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“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30

Conforming is often seen as a bad thing, isn’t it?  Our world puts a high price on individualism and on being unique.  Paul tells us ‘to be conformed to the image of his Son.’  When I see the word ‘image’ in scripture I think of Genesis 1:26-27.  You are made in the image of God—talk about a self-confidence boost, Right!  The image that you bare is the resemblance of the one who spoke the stars in to place.  You are beautiful!  Paul, in his imploring us to be conformed to the image of the Son, is calling us to embrace who God made us to be.  To be conformed typically means to loose uniqueness.  WalMart makes all of the apples that come into their stores conform to their standards.  In this case it means that all have to be polished and shinny.  They all look alike (and taste boring if I’m honest).  But, if you go to an apple orchard, you’ll notice that the apples are never shinny.  And, though they look similar, they don’t necessarily look alike.   The conforming that Paul speaks of is very different than the worlds understanding of what it is to conform.  Don’t be scared of this conforming.

You have been fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.  Conforming to the image of the crucified and resurrected Son means that you are becoming more and more like the image that He desires you to be.  As all of us conform to Christ’s image we don’t become more similar—we actually become more unique.  Our similarity is expressed in our being yoked to the resurrected one and becoming fellow heirs to this unimaginable goodness—but each of us expresses the uniqueness of God’s handiwork in our own ways.  Conforming to the image of the Son means that you are called to live out the hope of the resurrected Christ in the way that only you can live that out.  ‘Be you’ is what Paul is calling us towards here.  But don’t just be ‘you’—be the ‘you’ that only God can make you be.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit.  The theology of this goes back to Genesis 3 and ‘the fall.’  The reality is that we are not human today—we are less than human.  Paul is challenging us, as we are conformed to Christ—by the power of the Holy Spirit—we will become more human, more us, more in the image of the One who created us.


One Comment leave one →
  1. 18July2012 09:31

    Thank you for this definition of conforming. It is refreshing to be reminded that each of us conforms to Christ in our own unique way. The metaphor of apples at Walmart vs. apples from the orchard is a great way to explain it.

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