Summary: We are all in a process of change, "becoming something." Followers of Christ have been called to the highest of purposes: honoring the Preeminence of Christ while we are being conformed to His very image.
CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON: A Family Resemblance
We all were BORN into a human family; we all had a father and a mother and, for better or for worse, we acquired certain traits and characteristics from them. There are outward characteristics that we may have as well as similarities in temperament and disposition. If we have brothers or sisters, we can also see similar qualities and others may say, "I can see a family resemblance!"
In Romans 8:29, Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: "For those whom He (God) foreknew, He also predestined to become CONFORMED to the image of His Son, so that He (Christ) would be the firstborn among many brethren."
The History of Man’s Image
How are we, as followers of Christ being conformed to the image of Christ? (We’ll look at a little bit of biblical History) In the beginning, God created man in His OWN IMAGE and HUMANITY was GOOD (Gen. 1:26). After ADAM fell, he became considerably less than that image produced children in his fallen image. It’s sort of like the before and after difference of a penny that you put on the train track. Did you ever see one of those? You put a nice clear and shiny penny on the train tracks and after the train comes through, it is squashed and distorted: Its original form, luster and IMAGE are totally distorted and squashed. After the fall, our Godly Image was barely discernible; the only thing that we were naturally predisposed to do was to oppose God’s Will.
We studied Romans 5 and saw that we all have a sinful FAMILY RESEMBLANCE to Adam as our earthly father. Adam¡¦s choice to follow satan’s ADVICE instead of God’s COMMANDS corrupted his image so the children that Adam reproduced all came into this world with his sinful image. We were born into that same distorted image.
Then Jesus Christ comes into our world in the exact IMAGE of God: I love that verse in Heb. 1:3: "He is the radiance of God’s Glory and the exact representation of His nature." Jesus comes to us in the flesh as the exact image of God because He was and is God. Jesus lived a perfect life and died as a perfect sacrifice for sin, and arose again from the dead, so that we could be made right with God BY FAITH IN HIM, and we can once again be given a new spiritual nature by FAITH and NOW be conformed to His Image.
Do you catch the progression: We were made in God’s image, we FELL in sin and acquired ADAM’S SINFUL IMAGE, which was according to Adam’s decision or CHOICE, and NOW God CHOOSES to WORK HIS SALVATON and REDEMPTION in those that He foreknew and predestined, in order that they might be ONCE AGAIN be in His perfect IMAGE conformed to CHRIST’s IMAGE. What a MARVEL of God’s Grace!
The Preeminent One
God’s Primary Purpose in Christ was not so that we would have sins forgiven or that we would someday enjoy God’s presence perfectly forever, or that we would be BETTER people (that would be better sinners): His Primary Purpose was and is that Jesus IS THE Preeminent One in the universe and in your life. That’s what it means: that He would be the firstborn (Prototokos) among many brethren." In Jewish culture, the firstborn received the father’s and the family’s top honor. "Preeminence" is a derivative of the word "firstborn"and means that there is no one greater, no one higher, no one more deserving of honor, majesty and esteem than the LORD JESUS CHRIST. NO ONE!!! Every knee will bow in Heaven and on Earth because Jesus fully deserves ALL the Glory and honor, before all time, but especially because He is the "Lamb who was Slain". IT IS NOT ABOUT ME, but about HIM. On this account, no one should ever dare to challenge Him and His authority; Colossians 1: 15 and 18 says: He is the IMAGE of the invisible God, the firstborn (BEFORE) of all creation, He (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church (that’s why He deserves all of our praise): who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in ALL THINGS he might have the preeminence."
How do WE fit into this picture of the Preeminence of Christ? Ephesians 2 says: YOU were dead in YOUR trespasses and sins, 2 in which YOU formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest." We don’t fit in because we are Spiritually and sinful dead!