If God wrote the biography of you, or your church, what would He write? Would He say that you were rooted deep in Christ, or that control, guilt, and good deeds were the major themes of your existence?
About this series
For more about why this series was written, please see the first post.
Chapter Four: A Violin Called Messiah
Back in the ’90s (when I was growing up) the phrase you heard from a lot of girls was “as if.” It was a way of expressing disbelief/refusal to accept a suggested proposition. “Becky and Sean look like a nice couple,” …”As if!”
“Like,” a preposition, and, “as,” a conjunction are statements of similarity. When a man and a woman marry, does the wife become like her husband? The husband is as his wife is? No. They do not become the same person, but they share a life together.
“As Christ is the bridegroom and the Church is the bride,” is not as “as if” statement requiring us to pretend that it is true. No, Christ is the bridegroom and we are the bride. If you are a human, you behave like a human all the time. You don’t play dress up and pretend to be one.
Humans are already created in the likeness of God. We have his character in us already. Currently though, we lack his holiness and therefore a shared life, a relationship, with him. Christ came, to point us to a relationship with the Father, and to do this by sharing life with him. If we strive to be like or as if we were Christ we will fail. You cannot pretend to be like someone you are not.
The fact is, Jesus was the greatest human being who ever lived, and if all we have to look forward to in life is the frustration of trying to be someone we are not, then we’ve got better ways of enjoying the interval between birth and death.
But the “good news” is that Jesus doesn’t want us to be “like” Him. He wants to share His resurrection life with us. He doesn’t want us to imitate Him; instead, Christ, the Unspeakable Gift, wants to live in and through us.
The gospel is not the imitation of Christ; it is the implantation and impartation of Christ. We are called to do more than mediate truth. We are called to manifest Jesus’ presence. [page 71-72]
When Christians stop pretending, stop trying to live up to the impossible standards of being like Christ, and begin living life with Christ there will be a major shift – back towards what it means to truly be the Body of Christ, his Church.
When someone says to you, “may you be more like Christ,” I hope you reply: “As if!”
Read the other posts in this series:
Jesus Manifesto: Biography (Chapter 3)