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We Shall Be Like Him
January 18, 2006
-------We Shall Be Like Him-------
In John's first epistle, we read, Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
John said that we, when we have been completed, will be like Christ. What does that mean exactly? This becoming like Christ takes place in phases. It's like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. Caterpillars are ugly creatures who crawl on their bellies but after they are transformed, they become very beautiful and can soar to new heights.
What does the term Christ like really mean? First of all, He is one with the Father. There is no separation between God and Christ. On the other hand, there is a separation between man and God. Man was once united with God and God walked with Adam on a daily basis. Man and God had fellowship one with another. Adam had only one command from God and that was to not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam disobeyed and partook of the fruit which caused him to lose his oneness with God. This separation from God also led him to becoming a child of the devil in a manner of speaking. The devil now had the rights to Adam.
In order for us to be Christ like, we first must be removed from Satan's family. Since all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, then all men begin life as children of evil. Something had to be done to reunite man with God. The penalty for sin is death (both spiritually and physically) so man had no hope of being reunited with God unless the debt to sin could be paid. This is what God did. He became man in the flesh (Christ) and paid the penalty for all of man's sins for all of mankind. The term for this is justification - freed from the penalty of sin - just as if I had never sinned.
Since man belongs to Satan, then man must take a step toward God and accept the payment for their sin. Once they do that, their sin debt is paid for and phase one of becoming like Christ is complete. Christ then gives the gift of the Holy Spirit so we can enter into phase 2 of becoming Christlike. Phase 2 is freedom from the power of sin and lasts a lifetime. Phase 2 is called sanctification.
We are at war with ourselves in phase 2 as our fleshly desires war against the Holy Spirit. This constant warfare teaches us to learn to be dependent on the Holy Spirit to conquer our desire to sin. As we learn to pray, study God's word, and witness to others in how we live our lives, we begin to take on Christlike qualities. Jesus put himself last as He always put the welfare of others before Him. As we learn to obey Christ, we learn to overcome our selfishness and put others first. How different this is from the world's teaching that you should look out for yourself first before thinking of others.
Selfishness is the root of sin. We are born selfish. You have to teach children to share their toys. You don't have to teach children to lie, because they will do it automatically if they think it will avoid punishment for misbehaving. Their tendency is to blame the misdeed on brother, sister, or the family pet. Adam and Eve did the same thing when they sinned. Each accused someone else of causing their bad behavior.
When we strive to become Christ like, then we learn to avoid selfishness. All crime has its root cause in selfishness. People don't steal cars because they know somebody who needs a new car. People don't commit adultery because it satisfies the lust of someone else. People don't commit murder because the other party deserved it. People do all of these things out of selfishness. Phase 2 of becoming Christ like is a lifelong process which diminishes the power of sin over us.
Phase 3 requires our physical bodies to perish just like a caterpillar's body must perish. Flesh and blood is tainted by sin, thus belongs to the devil. This is why flesh and blood cannot enter into heaven.
Since scripture says we will be Christ like then we must receive new bodies just like Christ did after He died on the cross. Our bodies will be changed to become like Christ's. What was his body like? Christ appeared in a room and all the windows shut and the doors locked. This means our bodies will transcend the physical laws that now apply to us. I often wish I had this ability now when I need to make a long road trip. Look how much money could be saved on transportation.
Phase 3 is called Glorification - freedom from the presence of sin.
Christ also could eat but He didn't need to eat for survival. He ate to fellowship with His disciples. There will be food in heaven. It will there for our delight not our nourishment.
Christ can never get sick or can never die. His body is perfect. Ours will become just like His. In heaven, there is nothing but peace and contentment. There are also many wonders to behold.
Becoming like Christ frees us from having to worry about Hell which is the state of being forever separated from God. Becoming Christlike frees us from our own selfishness so we can serve others. Life's greatest joys come when you do things for other people. When we are doing things for others, we live that abundant life that Christ refers to. Becoming Christlike gives us hope of becoming new creatures that will never have to experience pain, suffering, or death ever again.
Remember, John said, "We shall be like Him".
Copyright 2006 by Gary Goodworth
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