Once a week, or so, I take Samuel and Jonas to a park to talk with them about various things concerning integrity, honor, and following Christ. I figured that one of the greatest privileges and responsibilities of parents is to call out identity in their children. So while Samuel and Jonas affectionately refer to this weekly time as “man class”, I just call it being a father.
On one particular day a few months ago, I asked the boys this question, “If God made Man in His own image, then what does it mean to be a man (or woman)?”
Jonas tilted his head and squinted his a eyes a little. “To be like God“, he said.
God, in love, created us in His image to receive and reveal the greatness of that love. And all though that identity was set by His will, it’s purpose and significance was to be revealed and lived out through the process of relationship with Him. But sin entered the picture, and mankind was torn from the source of our identity and from the relationship that filled it–filled us–with purpose and significance.
But before that happened, even before He spoke the world into creation, God had purposed within Himself to adopt us as His own children through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1). So in His wisdom and love, He satisfied both our need for redemption and His purpose for our adoption through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And now, because of our unity with Christ, the Father has put His Spirit inside of us, distinguishing us as His own special people–His children.
Once upon a time, a tent–made by the hands of men, and purified by the blood of animals–hosted an ark that carried the stone tablets of the law of God. It was here that God’s presence dwelled. Now children–made by the hands of God, and purified by the blood of His Son–have been given hearts upon which God writes His law. If He has written His law on our hearts, then our lives have now become His ark. It is here that He dwells by His Spirit.
This unity, this identity in Christ, is not just why we were created…I would dare say that it is why anything and everything was created. All life, all truth is in Jesus Christ. And the Father was pleased to unite everything in heaven and earth in Him (Colossians 1).
So then, if our whole identity is in Jesus Christ, then the whole purpose and significance of our being is to become like Him. Because it is not belief in Christ that marks us as His followers. It is becoming like Him…becoming like Him in the midst of the very thing that we were created for–deep and profound intimacy with God.