My friends, God, by his Spirit, is at work restoring his likeness in you, the way it once was in Eden, except even better. Adam and Eve gave their allegiance to the serpent instead of God. But when the image of God is fully restored in you, affection for and adoration of God will consume you. Old ways of always thinking of yourself first will be gone for good so that you will finally be able to love God and others in sincerity, purity, and harmony.
If you are in Christ, you will be part of a kingdom of priests to our God and will reign on the earth (Rev. 5:10). Because you will have been made holy through and through, you won’t be tempted to dominate or oppress or abuse or exploit. Your rule with Christ over the new creation will look just like your heavenly Father’s rule over all things—perfect in righteousness and justice.
The day is coming when people will know who you are just by looking at you. You won’t even have to introduce yourself. They’ll see that you are all you were meant to be and that you are doing all you were meant to do. Your face will radiate the glory of God himself, and your days will be filled with ruling over all he has made. Your heart and motives will be perfectly pure. Your thoughts and actions will be completely wise. They’re going to say that you look like your heavenly Father, that you have a strong resemblance to your heavenly brother, and that clearly, the Spirit’s work in you is complete—you’ve been fully remade in the image of God. But if you do want to introduce yourself, it might sound something like this:
I could give you the name my parents gave to me when I was born on the old earth under the old order, but that name simply doesn’t define me anymore. I’m still me, but my identity is now so thoroughly defined by Christ that my old name just doesn’t seem able to communicate who I am (Rev. 2:17; 3:12). What a relief to be fully myself, yet not full of myself.
I’ve got to tell you that I wish I could talk to my old self, back when I was living under the old order. I would want to tell the earthbound me to look up, look ahead! You think your life is defined by the body you see when you look in the mirror, and the job you have or don’t have, or by the titles after your name. But it isn’t. Who you are is most profoundly about who Christ is and who the Spirit is making you to be. Your sense of identity is being shaped by your sense of being made in his image. But more than that, it is being shaped by your anticipation of being remade in his glorious image!
On the days when you are doing the lowliest of tasks, on the days when you feel invisible and insignificant, on the days when you compare yourself to everyone around you who seems to be doing far more significant things with their lives, take stock of who you really are, because you are united to Christ, the King.
When you know that you are seated with him in heavenly places, you will be able to lower yourself to do the most (seemingly) menial tasks and go to the most needful of places to give yourself away. When you know that the righteousness of Christ defines you now and into eternity, shame over your sin won’t have the power to shape how you see yourself.
Remember how Paul wrote that “in the coming ages” God intended to “show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7)? I’ve got to go now because the show is starting. But you can follow me on Twitter. Just look for my bio, which reads: “Redeemed, righteous, royal inhabitant of heaven. Foreknown. Predestined to be and now fully conformed to the image of Christ. Called. Justified. Glorified. #nomoretears #myfuturessobrightIgottawearshades #thisiswaybetterthanEden.”
Editor’s note: Content taken from Even Better than Eden: Nine Ways the Bible’s Story Changes Everything about Your Story by Nancy Guthrie, ©2018. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187, www.crossway.org.
Learn more about God’s future plan to restore his creation in All Things New: Rediscovering the Four-Chapter Gospel.
Join us! Help empower Christians to transform the world through their work. Support IFWE today.