Theme of the Week: Radical Discipleship
Bible Verses: “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” 1 John 2:6 ESV
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18, 1 John 3:2
I remember vividly the major question which perplexed me (and my friends) as a young Christian. It was this: What is God’s purpose for his people? Granted, we had been converted, but what next?
So I want to share with you where my mind has come to rest as I approach the end of my pilgrimage on earth. It is this: God wants his people to become like Christ, for Christlikeness is the will of God for the people of God.
This basis is not a single text, for the basis is more substantial than can be summed up in one text. The first text is Romans 8:29: God has “predestined [his people] to be conformed to the image of his Son.” When Adam fell, he lost much (though not all) of the divine image in which he had been created. But God has restored it in Christ. Conformity to the image of God means to be like Jesus, and Christlikeness is the eternal predestinating purpose of God.
The second text is 2 Corinthians 3:18: “We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate [or reflect] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed [or changed] into his image, with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” The perspective has changed – from the past to the present; from God’s eternal predestination to his present transformation of us by the Holy Spirit; from God’s eternal purpose to make us like Christ, to his historical work by his Spirit to transform us into the image of Christ.
The third text is 1 John 3:2: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” And if God is working to this end, it is no wonder he calls us to cooperate with him. “Follow me,” he says. “Imitate me.” We don’t know, and we do know; we don’t know in any detail what we shall be, but we do know that we will be like Christ. And there’s really no need for us to know any more. We are content with the glorious truth that we will be with Christ and like Christ.
These all combine towards the same end of Christlikeness, for Christlikeness is the purpose of God for the people of God, if we claim to be Christian, we must be like Christ.
From The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects of Our Calling. Copyright ©2012 by John Stott. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.
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