Excerpt from Unconditional: Liberated by Love, Chapter 5
When I was a kid, we had a dog named Monroe. He was just a little black mutt with a white patch on his chest. There was nothing special about him from the outside, but he had heart. He thought he was part of the family; and he was. But he literally thought he was our sibling born to Mom and Dad. It didn’t take him long to become too good for Gravy Train. We even fed that guy “dog ice cream,” but Monroe eventually turned his nose up to that, too. Why? Because someone started feeding him table scraps, even real ice cream at times, and he learned what he had been missing. Monroe would have sat at the head of the table to eat from a china plate with silverware if we had let him. But we did have some boundaries. He often became depressed when we sent him away from the dinner table while we were eating. It was his reminder that he truly was just our dog.
I am happy to tell you that neither you nor I are looked upon as the family dog in God’s eyes! Things are different now than when the Gentile woman begged Jesus to deliver her daughter and He said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs” (Matthew 15:26). When Jesus went to the cross and performed His greatest miracle through the resurrection, He did it to elevate us from “dog-under-the-picnic-table” status to “children-at-the-banqueting-table” status. We are not orphan children who have been taken in as foster kids by a half-hearted, Good Samaritan God. We are not God’s step-kids with a stepbrother named Jesus who tries to remind us we are only half-breeds. We have literally been born into the blood family of God and are as equally His legitimate children as Jesus Christ Himself. In Christ, we have been adopted; but furthermore, we have been born again.
It was a big deal when God pronounced over Jesus that He was His beloved Son in whom He was well-pleased. He was revealing to the world exactly who Jesus was.
Colossians 1:15 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” If Jesus was the firstborn, then it means there were others born of God after Him. That includes you and me! Jesus told Nicodemus that “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). We have “been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). We have been born again in spirit, and the Creator of the universe is our Daddy, just the same as He is to Jesus. His name is Yahweh. He has spoken this enduring word over us, and it is an imperishable promise.
He gave us His blood, not only redeeming us from the corruption of sin, but also bestowing to us His DNA. We are, in effect, children of a divine nature. “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers (partners) of the divine nature…” (2 Peter 1:4).
Romans 8:29 says, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.” If God has predestined us to be conformed into the image of Jesus, and He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), then that means God has chosen to imprint His image into us.
We already knew this though, didn’t we? When God created man, He said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). You and I were created in the image of God. So why then do we have the tendency to follow after Adam and Eve’s mistake? That same old crafty snake Jesus dealt with came also to them in the garden to tempt them into eating from the forbidden tree. He coerced, “God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).
Somehow in the heat of the moment of counterfeit bliss, they allowed satan’s words to drown out the word which God had spoken over them. They became deceived and actually believed they needed to do something in order to become like God. To become like something essentially means that it is a separate entity which is identical to the other. In trying to become equal to God, they had to detach in order to attempt to match. But God had already created them in His image. They were one with Him…that is, up until this sad point of disconnection and self-achievement.
Thankfully, we are under a New Covenant by which Jesus has redeemed (purchased at full price and restored) us back to the state of the union God always intended for mankind. Now through Jesus Christ and His free gift of grace, we have been reconciled back to God. We are not separated but unified with Him again. It is to our detriment to think we need to do something to become like God in nature. He has already done it all in us, and we can just rest in who we are: God’s kids.
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