So you’ve got a new job and it involves some complexity and a learning curve. Your boss understands this and sets up an arrangement for you to “shadow” an experienced employee, to watch what they do and how they do it, toward the end that you will serve and function like them someday. How successful would you be if you only marginally paid attention to your mentor and spent most of your time doing what you thought should be correct, or simply doing what you wanted to do?
We are told in Scripture that we are to be like God … “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” Yep, just do it! Just be like God! Don’t mess up!
That is the tallest of orders, to grow to be like God … like Christ. But here is where our series of studies on the Godhead becomes immensely practical. We call this process of becoming increasingly Godlike or Christlike “sanctification.” Ultimate or final sanctification is the result of receiving our glorified bodies on the other side of this world. Progressive sanctification refers to the lifelong process of gradually and increasing growing in faith and character to become more like the model of such that we have in Jesus Christ.
And thank God for that model! Jesus being God in the flesh gives us a visible, exemplary personification of the goal toward which we strive. Without this we would be much less informed as to what godliness would look like, the standard being much more ethereal.
I love these verses in John 1:14,18 – The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth … No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
That final verb for “making known” is interesting the Greek language. It describes what I’m doing with you right now – giving a detailed explanation about something. That is what the word means, to break something down into the details and unfold it in teaching. In Acts chapter 15, this word is used to tell how Paul and Barnabas at the Jerusalem Council went into great detail to rehearse for the hearers the details of God’s grace that was moving amongst the Gentiles.
So Jesus makes God known to us. He is the visible explanation of what God is like in character, thought and deed.
This again is why we need to know God and to know Jesus, for this is how we grow to be like them, like Him. Along with this, we have the work of the indwelling Spirit in our lives to empower us to be good shadows of the divine example.
But we need the desire and continually growing discipline to allow this process to happen in our lives. It is good for us to have a process where we regularly ask ourselves if we are indeed growing to be more like Christ.