How does the gospel play into being conformed to the image of Christ? Are we conformed by our efforts of study and prayer and other works? If we fail, do we simply have to confess our failure then double down and try harder next time? What is God after in us anyway?
What Conformed is Not Primarily…
Conformed is not primarily about character, our behaviors. It involves this, but this is not what conformed to the image of Christ is primarily concerned with.
Conformed is also not primarily concerned with mission, what we do for God. Service to God and others is crucial, but it is not the first concern.
So what is the first concern?
Perfected in the Father’s Love (I John 4:7-19)
In a word, conformed is about relationship. We are perfected in the Father’s love.
Being conformed is primarily concerned with growing in the Father’s love in Christ. Communion first. Then comes the other elements mentioned above as corollary. As we grow in deeper communion, our character is radically changed. And we are immersed in his love, just as his Son was, we, also like his Son, willingly lay our lives down for his purposes. We sacrificially serve God and others. But first things first…
It’s not about trying harder. God is not impatiently waiting until we get our act together.
Attached is the recording of a plenary session given at the PTM Conference October 2019. Take some time to listen to the session. I have also attached a .pdf of the slides that accompany the talk.
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