I’m not sure if I’ve blogged about it, but I often speak about the reality that God wants His people to bear His image to the watching world. In fact, I think this is one of the reasons that God is so jealous for His image; He has taken no form other than us and in Messiah we are to reflect His image to the world.
The way we become accurate reflecters is, having been justified, we subsequently grow in sanctification, imitating with ever more accuracy our Lord Jesus Christ (“Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children.” Eph 5:1).
A young child imitates his parents by watching them. I’ve seen a picture from my childhood that left a significant impression on me. I must be 3 or 4 years old and my dad is standing at the bathroom mirror shaving, while I’m standing on the toilet lid next to him also scraping shaving cream off my face with an empty razor.
The question is how do we “watch” God in order to imitate Him? The answer is His commandments. The church has universally taken the position that the Law of God is the expression of His character, and as such when we obey the laws of God, we imitate His character. When we read the Gospels we see an example of God incarnate walking out His laws in a fully human yet fully divine manner. This is what it means for Jesus to have “fulfilled” the law. First, Jesus embodied the law, secondly He lived according to it perfectly. This is the example we are to “watch” and imitate. Follow Jesus and labor to keep the law in the same manner as He did.
I was tickled this morning to run across a verse that makes this entire concept explicit. Psalm 105 is a recounting of the wondrous deeds of God on behalf of His people. It ends with an explanation of God’s purpose in working on our behalf:
So he brought his people out with joy; his chosen ones with singing.
And he gave them the lands of the nations,
And they took possession of the fruit of the people’s toil,
That they might keep his statutes and observe his laws.
Praise the LORD!
(Psalm 105:44-45 ESV)
Did you notice the significance? The psalmist tells us that God did all these wondrous deeds “in order that” His people might keep his statutes and observe his laws! Why is that our mission? Because when we imitate/reflect God’s image we will be a “city set on a hill.”