conformed to His image
In his book, Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer walks the reader through a series of small chapters painting vivid sketches of the attributes of God. Today, I have been thinking about God’s perfect holiness. For God to be holy is not for Him to be like anything else…nothing to which we may compare this aspect of His being. Tozer says,
“We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of. God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like divine holiness…Only the Spirit of the Holy One can impart to the human spirit the knowledge of the holy.
“Holy is the way God is. To be holy He does not conform to a standard. He is that standard. He is absolutely holy with an infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity that is incapable of being other than it is…” (pp. 111-113)
Once the heart and mind realize this truth about God, sin no longer remains trivial. Our separation from such a God no longer needs to be argued…it is simply an inescapable fact that begs for a remedy!
Hebrews 12:10, 14 For they (our earthly fathers) disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he (the Lord) disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness… Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
God longs to see us share His holiness through Jesus Christ. A significant part of what it means to conform to His image is to “be holy, for He is holy” (1 Peter 1:16).
Dame Julian of Norwich, a woman devoted to prayer and contemplation of the mysteries and glories of Christ, wrote a book entitled, Revelations of Divine Love, in 1343. As she pondered the vastness of the living God, she made a very helpful comment about what it means to find our rest and contentment in longing for Him.
“We have got to realize the littleness of creation and see it for the nothing that it is before we can love and possess God who is uncreated. This is the reason why we have no ease of heart or soul, for we are seeking our rest in trivial things which cannot satisfy, and not seeking to know God, almighty, all-wise, all-good…We shall never cease wanting and longing until we possess Him in fullness and joy. Then we shall have no further wants.”
Even when followers of Christ speak of the expansive span of the universe, we run the risk of being more impressed by how enormous it is than how vast is the God who created it and “marked off the heavens by the span” (Isaiah 40:12).
Alexander Maclaren, Scottish-born preacher of the nineteenth century, had a gift for expressing the richness of the gospel in language that captured both heart and mind, emotion and intellect. I ran across the following quote, found in Ken Boa’s book, Conformed to His Image, and am still turning it over again and again in my mind as a wonderful way to think about Colossians 3:2 where Paul exhorts us to “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Then again in Philippians 3:8, he reminds us of how significant this is as he makes his a confession of his own priority, “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord….”
Maclaren states that when we come to know Christ Jesus and turn away from lesser concerns which we often give greater value than Him, we will discover…
“The magnet that draws, the anchor that steadies, the fortress that defends, the light that illumines, the treasure that enriches, the law that commands and the power that enables.”
So today I am pondering! The vast treasure that is Jesus Christ is mine by grace through faith in His name. And as I consider and understand these things better, I can say, “Be at rest, O my soul, for your God is the Lord Almighty!”