Vol.II No.VIII Pg.3
September 1965

The "Image" Of Christ

Robert F. Turner

Putting on Christ means we must conform to the image of the Son of God (ROM.8:29). When church membership and conformation to brotherhood practices take the place of development of the "divine nature" (2PE.1:4) we have become sectarians, not Christians.

But what is the "image of Christ"? We have little or no information re. His physical appearance; and what we have says, "He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him" (ISA.53:2). Christ is "attractive" in character -- and even here He attracts only those who are "fit" (suited) to the kingdom of God; (LUK.9:62) only those who will be "taught" (JOH.6:45).

There is no "short cut" to understanding Christ's character. Men have written books on the subject, but most of these stress one facet of His image to the neglect of others. The "whole truth" is woven into the fabric of the Bible, and must be "found" there. It lies in His life, death, and resurrection; and in the meaning of these, as seen in the whole NT.

Since all recognize (nominally) the importance of conforming to the image of Christ; and since we must "see" a pattern or model in order to conform to it; one may think much of our study would be devoted to determining Christ's character. Such is not the case (Now think with me!).

We do comparatively little study or preaching from the "gospels" (We push these "little stories" into the children's classes, where they can cut paper dolls about them.). Further, our use of the Epistles is largely a search for arguments on some particular doctrine, instead of a search for the basic principles of Christianity that makes the doctrine important. If we can not agree on the particular doctrine (nor do I question the essentiality of this) we come apart at the seams. Why? Could it be that we have not really learned of Christ, nor put on His image? We are depending on the particular to hold us together, and failing to develop the principles of Christ-likeness which gives the particular its meaning.

To illustrate what we mean by the "image of Christ" we give a few examples: (hoping you will add more).

Complete dedication to the work of the Father; LUK.2:49; JOH.9:4; JOH.17:4

Utter humility; MAT.11:29. MAR.10:14-f; JOH.13:3-16. PHI.2:5-f

Honestly frank, candid; MAT.15:1-14,26-28; JOH.4:19-24; JOH.19:9-11

Compassion for the lost; MAT.9:36; LUK.15:1-f; JOH.8:3-11; MAT.23:37-39

Obedient; MAT.26:39,42; HEB.5:8-9

Read such passages with a view to "seeing" Christ. What kind of person would do and say such things? Here is sermon material for on and on; or how about a Bible study series aimed at cataloging Christ's characteristics, with appropriate examples, and urging brethren to develop like character.

Putting on Christ is long overdue!