In Romans 3:23, Paul tells us that when we sin we “fall short of the glory of God.” One way to look at that is to say this: when we sin, we fail to be like God. We fail to emulate His nature and character. In the beginning man was created perfect like God. But man failed to follow in God’s image and therefore fell short of His glory.
We are in need of changing our sinful selves back into God’s image. When we become a Christian, we make a commitment to God that we are going to get rid of our old selves and live the rest of our lives in His image. Consider the following:
Ephesians 4:22-24 – “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Colossians 3:9-10 – “you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.”
Seeing then that we are to put off our old selves and be renewed in the image and likeness of our Creator, Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:1 that we are to be “imitators of God, as beloved children.” In what ways are we to be imitating God and living in His likeness? Here are a few to start with: We are to IMITATE…
God’s LOVE – John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7-12; Ephesians 5:2
God’s MERCY – Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13
God’s HOLINESS – 1 Peter 1:14-19; Hebrews 12:10, 14
God’s COMFORT – 2 Corinthians 1:3-11; 1 Corinthians 12:25-26
God’s FELLOWSHIP – Romans 15:1-7
God’s UNITY – Ephesians 4:1-6; John 17:14
Jesus’ OBEDIENCE – John 15:10
Jesus’ SERVITUDE – John 13:15
When people see us, do they see us imitating God in these ways?
Paul says in Romans 12:1-2 – “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
If we imitate God in this life, then we will “imitate” God in eternity – “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the Man of Heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:49) & “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure” (1 John 3:1-3).