6. God Commands - Be Just Like God
Being like God is being kind to one another. Being like God in its centrality, in its essence, in its purity, is being tenderhearted. Forgiving one another, loving, giving ourselves for one another. There is no greater expression of the heart of God than these words. We are never more like God than when we are kind, when we are tenderhearted, especially when it is not deserved, when it is a response to those who have treated us unkindly.
6. God Commands - Be Just Like God
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
With the mouth confession is made to being conformed to the image of Jesus, His image revealed through us.
God has not left us in this life to meander around, wandering how His word is to be fulfilled in our lives. God has a clear way set for us to follow. There is a path from where we are right now to where God sees us to be in our finished state.
The New Testament commands us to be just like God, over and over in the "just as" verses. Be just like God is a commandment. How can we fulfil such a commandment? By performance, by obligation? "Well, I have to do it because God said I have to do it and if I don't do it, it's obvious I don't love Him"?
So many dear believers get caught in a trap of performance, outward obedience to God - "All that the Lord says, we will do." All of that is trying to come at God from out of the tree of knowledge. There is no life in it. God has a clear path to life; that path is Christ.
First we must hear what He speaks. Many believers read right over the verses they don't believe. "That doesn't belong to me, it's for over in heaven somewhere, or it's for some other person, but it certainly isn't talking about me." They do not hear what God is saying.
But God does not speak His words for us to figure out, to fit into doctrine, to define. God speaks His words for us to hear and to believe. For with the heart one believes what God speaks. We speak what God speaks. When God speaks, He is always speaking out of His view of us as we really are, just like Jesus.
There is the thought in the person who is performing obedience, "If I just try hard enough, I will become what God wants. I will get there; I will make it." That very thought is what destroys the life of Christ. The moment a person thinks,"I will do it," they have separated themselves from God and are living in the lie. There is no faith in separation from God.
Faith sees what God sees. Faith has its eyes on God, on the finished work. When I obey what God speaks, that is simply who I am. I am the person who loves with God's love. The love of God overflows within my heart. It doesn't matter what I feel, or what my natural eye sees. I do not walk by sight, I walk by faith. I walk by what God says about me, who I am.
It is normal for me to love, it doesn't matter if I don't feel like loving. I love because I am love, and a fountain of love flows out of my heart. Sometimes I don't "feel" like a loving person, but that feeling is just a figment of my imagination - that I don't feel like loving. That is false imagination. I am one who loves.
In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Col. 2:9-10
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead (you have already died, the part of you that needed to die is dead), and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4
Christ is our life. What I feel at the present moment in this earthly state, in this womb of development, is not who I am. When I want to know who I am, I look at Christ because Christ is my life. He appears as me in this world.
I confess with my mouth the Lord Jesus; I confess with my mouth who I am. I am love, love is in me, and God loves others through me.
Then Paul talks about putting to death our members that are on the earth. Later in this volume, I want to talk specifically about what that means - the role of the body in our transformation into the image of Jesus Christ.
Do not lie to one another, since you have (already) put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created Him (we are transformed into His image by seeing Him as He is in us), where there is neither Greek nor Jew . . . but Christ is all and in all. Colossians 3:9-11
Sometimes, to get at the heart of a sentence, we remove in-between phrases. In verse 11 Paul makes this claim. "Christ is all in me." Christ is all there is in me!
When I look at me I see Christ. Christ is all there is; there is nothing else.
Christ fulfilled all obedience; Christ in me is the one who obeys the Father. My life is hid with Christ in God. That is who I am. I confess with my mouth the Lord Jesus. He is who I am. My obedience is the obedience of faith. I do not obey in order to become, I obey because I am. I love because I am love.
Outward obedience pleases no one. The Father is pleased only by faith.
Let's look at several more of the "just as" verses in the New Testament that tell us how we are just like Jesus. We will not look at all of them, there are many.
In John 20, right after the resurrection of Jesus as He comes into the upper room to meet again with the disciples, Jesus says to them, As the Father has sent me, I also send you.
Just as the Father sent me, in exactly the same way, so I send you.
There is a whole lot of meaning inside that statement.
Jesus was sent by the Father to seek and to save what is lost. We are sent by Jesus to seek and to save what is lost. Jesus was sent by the Father to show us what the Father is like, we are sent by Jesus to show others what Jesus is like.
The Father sent Jesus to overcome, to defeat death and the evil one and sin in this world. Jesus sends us to overcome, to defeat death, to defeat this world system that stands in opposition to God, to defeat the accuser, to cast his voice down. Jesus sends us that God might crush Satan under our feet.
Jesus was sent by God to show us the Father. We contain all the fullness of God that God might move through us and be seen in us. God is invisible, He wants to be revealed. Just as Jesus was sent to seek and to save what was lost, so God flows out of us in a river of living water, the Holy Spirit healing and bringing life to everyone we touch. Just as Jesus came into this world to defeat the enemies of God, so He sent us to fulfil and bring to completion His purpose and mission.
And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be followers (imitators - KJV) of God as dear children. And walk in love as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us . . . Ephesians 4:32-5:2
In that short passage, on either side of "be imitators of God" we have two of the "just as" verses. We are to forgive just as God forgave us, and we are to love just as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. This is the heart of God. These words reverberate more deeply who God is than any others. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted. With these words, God is showing us who He really is.
Being like God is being kind to one another. Being like God in its centrality, its essence, its purity, is being tender-hearted. Forgiving one another, loving, giving ourselves for one another. There is no greater expression of the heart of God than these words. We are never more like God than when we are tenderhearted, especially when it is not deserved, given to those who have treated us unkindly.
