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The Image of God

05 Aug

Hello again!

This is what God gave me in his word today:

to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (Ephesians 4:12-15)

But how do we grow? How do we “grow up into Christ”? I don’t even see how that’s possible! – Let’s look at the next verse:

from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:16)

It seems, in order to grow we need three things: a body, to be equipped, and the ability to love. In common speak, that means we need to be in church with other believers (have a body of believers), be equipped with God’s word, by listening to sermons in the afore-mentioned church, and we need the ability to love. This particular ability doesn’t come naturally to any of us, and thus must be given to us by God. – That’s the basics of how to grow as a believer. However, I don’t see how we can ever grow so much in our Christian life as to grow up into Christ!

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)

Obviously it’s not possible for us to suddenly turn into the physical Jesus, Paul isn’t talking about that, he’s talking about us growing spiritually into the likeness of Christ. He’s talking about a Spiritual transformation, which is an entirely different thing than psychical transformation, and for that matter, is much easier for us to do. Speaking of which, how again do we grow into the likeness of Christ?

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Our Spiritual life is much like our physical life, in both we grow, in both we need to “eat”, and in both we mature. However, is our Spiritual life we are also transformed into the likeness of Christ. And the only way we can be transformed into his likeness, is if our old resemblance to Adam dies. And the only way for that to happen, is for it to be crucified, and though Jesus’ death on the Cross, that’s exactly what happened.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

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3 responses to “The Image of God

  1. Clark Russell

    August 6, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    Hey, we’re all in this together. I know I am encouraged when others leave comments on my posts. Sometimes I feel like the post enjoyable part of blogging is interacting with other Christian bloggers like yourself and having some fellowship. Anyway, that’s a big part of what makes it worthwhile to me. It really transcends any kind of denominational or physical boundaries. I’ve never had another blogger ask me what church I go to or anything like that. It’s awesome.

    About spiritual eating though, I’ve been thinking a little. I know exactly what you mean, the “full” feeling after hearing a great sermon or reading the word. I just finished reading through John, and a chapter that really stuck with me is 6. It’s the one with feeding the 5k and Jesus telling the disciples, “I am the bread of life” and “I am the living bread” and “my body is true food” and “he who eats me shall also live because of me.” This point about eating Jesus is so important I think, but I seldom hear anyone mention it. That’s why I’m glad you did.

     
  2. Clark Russell

    August 6, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    Joshua, Great post. Really great. Those are some powerhouse verses. I like what you said at the end: “Our Spiritual life is much like our physical life, in both we grow, in both we need to “eat”, and in both we mature.”

    I’d like to know, what is your understanding of how we eat spiritually? What do we eat and how do we eat?

     
    • Joshua Cleveland

      August 6, 2011 at 9:14 PM

      Hello Clark,

      Thank you for the encouragement first of all.

      Next, we “eat” Spiritually by “eating the word of God”. This is of course a metaphor as we don’t physically eat the Bible. – I’m sorry for not explaining in the post, the whole thing is a metaphor for reading, listening to, and obeying God’s word. Just like our psychical bodies need food to grow, our Spiritual “bodies” need to “eat” or “hear” the word of God in order to grow in the likeness of Christ. A good example of this is when you’ve just heard a wonderful sermon and you feel like you’re on cloud nine. You feel “full”.

       

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