Portraits of Christ
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Romans 8:29
Suggested Further Reading: 1 John 2:28-3:5
That image is so perfect I can never reach it. It is high as heaven, what can I know? It surpasses my thoughts, I cannot conceive the ideal, how, then, can I reach the fact? If I were to be like David I might hope it; if I were to be made like Josiah, or some of the ancient saints, I might think it possible; but to be like Christ, who is without spot or blemish, and the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely, I cannot hope it. I look, sir; I look, and look, and look again, till I turn away, tears filling my eyes, and I say, “Oh, it is presumption for such a fallen worm as I, to hope to be like Christ.” And did you know it, that while you were thus speaking, you were really getting the thing you thought to be impossible? Or did you know that, while you were gazing on Christ, you were using the only means which can be used to effect the divine purpose? And when you bowed before that image overawed, do you know it was because you began to be made like it? When I come to love the image of Christ, it is because I have some measure of likeness to it. It was said of Cicero’s works, if any man could read them with admiration, he must be in a degree an orator himself. And if any man can read the life of Christ, and really love it, methinks there must be somewhat—however little—that is Christ-like within himself. And if you as believers will look much at Christ, you will grow like him; you shall be transformed from glory to glory as by the image of the Lord.
For meditation: Getting to know Christ now is the process by which the Christian will become like Christ in the future. (Philippians 3:8,10,20,21). We may say “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.” (Psalm 139:6), but the image of Christ in the believer is no more impossible to God than the conception of Christ in a virgin (Luke 1:37).
Sermon no. 355
13 January (1861)