The Image of Christ
I don’t know about you, but I don’t often feel very Christ-like. The days tend to start with good intentions but, as I get caught up in the business of living, it is all too easy to slip back into the human self-reliance, worry and impatience – and to sometimes display some very un-Christ like behaviour.
However, God tells us that not only are we his ambassadors, children and ‘co-heirs with Christ’ (Rom 8:17) but that at this very moment we are being transformed into the actual image of his only beloved son, Jesus.
The Apostle Paul tells us that ‘we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit’ (2 Cor 3:18). And that ‘if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!’ (2 Cor 5:17).
There’s an American fantasy-comedy film that interprets this concept of God’s transformation rather literally. It’s called Evan Almighty, where a newscaster played by comedian Steve Carrell is changed overnight into the image of Noah, complete with long hair, beard and flowing cloak – much to his alarm.
But don’t worry. This isn’t the kind of metamorphosis that Paul was talking about; rather, he says that we are to be ‘transformed by [a] renewing of [the] mind’ (Rom. 12:2). The Greek word used for this renewing is anakainosis, which refers to a process of continual renewal, a gradual process of inward transformation that takes place day-by-day, year-by-year as we are exposed to the glory of God.
With the death of Christ, the veil that protected the Israelites from the full glory of God has been torn. There is nothing that stands between us and the fullness of God, except for our own wilfulness and self-reliance. He is the ever-loving God who wants to embrace us as his children, to help us to fulfil our potential, to be all that he originally created us to be – to live our lives in the light of Christ, shining like a beacon of hope in the world. But we have to make the choice to turn to him, to come close and expose ourselves to the glory of God on a day-to-day basis in prayer– and then the work of transformation begins.
Reflection: The fruits of Christ’s spirit are ‘love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control’ (Gal 5:22–23).Where in your life do you feel God is calling you to be more like Jesus?
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