature means to "share" the characteristics of the Divine One. To partake of the divine nature does not make one divine, but makes one reflect the characteristics of this nature. This comes when one obeys the Word of God. God gives us the right to become sons of God (Jno. 1:12) and when we are begotten by His Word (1 Pet. 1:23), we "put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth" (Eph. 4:24). Sharing the characteristics of deity occurs after we "put off the old man of sin," fleeing the pollution of the world and put on the new man in Christ (Gal. 3:27).
2) Not A One-Time Deal: -- Putting on the characteristics of God is not a concern just for the newly converted. Paul tells us in Col. 3:10 that those who have "put on the new self" are "being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him." We are to continue to grow by being renewed in God's Word which will bring us into accordance with the divine image. Christ is our standard. As we shape our lives by His Word, we become more and more like Him. We take on His image, His characteristics.
3) The Characteristics: -- Peter lists qualities we are to possess as a Christian. He says we are to give "all diligence" in applying them. We are to put on moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. If we take on these qualities and increase in them, he says, "they will render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 1:5-8). Paul says we must bear fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22,23). These cannot exist with the works of the flesh. Thus Paul states that those "who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal. 5:24). In Col. 3:12-15, Paul adds that we need to "put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against any one, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful."
We, no doubt, have room to grow in all of these areas. Let's continue to renew ourselves to the true knowledge according to the image of Christ.
By John A. Gibson, in Back To Basics, Vol. 3, No. 5, May 2005.
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