"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children." (Ephesians 5:1 NLT).
God created you to be like Him. What a remarkable and inspiring truth! This is one of the greatest and most beautiful realities of life. God is the greatest, highest, wisest and most excellent Person in all the universe, far beyond we can even know or comprehend. He is pure, perfect and holy; and He created us to be just like Him! What an honour and privilege it is to be alive as creatures made in the image and likeness of God. Of all the creatures that God created, human beings are the ones that God created to look like Him and to function like Him (Genesis 1:26-27). This means that every human being has the capacity to be like God. When I think about such things, I find it difficult to contain my joy and excitement about them. Knowing and understanding this would make many major differences in your walk in this world.
One of the most beautiful things about being a Christian is that you've been recreated in the true image and likeness of God (Ephesians 4:24). This means that, as a child of God, one who's been given birth to by the Spirit of God, you have the same life and nature in you that God has. You no longer have the image (nature) of Adam and Eve, who both ceased to bear the true image and likeness of God as a result of sinning against God. Their hearts (spirits) became polluted with a sinful nature. The evil and corrupt sinful nature of Adam and Eve passed on to all of their children: "Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners..." (Romans 5:19 NLT). This is why Jesus said a person's spirit must be born again in order for them to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3:3). A major reason for this is because sin can't enter Heaven; so a person's spirit has to be recreated (reborn) by God to have the same life and nature as God. Another reason is because it's impossible to think like God, live like Him and be like Him if you don't have His life and nature inside your spirit. As long as you have the sinful nature from Adam and Eve, you'll always live in sin; you'll live a life that's opposite to God because you'd have a nature that's opposite to His (Galatians 5:16-17).
Jesus said: "Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:34-36 NIV). Such wonderful and gracious words from the lips of the Master. He shows here, that everyone who's born into this world is a slave to sin; and the reason this is so is because everyone is born with the nature of sin in them, and so they're slaves to that nature because you can't act differently to your nature. He immediately shows, however, that if the Son sets you free from sin, you will be free indeed! This is exactly what Jesus has accomplished for us. The Christian isn't the sinner trying to get right. The Christian is one who is free from sin because he no longer has the nature of sin in his heart (spirit)! His spirit now has the very life and nature of God; that nature that is good, right, perfect, faithful, patient, kind, loving, peaceful, gentle, pure and self-controlled.
As a Christian, God no longer calls you a sinner, so you should no longer call yourself a sinner if you've been doing so. The Christian is one who is dead to sin: "In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." (Romans 6:11 NIV). This is exactly what Jesus said in other words in John 8:36. To count yourself dead to sin means that you're free from sin and its power over you and your life because Jesus, the Son of God, has set you free from sin by giving you a nature that is better and far higher than sin; He has destroyed sin and its power from your life. "But Pastor Fine, if I'm a Christian and don't have the nature of sin in my heart anymore, and God doesn't call me a sinner, why do I still find myself thinking wrongly and saying and doing the wrong things?" That's an important question.
That you thought, said or did something wrong doesn't make you a sinner. Neither does it stop you from being a child of God. Having the nature of sin is what makes a person a sinner. As a Christian, you're righteous; you have God's nature in your spirit. You're like God now, and God wants you to become more and more like Him by thinking like Him. Think of a human baby. That baby is fully human, although he doesn't act like a fully-grown, mature human being yet. He has to be trained, taught and raised to become a mature adult. That child will think, do and say many wrong things as he's growing up, but as he learns more and understands more, he finds himself making less mistakes and doing more things the right way. It's the same with being a Christian. When you become a Christian, you're fully God's child, with His very life and nature in you. The goal is for you to grow up in your Christianity to be like your Heavenly Father. When you start out in your Christian walk, you'll think, do and say many wrong things, but that doesn't stop you from being God's child. Neither does it stop God from loving you. God is your Father; He's very patient with you and your growth. The Bible says, "The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion." (Numbers 14:18 NLT). So, know that He's very patient with you and gives you time and room to grow to maturity; to grow to be like Him.
Right living will result from right thinking, and right thinking will result from right teaching. This is what causes us to live right; it's what cleanses our minds and causes our actions to line up with God's thoughts and ways. If we're taught the right things and the right way, then we'll think the right things and think the right way. If we think the right things and think the right way, then we'll live the right way. Remember, God's dream is for all of His children to grow up to be like Him in every way; so let Him build Himself in you through His Word! In addition to your personal Bible study, we have our Rhapsody of Realities and our The Divine Update articles to assist you with the accomplishment of this special, wonderful and blessed dream of God concerning you: building Himself in you through His Word. So, be sure to take full of advantage of them!
Share this Divine Update with someone else today and help them to live in the liberty and beauty of God's love, blessings and provisions.