Your Divine DNA
Because it describes an aspect of the enormity of what God has done for us, the Bible sometimes speaks of God adopting us as his very own children. Adoption by the King of kings opens to us wonders that will keep us dancing for all eternity. Through it we can enjoy Godís intimacy and inheritance and royal status. The full story, however, is even more astounding. When we were born of God we were not merely adopted into Godís family, we were born into his family. By this staggering act of God we received Godís genes, as it were. At that instant a fundamental change in our entire nature occurred. Suddenly, with Godís genes in us, we were not only new people, we had the potential to grow up to become very much like God.|
Scripture is compelled to oscillate between calling God our natural and our adoptive father because what the majestic Lord has done is so mind-blowing that it is without human parallel. No human can become someoneís genetic father after that person has already been conceived by another man, and yet this is precisely what God had done. He has given us not merely his love and possessions, but, spiritually, his own genes. Through the miracle of spiritual rebirth, our spiritual DNA has been impregnated with the divine nature.
God is now our natural father. It is only because this has not always been so there is a narrow, historical sense in which God could be thought of as our adoptive father. As dramatic as rebirth is, it is merely bringing us to the state that God has always intended us to be Ė his full children. I love the expression in James 1:18 that Father God Ďchose to give us birth.í Unlike some human conceptions, Godís decision to become our father was a very deliberate act. He knew exactly what he was getting when he chose you.
As stated, now that God is our Father, we bear the family likeness. At present we are mere embryos relative to what we will become, so our Godlike nature is not yet particularly apparent. Jesus put it this way: humanity is like a field of wheat interspersed with weeds that initially are nearly indistinguishable from wheat (Matthew 13:24-30). With the weeds Jesus had in mind, only an expert could tell which is the true wheat when the crop is young. As both species mature, however, the difference becomes pronounced.
The exciting news is that through the spiritual miracle made possible by the Son of God trading places with us on the cross, we can, as it were, undergo the gene manipulation that transforms us from weeds to wheat. Once this happens, though there may be little obvious change at first, a fundamental change is initiated.
Being fathered by the exalted Lord took place not when we were physically conceived but at some later time when we willingly allowed ourselves to be, in a spiritual sense, genetically interfered with by the God of selflessness and purity. Of course, this is the most wonderful thing we could ever experience, but the expression I have used makes it clear why the God of compassion waits until we give our approval before transforming us. If done without our consent, it would be akin to spiritual rape; an act totally contrary to the gracious and holy ways of the Lord. Just as a man passionately in love can be expected to romance a woman but never to rape her, so God lovingly takes the initiative in doing all he can to win our trust and affection. Even if we push him away, he perseveres, doing all he can to coax us to change our minds, but there has to be a limit to how far he goes.
We saw in the main webpage that Ezekiel spoke of God giving us the equivalent of an entire brain transplant. Even imperfect modern medical ethics would not tolerate even a minor operation to be performed against a personís will, let alone something that would change a personís entire personality. Even if it were a lifesaving operation, medics would try hard to persuade the person and advise of the importance of the operation, but they would be forced not to proceed if the person refused them permission to operate. No wonder God Ė who always acts with the highest conceivable integrity Ė does not bring about spiritual rebirth without peopleís conscious consent.
Of course, Godís methods are too sophisticated to be physically invasive, but in terms of its affect upon our entire being, nothing Ė not even death Ė could be more invasive, because its effects last for all eternity. In fact, letting God take up residence in our lives ultimately affects every cell in our body because the end result will be a completely new body in the age to come. What else has such a massive impact on our personality and our destiny? This fundamental change is so appropriately called being born again because we have to go right back to our very conception to find anything so radically affecting who we are.
Itís said we canít choose our parents, and yet God has bestowed on us such dignity that spiritually we can do just that.
We have seen that although it is only yet in embryonic form, this change of our essential nature renders Christians aliens Ė a distinctly different species Ė to the rest of humanity. Many of us do not realize the extent of this and so do all sorts of perverse and unwise things under the delusion that we are essentially the same as unregenerate humanity. For instance, though I wish I could put it more gently, my study of Scripture drives me to the conclusion that in Godís eyes for a member of the other-worldly species to deliberately marry a non-Christian is a spiritual perversion, with distinct similarities to bestiality. When non-Christians marry and at some later time one, but only one, partner becomes born again, an enormous spiritual dilemma arises. The implications of such diverse creatures being intimately related are so serious that God has to perform a special miracle to make possible the continuation of the marriage (1 Corinthians 7:14 Ė this is explained in Choosing a Partner).
