Jesus is the model for those who follow him. Many descriptions of Jesus also apply to those who are in Christ. Numerous statements pertaining to Jesus also pertain to his followers.
1. Like Jesus, we are to be one with the Father
Not only did Jesus say, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), he prayed to the Father for those that are his disciples, “that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11) and for those who will believe through their word, “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us” (John 17:21) and, “that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one.” (John 17:22-23)
Saying “I and the Father are one” is equivalent to saying “the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” (John 10:30 + John 14:10) While Jesus prayed for us to all be one he also prayed for us to be in the Father saying, “just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us.” (John 17:21) And, “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one.” (John 17:22-23) Earlier in John, when Jesus speaks of the day when the Holy Spirit will be given, he alludes to the same sense of oneness when he said, “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. (John 14:20) The concept of the Father being in us and us being in the Father is also a major theme of the first epistle of John. The following verses in 1 John shed further light on how the author wants us to understand this concept of being one:
- Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. (1John 2:24)
- And now, little children, abide in him… everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. (1John 2:28-29)
- And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. (1John 3:23-24)
- No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. (1John 4:12)
- By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. (1John 4:13)
- So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1John 4:16)
It is in this context that we should understand what Jesus meant in John 14:9-11 when he said, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father. Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” So we see that Jesus was not claiming to be God but was claiming to be “one with the Father” as a servant and representative of God. In the same sense that Jesus was “one with the Father,” we are to be “one with the Father”. The Father is to be in us in the same sense that the Father was in Christ. We are to be in the Father in the same sense that Jesus was in the Father. God our Father, Jesus, and us—we are all to be in each other. (John 17:21) We are all to be perfectly one. (John 17:23)
2. Like Jesus, we are sent into the world
Jesus referred to himself as one “sent into the world.” (John 10:36) but also said, when praying to the Father, “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18) We understand that being sent into the world is being raised up as a servant of God and being sent out into ministry (Acts 3:22-26).
3. Like Jesus, we are not of this world
Jesus stated, “I am not of the world” (John 8:23, John 10:36) but also said of his followers, “you are not of this world” (John 15:19) and “they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:14) when praying to the Father.
4. Like Jesus, we may be filled with all the fullness of God
Paul wrote, “in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col 1:19) and “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col 2:9). But Paul also wrote that he bowed his knees before the Father (in prayer) that, “according to the riches of his glory, he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Eph 3:16) and “to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph 3:19)
5. Like Jesus, we may become the image of God
Paul refers to the “gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Cor 4:3-6). Paul also refers to Jesus as “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Col 1:15) The context of these verses pertains to the gospel in which the Father has “qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” through which the Father has “transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” (Col 1:12-15) The gospel thus provides the means for us to be presented “holy and blameless and above reproach before him.” (Col 1:21-22) Paul later says in Colossians, “When Christ who is your life appears, then you will also appear with him in glory” and says to “put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Col 3:1-10) Indeed, God predestined us to be “conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first born among many brothers” and “those whom he justified he also glorified.” (Rom 8:29-30). “As is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven—Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” (1 Cor 15:48-49) “We all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” (2 Cor 3:17-18) These references reveal to us that the “gospel of the glory of Christ” is the good news that we can be redeemed and transformed into the same image of Christ, who has been glorified and is the image of God. (1 Cor 4:3-6, Col 1:12-15)
6. Like Jesus, we share in the glory that God had planned from the beginning of creation
Jesus said, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’ (John 8:54) and he asked of the Father, “Glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” (John 17:5) However, Jesus praying to God said, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one” (John 17:22) “so that the world may know that you loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:23) The suffering of this present time is not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us—the revealing of the sons of God (Rom 8:18-19). The secret and hidden wisdom of God is what God decreed before the ages for our glory (1 Cor 2:6-7). Those who will be saved are vessels of mercy, which God prepared beforehand for glory (Rom 9:22-24). When Christ who is our life appears, then we shall also appear with him in glory (Col 3:4). In Christ, we have obtained an inheritance according to God’s purpose for the fullness of time (Eph 1:11). We are created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10) The manifold wisdom of God is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph 3:9-11).
7. Like Jesus, we are loved and blessed from the foundation of the world
Jesus prayed, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24). And he also says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matt 25:34) God has not destined us for wrath, but that we might receive adoption as sons (1 Thes 5:9-10, Gal 4:4-5). No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Cor 2:7-9) All things work for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28-29, Eph 1:3-5). God saved us and called us to a holy calling because of his purpose and grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began (2 Tim 1:8-10). Jesus was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for our sake (1 Peter 1:20). The saints are those whose names are written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:5-8).
8. Like Jesus, we are sons of God through the resurrection
Jesus “was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.” (Rom 1:4, Acts 13:32-35) Jesus, said regarding the coming kingdom, “but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead … are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:35-36) Creation waits for the revealing of the sons of God and we groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Rom 8:18-23, Rom 9:22-26, Eph 1:3-5) According to God’s purpose, he predestined Christ to be the firstborn among many brothers, so that we would be conformed to the images of his Son. (Rom 8:28-29)
9. Like Jesus, we are sons of God by the Spirit of God
Jesus considered himself to be the Son of God. In the Law, they were called gods to whom the word of God came. (John 10:35-36). Jesus was merely claiming to be the Son of God, although the Father sent him into the world and was doing the works of the Father. (John 10:37) In a similar sense, it says in Romans, “all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God… you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”” (Rom 8:14-15) and the Spirit “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” (Rom 8:16-17). “We know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28) “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Rom 8:29)
10. Like Jesus, we are anointed by the Spirit of God
Jesus proclaimed, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me.” (Luke 4:18) Indeed, God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power—he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him, (Acts 10:38) In a similar way those who come after Christ receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon them (Acts 1:8, Acts 4:31). Like Jesus, our ministry is to be attested in power and in the Holy Spirit (1 Thess 1:5, Rom 15:19, 1 Cor 2:4-5). We are anointed by God. (2 Cor 1:21-22, 1 John 2:20)
11. We die, are buried, and are raised with Christ
We die, are buried, and are raised with Christ: We are to take up our cross and follow Christ. (Matthew 16:24) Through repentance, we have died to sin and the elemental spirits of the world. (Col 2:20) Those of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death (Rom 6:3) We were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too might walk in newness of life. (Rom 6:4) We believe that if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Rom 6:5-11, Col 2:12-13, Col 3:1-4)
12. Jesus is the firstborn of many brothers—who will inherit the Kingdom—priests to his God and Father
Jesus said, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:19-21). If we are in his flock, it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32-34). Jesus will assign his followers a kingdom as the Father assigned to him a kingdom, that they may sit on thrones judging the tribes. (Luke 22:28-30) We should walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls us into his own kingdom and glory (1 Thes 2:12). He foreknew and predestined us to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (Rom 8:29). Jesus is the firstborn of all creation, in that God has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son (Col 1:13-15).
Since he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source, Jesus is not ashamed to refer to those sons who are called to glory as brothers (Heb 2:11). Jesus had to be made like his brothers in every respect so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God (Heb 2:17). God has chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him (Jam 2:5). Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, has made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father (Rev 1:4-6). He ransomed people for God from every tribe, language, people, and nation, and made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth (Rev 5:9-10). Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years (Rev 20:6).