Looking at some of the recent reports hitting the news it seems that an increasing number of Christians are intent on making God in their own image after their own likeness.
To do that of course we must follow this world in making much of ourselves, our thoughts, our feelings, our wants etc.. “If this is how I feel, how I was made, it can’t be wrong.”
Secondly we find that we must reinterpret the Word, suggest that it doesn’t really mean what it says in order to justify our new understanding of ourselves, and the world we live in. The text, so it goes, no longer means what we thought it did but something quite different. In fact as the argument unrolls it turns out to be not so God-breathed after all as the people who wrote it were people of limited understanding and didn’t know what we do today.
Thirdly, if that doesn’t work then call anyone who disagrees unloving, judgmental and if necessary bigoted.
None of this, however and to whatever it is applied, conforms us to the image of God, but rather God to our own image, with the result that we get the God we want, the God who most suits the ‘I’ of the present generation, even the ‘I’ of the Christian – a God without boundaries, a freely, unconditionally loving, easy going, never troubling, not so awesome God who would never say ‘no’.
The problem is that that is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is Awesome (an overused word, that really applies to God), is utterly Holy and totally pure in Love. His holiness infuses his love and his love infuses his holiness, they are perfectly intermingled, and are never acted out independently. Such holiness and love caused men and women to hide from Him or fall on their knees before Him. It was not easy for humanity to approach God. It was not easy for God to approach humanity – the Old Testament unpacks that. Such holiness and love ultimately demanded the coming of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, to live here, in this flesh, in this broken world, and be tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin, then die on a cross at the hands of those he loved and created in order to undo and put right the mess of sin, sin in all it’s colours and shades, the big ones and the small ones.
The Bible still calls sin, sin. It doesn’t soften it’s word. It calls them by name. Sin hasn’t changed. And the solution is still the same.
It speaks of a wonderful and sufficient Saviour who both saves and sanctifies.
It speaks of the gift of the Spirit, given that we might live in newness of life, lives that are transformed and being transformed into his likeness.
As Paul says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor anyone who practices homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God..” 2 Cor. 6:9-11.
Such were some of you, BUT. Praise God for the ‘but’! It changes everything!
They were, but now by God’s grace they are not, not what they used to be. They have been cleansed, sanctified, justified in the name of Jesus and by the Spirit. They are new creations. By the Spirit they can now put to death the deeds of the flesh, and say yes to righteousness. They are being remade in the image of God.