In the last article, we looked at some ideas of what it means to be made “in the image of God.” In particular, we talked about the fact that as a result of Adam’s sin, the image of God has been blurred and distorted in mankind. However, in the fullness of time, God sent Jesus, “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15 AKJV), to be the “last Adam” and to undo the damage done by Adam’s sin, that we may be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom 8:29 AKJV). This is truly Good News!
Let’s look now at some practical examples of what this looks like in our lives: God is love. He demonstrates His love in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus told His disciples, “Greater love has no man than that He lay down His life for His friends.” He demonstrated His love by serving them and laying down His life for them, and then told them to love one another. Being “conformed to the image of Christ” means that we too will learn to love and lay down our lives for others.
God is kind and compassionate. He takes care of practical needs. Jesus demonstrated kindness in the way He dealt with the poor, the sick, the needy and brokenhearted. He touched them, spoke kindly to them, and cared for their needs. As we grow in conformity to the image of Christ, we will also learn to be kind and compassionate, and care for others as God gives us ability.
God is merciful. Jesus demonstrated mercy and forgiveness to sinners. He called them to repentance, but did not condemn. He taught them God’s Word and demonstrated God’s ways. Likewise, we are called to be merciful, in gentleness restoring those who have gone astray. God is generous. He gives rain to the just and the unjust. He daily provides us with what we need to sustain life. Jesus demonstrated God’s generosity and care, when He saw a need and did something about it, taking the offering of a young boy, and multiplied it to feed 5000. Likewise, as we generously yield what we have to God, He will use us to meet needs around us.
But how does this take place in our lives? I believe we are conformed to the image of Christ as we cooperate with God and submit to the work of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. It involves putting off the things of the flesh (the “old man”) and putting on the “new man” (Col 3:10 AJKV); turning away from conformity to the things of this world and being transformed by the renewing of our minds. (Rom 12:1-2). It involves seeking God with all our heart and learning to do what pleases Him, through prayerful study of His Word with an intent to obey. It also involves putting on the “full armor of God,” resisting the devil, and fleeing temptation. And it involves being filled with the Spirit and walking in His power.