One of my favorite passages of scripture is John 17 where Jesus is praying just before he went to the cross. It reveals so much about him and the Father. In verse 22 Jesus says he has given us the glory that the father had given him, and because of that, we can be one as they are one. His glory was the very image of the Father, i.e.…Jesus had said, “if you have seen me, you have seen the father”. John 1:14 says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Jesus was a perfect picture (glory) of the father for us to see. It was the Father’s life in the son that was seen, it was the power to overcome.
“ As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:2-3)
Jesus said that life eternal was to KNOW God and Jesus Christ whom he sent. Jesus Christ was eternal life manifested for the world to see. These things cannot be understood in the fleshly realm, with our human reasoning, wisdom or understanding…they are only spiritually discerned. There has only been one man that was worthy to show us the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, any other “version” is a false "god". If you say you have eternal life, then you will know God because of his son . This eternal life it is the way God chose to reveal him self to us, it is the glory of the Father and the glory of the Son. “Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:16,18)
This is our hope, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:" (Colossians 1:27)
Jesus said in John 17:22 that he gave us his glory (image), Romans 8:29 says we are to be conformed into his image, 1st John 2: 6 says we can walk as he walked. It is the mystery that Paul spoke of “Christ in us, the hope of Glory”. The same way Jesus had the Glory of the Father in him, we can have the Glory of the Son.
And with that 2nd Corinthians 3:18 makes so much more sense to us, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
As we grow in him, our very nature is being changed from Glory to Glory to reflect the image of Christ by the working of the Holy Spirit in us. 2 Peter 1:4 says we can be partakers of this divine nature. This is completely a work of the Holy Spirit in us. We can not change our nature, no matter how much we try; we will only make a mess of it. The only thing we can do is submit to him, pick up our cross and follow him. Considering ourselves to have been bought with a price, we are no longer our own, we have no “rights” apart from following the Lord. We now live for God and not man. (1 Peter 4:2) “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” The disciples had given up all to follow the Lord and he gave them power to become Sons of God.
The just shall live by faith! We have been crucified with Christ; we longer live our own life, the life we now live is Christ and we live it by the faith of the Son of God. (Gal 2:20) Without faith it is impossible to please God. We have faith that God will perfect us and bring us into the very image of Christ just as he said he would do. That is the only hope we have to please God, anything we try to do in our own strength is of the flesh and NO flesh will glory.
Have you ever tried to live as Jesus said to live? For instances, the beatitudes or for that matter the whole "sermon on the mount” is a pretty high water mark to try and live out day by day. We try to accomplish this to the best of our abilities and many times God will let us go along for quite some time until we have come to the end of ourselves and to the end of our strength. Then... when we are weak, he can be strong! Let us not receive the grace of God in vain. All the things Jesus said for us to do will be evident in us as his divine nature starts working in us, not through our own strength but through his. Let us not frustrate the grace of God by not allowing this work to be done in us. The beatitudes are the results of this new nature that Christ is forming in us.
When we begin to manifest the nature of Christ in us we will KNOW it was not done by our own efforts and “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:9) That is why the Lord will let us struggle along in our own efforts failing time and again until we become hopeless in our own strength. As long as we have some confidence in ourselves, we cannot surrender to the Lord, this is the “self righteousness” that God hates. And again, let us not frustrate the grace of God by then falling back on the false gospel that says, “Grace is there hide our sins, there is no way we can be perfect in this life, we have to wait until we get to heaven for that”. But 2 Timothy 3:17 says, “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
This is a process; we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Just as God led the Israelites into the promise land, they did not have to face all their enemies at one time, but little by little, battle by battle more of the enemy was defeated and more land was taken. God will not put more on us than we can handle. But as he brings up more that needs to be removed, we are to submit, obey and most of all BELIEVE that he is able to remove it from us. The just shall live by this faith!
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)