For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29
Out of the mouths of babes comes the unvarnished, plain truth. Of that you can be sure. I thought of that when I took my little grandson to the park. Andrew was then a two-year old full of smiles framed by a few baby teeth, a little bit of fuzz on his head, and glasses to correct a vision problem.
I was pushing him in the swing when a little boy we had never met (I later learned he was age five) looked over and said, “You wanna know something!” “Yeah, “I said, “What?” “You guys kinda look alike!” Somewhat taken off guard, I asked, “How’s that?” “Well,” he philosophically replied, “You both got glasses, and you both haven’t got much hair.”
While the observations of the little friend may have been more superficial than biological, I got to thinking about what he said in relationship to our heavenly Father. No matter where I have been around the world, to get a smile out of the mother of a little baby in a pram or a stroller, I’ve learned that all you have to do is to smile admiringly at her baby and she immediately begins to glow herself. There’s a genetic connection. The mother brought that baby into the world, and she’s proud of it.
There’s also something strange that’s happened to me as well. The older I get the more beautiful all babies get. There’s something of wonder and awe when a mother and father reproduce themselves--their history, their biology, their temperament--in the newborn. That phrase “like father, like son” is not merely a platitude. It’s a description of reality.
The Bible says that at creation man was made in God’s image. Moses recorded the words: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness...’” (Genesis 1:26).
Made in the image of God, mankind took on the spiritual likeness of the Father, which separated him from the lower forms of life and enabled man to love, to feel compassion, to give vent to the desire to worship the Almighty. Because of the fall, when our first father Adam chose to go his way rather than God’s way, man became separated from the Father. Yet in the heart of every person there is the desire to know God, much like that of the searching of an adopted child to find out who is his genetic father.
What was lost in the fall is regained through conversion when the Holy Spirit touches a life and it becomes alive spiritually. It is no wonder Paul wrote, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). In simple terms, this means that we begin to take on the characteristics of the Father and become like Him--at least, in a measure.
How is it that we as God’s children have taken on His character as well as characteristics? The full answer to that question is contained in five chapters of the Bible known as the epistle or letter of First John (just next to the book of Revelation). Here John says that God’s children have the remarkable ability to love, something which comes through a renewed relationship with the Father. “We know that we have passed from death to life,” says John, “because we love our brothers...” (1 John 3:14). Then he says that the constant force of sin is broken in our lives. Says John, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him...” (1 John 3:9).
A closing thought: When the little boy said, “You look alike--glasses and not much hair,” I liked it. I think God would also smile when others note we have some of His characteristics as well.
Resource reading: 1 John 3:1-15.