by Scarlett Stough
From the beginning God stated his intention that human beings be made in his likeness:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
The Apostle Peter reminds us of God's purpose for us:
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate* in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
2 Peter 1:3-4
Through Moses, God instructed his people they were to “be holy, because I am holy (Leviticus 11:45.)” This is repeated in the New Testament: “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy' ”(1 Peter 1:15-15).
Jesus taught those who seek to enter God's kingdom must be born again, born of the Spirit (John 3:1-21).
Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost:
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.
In his letter to the Romans Chapter 8 the Apostle Paul taught having the Holy Spirit is essential to belonging to Christ (v.9). He taught “because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (v.14) and that we are “God's children.“
The Apostle John assures us of God's love by confirming we are God's children:
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
1 John 3:1-3
God is still at work to create us in his image:
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
God's purpose is to make us into the likeness of his Son:
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. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Biblical brotherhood is not just an old fashioned word synonymous with being members of a club; it is the reality of those whom God has called and given his Holy Spirit. Father is not merely a religious title for God; it is the reality God is working out in our lives. He is our Heavenly Father; Jesus is our Elder Brother, and all who belong to Christ by the Holy Spirit are his brothers (male and female) and children of God. He is working in us to make us holy, as God is holy.
Peter exhorts us: “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure̶ (2 Peter 1:10).
*Editor’s Note: “Partakers” (2 Peter 1:4 KJV), also translated from the Greek as “may participate in” or “participants in”, means “having in common“. It is a word that can connote “companion̶, “fellowship”, or “partner”. [From The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, copyright 2001.)