In the beginning, man was made in the image and likeness of God, but sin came in and as the consequence that image has been defaced and that likeness marred. Has then the purpose of Jehovah been thwarted? Not so: |The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever| (Ps.33:11). Therefore it is written, |For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son| (Rom.8:29). The time when this purpose and promise of God will be realized is at the Return of His Son. It is then that God's elect will be completely |conformed to the image of His Son.| It is then that they shall |be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.| It is then that |this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality.| But to particularize.
In Rom.7:24 the question is asked, |O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?| Part of the answer to this interrogation is recorded in Rom.8:11 -- |But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.| This Scripture has been the occasion of considerable controversy of late and some wild fancies have been indulged concerning it, yet is its meaning quite simple. The |quickening of our mortal bodies| does not refer to resurrection, nor to |healing,| but to that |change| which shall take place in the physical beings of those believers on earth at the Redeemer's return. Here, as everywhere, the apostle has the |blessed hope| before his heart and he would interpose nothing between (not even death and resurrection) the present moment and the realization of that hope. The |quickening of our mortal bodies,| the |changing| of them in a moment, is described in Phil.3:20, 21 |For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.| These present corruptible bodies of ours shall be transformed into bodies like unto that glorious body now worn by our Lord. That is, like His body as it appeared on the mount of transfiguration -- dazzling in its splendor; like unto His body as it appeared unto Saul as he journeyed to Damascus -- scintillating with a brilliancy which surpassed the shining of the midday sun. What a glorious transformation that will be! Each saint will be given a body of glory fitted to and for the scene to which he shall go, as his present body is fitted to this earth. Scientists tell us that the little sparkling diamond which we admire so much, was once a piece of carbon, a fragment of charcoal which has undergone a marvelous transformation, converting the little piece of black charcoal into the resplendent jewel. This, perhaps, is Nature's type of the glorious transformation that awaits us, when the Saviour shall take our present mortal body and fashion it like unto His glorious body.
Physical transformation is not all that awaits the believer. At our Lord's return there will be a mental, moral and spiritual transformation too. In 1 John 3:2 we are told, |Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.| The emphasis here is often thrown upon the wrong words. Some read this verse as though it had reference to present ignorance of our future condition, the clause |it doth not yet appear what we shall be,| being understood to signify |We don't really know now what we shall yet be.| But this is a mistake, for we do |know| as this very verse informs us -- |we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him. The emphatic words are |It doth not yet appear what we shall be.| What we are really going to be like awaits its manifestation till our Lord's appearing. Let us illustrate. I hold in my hand a small seed: it is unlovely in appearance and gives no promise at all of what it will ultimately become. It doth not yet appear what it shall be. But I plant that seed in the ground, and a few weeks later it has become a strong plant, and one morning I wake and find it covered with the most beautiful flowers. Now the potentialities of that little seed are fully manifested. So it is with the believer. He looks at his own heart and wonders if after all he is a child of God. His body is just the same as the bodies of unbelievers, and viewed by the eye of sense he seems to be no different from them in anywise. No; because his real |life is hid with Christ in God| (Col.3:30 -- it doth not yet appear what he shall be, nevertheless he knows (by faith) that when Christ shall appear, he shall be like Him, for he shall see Him as He is.
|We shall be like Him.| Who dare limit this exceeding great and precious promise? |Like Him| physically, for our vile body shall then be |fashioned like unto His glorious body.| |Like Him| mentally! Today we are very unlike Him mentally: our minds now are often harassed with evil thoughts, they are clouded and darkened by the effects of the Fall, and are subject to many limitations; but when Christ appears that which is |perfect| shall come and then, no longer shall we see through a glass darkly and know in part, but we shall know as we are known. We shall be |like Him| morally and spiritually. Sin will be erased from our beings; every trace and effect of the Fall shall be eradicated from our persons. Then will God's predestinating purpose be fully realized. Then shall we be completely |conformed to the image of His Son.| Blessed transformation! Glorious prospect! We shall be like Him.
|High in the Father's house above
My mansion is prepared,
There is the home, the rest I love,
And there my bright reward.
With Him I love, in spotless white,
In glory I shall shine;
His blissful presence my delight,
His love and glory mine.
All taint of sin shall be removed,
All evil done away;
And I shall dwell with God's Beloved
Through God's eternal day.|