One of my favorite verses in the bible is this one that describes how the Holy Spirit transforms us progressively more and more into the image of Christ:
2Co 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
If that verse was not in my bible … well, I just would not believe it to be possible that flawed human beings could be remolded into the "same" image as Christ. Isn't that hard to believe? When I look at myself with all of my flaws and failings, I think "maybe some where down the line, sort of, a little bit, I might be kind of like … a distant image of Christ." But this verse plainly says it is the work of the Holy Spirit to progressively change us into the SAME IMAGE of Christ … and Christ is the very image of God.
Heb 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Jesus told Phillip, "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father." Jesus is the image of God That's why God told man not to make any sort of graven image to represent what God is like. Man would always make some sort of distorted, inaccurate image of God. So God provided the very image of Himself … in the person of His Son … Jesus Christ! If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus Christ. You never find Jesus doing anything to harm anyone. Jesus saves the lost, heals the sick, delivers the oppressed, provides for the poor … He is a blesser everywhere we see Him. Some people would have you believe that God sometimes puts sickness on people to teach them something. I've even heard preachers say that God orchestrated car wrecks and sent tornados to humble people. I always think, "Do they have a bible? Have they read the gospels? Have they seen Jesus?" Because if they ever truly see Him they will know … Jesus doesn't do those things and He is the express image of God.
1Jn 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
God is love. Jesus is the express image of God. I like to say it this way, "Jesus is love with legs." Or you could say, "Jesus is love in action." Is it possible for us to truly be changed, remolded, transformed into the same image as Christ? The bible says we can. If so, we will at the same time be more and more transformed to being "love with legs, love in action." We all remember Jesus' words as he hung on the cross, forgiving those who put Him there:
Luk 23:34a Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
Yet Stephen, a follower of Jesus, also prayed for the men who were unjustly stoning him to death:
Act 7:59-60 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
For years as I would read that passage I always thought it admirable that Stephen would obey the teachings of Jesus as instructed in Luke chapter six:
Luke 6:27-28 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
My thinking was along this line, "That Stephen sure was a good disciple of Jesus. He chose to obey the teachings of Jesus and pray for them which hated him, cursed him, and despitefully used him." Without realizing it, I was always admiring Stephen's 'obedience.' After all, in my own life there had been many times when people had done me wrong and even though I wanted to "get even" with them … I had remembered the teachings of Jesus to obey Luke 6:27-28.
But only recently did the Holy Spirit reveal to me, "Stephen did not forgive them based on obedience. He forgave them because He truly loved them. His transformation had come to the place where He truly loved his enemies." Oh my! To forgive based on obedience is one level to walk in. To forgive because you love them with the very love of God is a much higher walk. Lord, help each of us stay in fellowship with the Holy Spirit until the transformation to Christ's image is complete.
Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,
Gary Carpenter Ministries|
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