Updated: Nov 19, 2019
In a recent blog, we talked about seeing the big picture that God sees and how it could change how we live our life. The thing is, once we understand the big picture, we are also able to understand more about God's highest aim for us. But first, we must identify what that is.
Many people answer my question about God’s highest aim with the phrase from Romans 8:29, “to become conformed to the image of his Son.” Or using phrases from related passages like those that follow, they say, “to be sanctified,” “to be holy,” “to love like Jesus loves,” “to be like Jesus,” or “to reflect Christ’s glory.”
“For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.” John 17:19
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” John 17:22-23
“I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17:26 NIV
And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. 1 Corinthians 15:49 NIV
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV
Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. Ephesians 1:4
And put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Ephesians 4:24
Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
1 John 3:2
Another frequent response to my question about God’s highest aim for us is the statement from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”
This answer invites the question, “How do we glorify God?” The catechism spells out four ways. “Glorifying God consists in four things: 1. Appreciation, 2. Adoration, 3. Affection, 4. Subjection.” These are certainly all valid, but a more direct answer would seem to be what Jesus said in John 17:4: ”I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.”
And what was that work? Yes, it was to suffer and die in payment for our sins. Yes, it was to rise again in victory, conquering death and freeing us from our bondage to sin. But He also showed us how to experience the life God originally created us to live, life in God’s Kingdom. He gave a physical, visible and audible demonstration of the life you and I were meant to live.
And how was He able to do that? In our (re)Think seminars, many will answer me that it was because He is God. That may be a good “Sunday School” answer, but was it simply because Jesus was God in the flesh? Was it just because He was all-powerful, all-knowing, etc.? If so, then you and I have no chance, this side of heaven, to experience the life Jesus talks about.
When we think that Jesus was able to live the life He did just because He is God then we encounter a major ramification. It means that Jesus calls us to a life that He really can’t give us, that we can never experience because we aren’t God. And to think this way ignores so many things Jesus said about the life God offers through Him.
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” John 14:12
In short, thinking that Jesus operated only from His “God-ness” means one of two things. Either Jesus is a liar, OR we are missing something, and we need to rethink our “Sunday School” answer. I submit it is the latter.
What made Jesus unique was NOT that He was God, but rather that as a man He only said what His Father gave Him to say and He only did what His Father showed Him to do. He showed us what it looks like for a man to continually walk in the Light, to walk in the Spirit, to walk by faith and not by sight. In short, as a man, He saw and lived life from God’s point of view.
In our next blog, let’s look more closely into seeing things from God’s point of view.