Starting to Look the Same
Sometimes when a couple has been married a long time, someone might make the comment, “They are starting to look more and more like each other.” We certainly see that among families. Obviously there are often outward physical features that make brothers and sisters look very similar. But there are also other features that are learned growing up as many times siblings, and Mom and Dad, will smile in a similar fashion or respond in a similar way. Sometimes someone will say to me about one of my boys, “Boy, you can sure tell he is an Ottaway.”
In the book of Ephesians, Paul says this to the believers, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph. 4:1-6).
Paul teaches in verse 4 that there is one body and one Spirit. This is a hard teaching to those in our society today. We usually learn from a very young age that we are individuals. Even as Christians we can struggle with this. We receive Christ as Saviour and Lord, and then place a huge significance on our own personal growth; this becomes the most important thing for us. Although this is true, there is much more in the Scriptures which we do not want to miss. When Jesus taught His disciples, He said in John 17:11, “And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” This was our Lord’s joy and desire, that we would be one. Later He says this to His Father, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.” (John 17:22)
When we receive Christ, we do make a personal commitment to Him, but this is only the start. Jesus’ desire was that we would become one. Whatever former teaching we may have had, whatever former church or denomination we may have attended, whatever nationality we may be, or wherever we may have come from; the direction of the church is understanding that we are now one in Christ. This does not water-down doctrine, but it emphasizes doctrine, bringing us to a better understanding of the truth. Every true born-again believer is indwelt with the Holy Spirit (1 Cor.3:16), and part of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is making us more and more into the image of Christ, the process of sanctification. Paul teaches that there is only one Spirit, and therefore the reason that we can be one as believers is because we are indwelt by the same Spirit.
As we are being sanctified and growing together in Christ as a body, we are becoming more and more like our Saviour. In other words, we should start to look very similar. Paul finishes verse 4 saying that this is the hope of your calling. The hope of Christ-like perfection, which is our ultimate state, will be the result when we are glorified in eternity. But even today, though we may be differently gifted, involved in different ministries, and serving in different areas, in a very real sense we ought to start looking like each other. We are being changed into a people who are more humble, showing more gentleness, being more patient, and becoming more loving. In other words, we are becoming more and more like our Saviour and Lord. This is His prayer and desire for us!
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