by Brian G. Bettes
Every boy looks up to his father, and when he is young, wants to be just like him. I believe that is something that God placed into boys. Boys want to be like their father, and girls want to be like their mother. Unfortunately, as boys become young men, and girls become young ladies, all too often they don’t want to emulate their parents. Why is that? Because Satan is trying to destroy the family, and because as humans we are imperfect.
Many parents today aren’t good role models, or are the role models of the wrong things, and thus emulating our parents may or may not help us. But like it or not, we still turn out to be a lot like our parents. In today’s world, which belongs to Satan, this can be either good or bad. But from a Biblical perspective, God intends that, once we become one of His children, we are to emulate Him.
Consider these words from Jesus who said, “If you had known me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” When pressed further to see the Father by Philip, He said, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’” (John 14:7-9)?
Jesus made it clear that He and the Father were one during His stay here on earth. He also requested of the Father that His followers, including us, would be one with Them during our stay here on earth (John 17:20-21). But notice why He wanted us to be one with Him and our Father, “…that the world may know that You have sent Me, and loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:23).
One of Jesus’ responsibilities while walking among men was to reveal to the world the Father (Luke 10:22); which He did (John 17:4, 6-8). If that was Jesus’ responsibility while on earth, and we now have the same Father, and we are to follow in His footsteps (1 Peter 2:21), what do you suppose our responsibility is now that we know the Father (John 17:18)?
When silver is refined to its purest state it produces a perfect image of the refiner on the surface. This is how the refiner knows that there are no longer any impurities, called dross, left in the silver. We are told that, because we are the sons of God, we are to purify ourselves as He is pure (1 John 3:2-3). The apostle Peter admonishes us to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). Jesus told us that we are to become perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48).
All of this indicates that we are to reflect the same holiness, the same righteousness that our Father is…note I did not say has, but IS! Our Father is righteousness and holiness. That is the “stuff” that He is made of. It is not just something that he has, like a possession that one owns. There is a difference. Is this what we are becoming? Are we becoming pure as He is pure?
At creation, God did not give animals any responsibility except to multiply (Genesis1:22). On the other hand, mankind was given three responsibilities:
- be fruitful, multiply, replenish, and subdue the earth;
- have dominion over the animal life (Genesis 1:28);
- dress and keep the Garden (Genesis 2:15).
Animals were not given these responsibilities. Though they were to multiply, they were not given the responsibility, or even the capability, to subdue (tread down, subjugate), have dominion over (rule), or “dress and keep” (maintain) the earth. That is because animals were created for a different purpose than man.
We were created in God’s image, or resemblance (Genesis 1:26-27). But “looking like” Him (head, hair, eyes, mouth, arms, hands, chest, torso, legs, feet) is not the only likeness we bear of Him (Revelation 1:13-16 and many verses in Daniel and Ezekiel give a description of God’s form.) In addition, we were given a spirit that no other created creature on earth has—the power of intellect, or as some call it, the spirit in man (Job 32:8). This spirit gives us the ability to think, reason, gather information, evaluate that information, make decisions, plan, design, and build. In short, we were given, on a limited physical basis, God’s ability to create.
No animal on earth can design a house, or a building, or a city, much less build it once it has been designed. No animal can think and reason the way man can. That ability—that power of intellect—is unique to mankind, and it is a part of what it means to be made “in the image of God.” However, even with that special capability, we are not complete.
Mankind was created to become the very Sons of God, just as Jesus is the Son of God (Romans 8:16-17; 1 John 3:2). But for that to happen, man needed yet another Spirit. When God created man, He gave him the spirit of intellect, and along with it, free will. What does that mean? It means man can make his own decisions on how to live. However, God also gave him a choice. Adam and Eve could choose to live God’s way, or they could choose to follow Satan (Genesis 2:16-17). We all know that story, and we all know what they chose to do, don’t we?
God never at any point gave mankind the authority to determine what is right and what is wrong. Those determinations have been left solely in the realm of God. However, man, influenced by Satan, decided to try to take that authority upon himself (Genesis 3:17), just as Satan tried to do once before (Isaiah 14:13). The result of that one bad decision has caused innumerable mountains of grief for mankind ever since.
But God, knowing mankind would make that mistake, had created a way out for him (1 Peter 1:18-20). Once Jesus Christ came, through repentance from living a life against God, acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice in place of the death penalty that is the sentence for sin, baptism as a symbol of burying the old way of life (“the old/former, man”), and the laying on of hands (Hebrews 6:1-2), mankind could receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. Upon these conditions, God places His Spirit within a repentant believer (Acts 2:37-39).
That Spirit is a part of God Himself. Just like a human male sperm cell is a part of the father from whom it came, the Holy Spirit is a tiny part of God Himself (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). It is then, and only then, that the believer can start to understand, think, and little-by-little, act like God (1 Corinthians 2:9-14). The Holy Spirit begins to transfer to us the Divine Nature of the one and only Holy God (2 Peter 1:3-4). Over a lifetime of surrender, as God begins to test the heart through fiery trials, the continuously repentant believer can be more and more refined to think and act like our Father, just as Jesus did in the flesh (1 Peter 4:12-13). As God refines us, eradicating the “dross” of sin from our lives by surrendering to Him more and more, like the silver, we become purer and purer each day (Psalm 66:10).
For us to be a part of His Family, God must be satisfied that we will want to only live as He lives, with no thought or desire for anything else. He must be satisfied that pure righteousness, which is what He is, is what we want for all of eternity (1 John 3:3). So only when He can “see His own reflection” in us, will we be ready to take on that incredibly awesome position of responsibility in His Family. God is composed of pure righteousness, and anyone who will be a part of His Family must also be composed of pure righteousness. As the Refiner, He is the only One who knows for certain when we are “finished.”
The Bible says that Jesus is the “brightness of glory,” and, “the express image” of the Father (Hebrews 1:3). He is our example and we are to follow in His footsteps (1 Peter 2:21). As we become closer to our Father through Jesus our brother; and as we are refined by God to become more like Him, others should be able to see Him emanating out from us more each day. As Jesus said about Himself, we should be getting closer to being able to say, “If you have seen me, you have seen my Father.” As we draw closer to God by allowing His Spirit to live in and through us, we should be showing the face our Father!