As radically as light differs from darkness and the Holy One differs from evil, born again Christians differ from non-Christians (2 Corinthians 6:14). This biblical fact, however, most certainly does not mean we can look down on non-Christians. Not only was each of us once one of them, they have as much potential as any of us to join the new race. Christ passionately loves those who currently are non-Christians. He died for them as much as for us. There is, nevertheless, a vast spiritual gulf between Christians and non-Christians. The entire universe is at war, with one side fighting for Satan and the other siding with God. This war in the heavenlies has engulfed planet earth, splitting humanity in two. There are no neutral humans Ė only some who are barely aware that they are Satanís pawns. We will later see some of the significance of this enormous difference between Christians and non-Christian.
The potential to become like oneís father is so strong that the saying has entered our language, ĎLike father, like son.í Nevertheless, a father contributes just one half of his childrenís genes. The other half of our spiritual genetic makeup is our humanity. Even that comes from God (by a less direct route Ė via Adam) and bears great similarity to him, because he created humanity in his own image. However, there are aspects of our humanity, such as our finiteness, that will forever keep us from being one hundred percent like God. And yet, in an astounding display of love for us, the eternal Son of God became human. Jesus resurrected with a perfected human body, which he took with him to heaven. It is staggering to realize that even now as he reigns at the right hand of the Father, our Lordís body, although completely devoid of the defects associated with fallen humanity, is as human as the flawless bodies we will one day have.
As a consequence of Christ swapping places with us and becoming one with us spiritually, it is as though an exchange of genes occurred. Not only did the Son of God gain human genes though the reincarnation, we gained Godís genes. That means born again Christians bear, as it were, nearly the full genetic blueprint of the resurrected Lord Ė both the spiritual half contributed directly from Father God and the physical half that belongs to glorified humanity. We can never grow up to become infinite, but we can grow up to become like our big brother Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.
Physically and spiritually, and in how precious we are to God, we will be like the glorious Son of God. We wonít however, be Jesusí clones. Any variation from everyone being exactly identical will be minor, but precious, because although we will all be Christlike, we will each have a uniqueness that will set us apart.
Hereís my attempt to express the truth of Romans 8:28-29:
For those who truly love God, everything touching them is working toward their highest good, which is, of course, that they become increasingly like Godís very own Son. The divine Artist intricately and lovingly manipulates everything touching them so that all lifeís squalls and sunshine and even lifeís humdrum are progressively sculpturing his loved ones into the very image of the Perfect One; beautifying them for all eternity with the divine likeness. Yes, for those of us who love him enough to let him, the Sovereign Sculptor sends lifeís caresses to polish us. And each of lifeís blows Ė even things hurled in satanic malice Ė he deflects with divine precision to chip off only those parts that must go, so that every influence reaching us is etching into our lives the exquisite and eternal beauty of Christ. This is the destiny of all who yield their lives to him.
As many earthly parents long for their firstborn to have brothers and sisters, so it has been the Perfect Fatherís intention since before creation that his eternal Son have many brothers and sisters so that he no longer be regarded as Godís only Son, but as the Firstborn. The divine plan is that we each end up beautifully unique and yet bearing with perfection the unmistakable family likeness; displaying the matchless beauty of the Glorious Victor and ruling in regal majesty with him for all eternity.
The inspired apostle continues his chapter to affirm that this is so locked into the divine purpose that no amount of suffering or disasters or demonic interference can ever foil Godís magnificent, love-filled plan for us to be radiant with the beauty and perfection of his Son.
We typically pluck Romans 8:28 out of context, dangling it in thin air under the illusion that it is proclaiming that every circumstance is working toward our happiness or prosperity. When viewed from eternity Ė not necessarily as seen on earth Ė this is indeed true, but if we only understood, we would realize that the most dazzling ecstasies of happiness and prosperity pale in the brilliance of the next promise:
Romans 8:28-29 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 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.
Christlikeness is the treasure that renders all other pleasures and honors mere tinsel.
As exciting as it might be to be treated as if we were exceptionally intelligent and good-looking, it would fade to nothing relative to being able to transmute into someone who really is that intelligent and good-looking. Similarly, as much as would be wise, our gracious Lord treats us right now as if we were Christlike, but far more breathtaking is the honor and wonder of actually becoming Christlike.
Other exciting Scriptures confirming our glorious destiny include:
2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lordís glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
It has rightly been said that God loves you just the way you are, but he loves you too much to leave you that way.
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