But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. 1 Peter 1:15
Here again, we could so easily fall into the satanic definition of God: God is an outward performer, and He is interested in outward performance. That is how our enemy views God. Sadly, he tricks so many Christians into that same definition. Seeing God as a miser, seeing God as being on their case, out to trip them up, out to prove that they are, after all, selfish. Even worse, Satan has taught foolish Christians to see God's expectations as an outward performance that they then force on other believers, causing them to live out of a mask of falseness, completely separate from God.
They try hard to please God in outward performance. Being sure they go to church all the time, being sure they refrain from doing outward things that are objectionable. Controlling and manipulating other believers in this hideous dance of outward masks and untrue faces. Very zealous in an external means. That is NOT what the word "holy" means.
The word "holy" speaks of a vessel, a cup, maybe, that is dedicated to a particular god. This cup is for the service of this god and for its temple, not to be used for any other purpose. Holy is not talking about external performance. Holy is devotion, the devotion of the heart.
Be holy for I am holy. Be devoted to me, son, for I am devoted to you.
If we believe in our heart that God does not like us, that God is out to prove we are selfish and deceitful, then we will not come close to Him as He desires. We cannot please Him.
Only when we surrender to His devotion to us can we in turn devote our hearts utterly to Him. Why would I pull away from the things of this world? I run towards Him because He is good, and the things of this world fade into meaninglessness because the more I am devoted to His goodness, to His devotion to me, the more everything else means nothing to me. He fills me and I love Him. I live in His devotion to me, and He lives in my devotion to Him.
Christian life is a life of devotion, a life of love, of communion between a son and a Father. Should we mess up, making mistakes from time to time, it doesn't affect the liking of the Father and His devotion to us. We arise from such mistakes, knowing that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
I walk knowing that His blood cleanses me.
Our hearts are devoted to Him because we know that He is devoted to us.
Be holy for I am holy. It comes from the inside out. Always, always, always, if you find yourself trying to work on the outside, on your flesh, understand that is how Satan works. God always works from the inside out. External force, external performance or obligation is never from God; it is always Satan's counterfeit. God works from the devotion of the heart.
But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 1 John 2:5-6
We walk in this world just as Jesus walked. How did Jesus walk? Jesus walked in fellowship with His Father; He walked in the full confidence of the power of the Holy Spirit inside of him. He knew He didn't have to produce miracles. All He did was speak and the river of life that was in Him flowed out of Him. The Holy Spirit did the work, bringing healing and life. He walked in utter dependence upon the Father, in one Spirit with the Father. He trusted in God.
Jesus was not a part of this world or of the institutions of this world. He had no quarrel with the powers of this world, with the Roman Empire, per se. He did have a quarrel with human manipulation and control. He had a quarrel with those who presented God in a false image, one who controls from the outside in, one who demands an outward performance.
Jesus himself delighted in people. He loved people; He loved to be with people. He loved to see the joy light up in their eyes as a hope and a future that they had lost all hope in suddenly became real for them. Blind eyes open, "My God, I can see. I never hoped that I could see."
We could write books about what it means to walk as Jesus walked. This is who I am. But we don't walk like Him by figuring out how He walked and trying to do it. It begins with the love of God inside of me. It begins with seeing and confessing and believing myself as I really am, that I am just like Him. I walk as Jesus walked, not because I am trying to imitate Him in some external way, but because that is who I am. I am simply being who I am. Should I fall flat on my face in the mud, should I blow it, I get up, I look to Jesus, and I keep on walking.
Whatever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that overcomes the world, - our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5
The life inside of me is the very life of God. My life is hid with Christ in God. When He who is my life appears, I am with Him and like Him. When I look at myself, I see Christ. Out of that faith I walk as Jesus walked, I overcome the world. I am conceived of God. The genes of God are inside me, part of my makeup, who I am. The seed of the woman is faith, faith that receives the word God speaks with joy and believes it and believes it and believes that what God said MUST BE! I don't need to get rid of it by putting it off to heaven somewhere far away from me. I know that every word God speaks must be fulfilled in me.
We never think, "I'm not sure, maybe I won't make it." No, we are partakers of Christ if we keep the beginning of our confidence firm until the end. I cast that voice down. I believe that what God said about me must be so. I hold to it. I hold to no other. I believe what He said.
To Him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with me on my throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Revelation 3:21
This is beyond what we can comprehend. This word is a word to believe. We overcome just as Jesus overcame. We overcome death just as Jesus overcame death. We overcome the accuser, the liar, the deceiver, just as Jesus overcame him. We overcome the systems of this world, cast them down, see the kingdoms and the systems and the governments of this world fall into ruin.
We are not friends of this world system. My God, we are part of a kingdom that God has placed in this world to bring that whole mess down! We do not use the instruments of this world; we do not fight with the weapons of this world. We are not against people. We are against the system that controls and manipulates people.
To Him who overcomes just as I overcame, I will grant to sit with me on My throne in the same way that I sat down with My Father on His throne.
This place of ruling is a throne of love. It is a throne of love, of kindness, of tenderheartedness. It is the throne of God; it is our own heart.
And I saw thrones and they sat on them and judgment was committed to them. Revelation 20:4
He who overcomes shall inherit all things and I will be His God and he shall be My son. Revelation 21:7
This is salvation. This is the goal of the believer. This is our destiny: to be this son, seated upon God's throne, the heir of all that God is.
This is our destiny; it's within our reach. This is who we are.