Romans 8:29

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.


Observation – What does it say?

In this portion of the letter that Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, he is telling them about how their lives should be different now that they are Christians. He talks about living lives controlled by the Spirit of God instead of our sinful nature and about what it means that we are children of God. Among all the beautiful and wonderful implications of being children of God – being heirs of God and a heavenly kingdom, being free from our old life, having a future hope, and the ways God loves and fights for us as his children – Paul points out that God has a purpose for every one of his children: To transform us into the image of Jesus.


Understanding – What does it mean?

Christlikeness is God’s goal for every Christian.

Being formed into the image of Christ means we will look like him.  Obviously not physically. I don’t know any Christians who started looking more like a Jewish man the longer they had been saved. Being formed into Christ’s image means we resemble his character – His love and humility, his joy and his gentleness.
God is more concerned with the kind of person we are becoming than any specific things we might do ‘for’ him. Although God has prepared good works in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10), the ultimate destination for every Christian isn’t a position or title or ministry role. Rather, the ultimate destination God has in mind has to do with character. And journeying toward this destination is a lifelong process. None of us are perfect yet. None of us completely resemble Jesus. We cant fall into the trap of setting false finish lines based on comparing ourselves with others who are less mature or with who we used to be. Being like Christ is the goal, not being better than we were or better than someone else. This “conforming into the image of his Son” is something God will be doing in each of us as long as there is breath in our lungs. 


Life Application

Do I look more like Jesus today than I did before God saved me? If the answer is no, I would doubt that I am in fact saved.

Do I look more like Jesus today than I did a year ago? …a month ago? …a week ago? How is my growth? Have I slowed in my transformation or can I point to recent evidence that God is continuing to transform me?

God, I am reminded that there is so much room that I have to grow. Please have your way in me. In the areas my growth has slowed I invite you to go to work. I want to look more like Jesus, to resemble his perfect character, to be holy, to love unconditionally, to be a servant of all. I surrender to you. Amen.

-Levi Thompson