In human history, God creates and God redeems. He is life and He is love. How does God make His life & love visible in a fallen world filled with division & need?
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children…
Paul puts it flatly, bluntly, openly:
Be imitators of God. That is a great declaration. The word for imitators is the Greek word that means
to mimic.Mimics are those who follow the pattern or the example of God. If you want to put it simply, you can say it this way:
Be godlike. That is the goal of Christianity. It is to produce men and women, boys and girls, who are godlike in the midst of an ungodlike world. That is what it is all about.
Notice that it does not say,
Be gods. That is the lie of the devil. He distorts the truth and makes it come out as a promise to us that if we follow our own desires, throw overboard all restrictions, cast aside the bonds of authority, and do what we want to do, we can be gods. For, after all, isn’t that what God does? He does what He wants; He is sovereign; He does what He likes. But that is a lie. This is not what the Christian faith says. It says rather,
be godlike, meaning,
reflect the one true and holy God. There is only one God. There can be only one God. By definition, God is a supreme being. How many supreme beings can you have? Only one.
Therefore, the Christian message is to be like the one true God. Reflect Him in your humanity. Be a godlike man. Be a godlike woman. From this we get our English word godly. After all, this word godly, which makes many of us cringe and feel uncomfortable, is simply a shortened form of the word godlike. It originally came from the word godlikeness. Godlikeness is godliness; godliness is godlikeness.
What will you be like if you are godlike? Will you be strong? Yes, of course. There is no strength like God’s strength. Will you be filled with power if you are godlike? Oh yes, but be careful. It is a different kind of power than the world desires. It is quieter, less apparent, but far mightier. Will you be happy if you are godlike? Oh yes, but a different kind of happiness than the world is seeking after. Will you be wise and kind? Of course, wiser and kinder than you have ever been before, because that is what God is.
We can sum all this up in two words. Despite all the works of God that are evident around us, both in the natural world and in the world of thought and ideas, there are really only two things that God ever does in human history: God creates and He redeems. Those are the two things. Everything in the whole universe gathers about these two. God creates and God redeems. God makes things live, and God heals that which is broken. It is because God is life and God is love. He is therefore our Maker and our Healer. And that is what you will be if you become godly. You will learn how to live to the fullest capacity of your humanity. And you will learn how to love and to heal, to restore and bring together instead of to scatter and fragment and break apart. For that is godlikeness. It is desirable, isn’t it? Who does not want to be like this?
Father, this is what I have always wanted to be like. Teach me to listen that there might break out in our lonely, bewildered, confused age the wonder of godlikeness.