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Bible verses about Imitating God
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 4:7

In all its forms, sin is marked as mankind's enemy. It must be defeated to God's satisfaction for Him to accept us. If not, our relationship with Him will not be continued for eternity.

Because sin is an ever-present reality of life, it is essential that we have sufficient knowledge to recognize it before its fiery darts strike us down. This requires consistent, thoughtful study of God's Word and effort to build an awareness of its presence, enabling us to beat it to the punch, so to speak.

Overcoming sin is indeed a formidable task, but not a hopeless one. One reason why it is not hopeless, when rightly thought through, is quite encouraging. Jesus teaches in Luke 12:48:

But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

We are admonished to be alert because our enemy is at the door (Genesis 4:7), stalking us as we make our way through life. However, we are also encouraged to understand that we are all judged individually. God judges everyone against the same standard, yet He judges individually according to our natural talents, gifts, dedication, faithfulness, discipline, time sacrificed, and energies exerted to overcome against what God knows we are capable of.

We stand alone, as it were, not measured against any other person. Though the ultimate standard is the holy, righteous character of the Father and Son, we are neither measured against their performance nor any other human's performance. We are not in competition against others.

Though not measured against the performance of the Father and Son, we are nonetheless urged to strive to be at one with them. They are in complete and total agreement with each other. It is to this oneness that God wants to bring us, not merely intellectually, but also in attitude and conduct. They do not sin, and imitating this sinlessness becomes our great challenge in life.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sin, Christians, and the Fear of God


 

Exodus 13:3

The last phrase—"there shall no leavened bread be eaten"—is tied to what the LORD did so that we understand why we are to do so.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sanctification and Holiness (Part 1)


 

Leviticus 19:1-37

Leviticus 19 deals with social relationships within the community, and these commandments are seen as major regulators of community relationships. God gives all of these laws with a common thought in mind: "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy." These laws are given because the Lawgiver is God (see verses 4, 10, 12, etc.).

They are not primarily statements of authority ("Do this because I tell you"), though some of this is included, but statements of the relationship between the Lawgiver and His law. The laws reflect His nature. The law is what it is because God is what He is. Therefore, if we want to be like God, we will imitate Him by obeying His laws in their physical and spiritual applications.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fifth Commandment (1997)


 

Psalm 99:5

Knowing our strong tendency to imitate what we admire in others, God wants us to worship Him because of what He is and what He does. He wants us to worship Him because of His attributes and what they produce.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Why Worship God?


 

Romans 3:22-28

This does not exclude our responsibility to work for the purpose of sanctification. Works are not for justification but for sanctification. Works do not save us, but they are essential for transformation! To put it bluntly, we have to practice being God; we have to learn to live as God lives. Is that not how one becomes proficient at something?

God shows in many places in the Bible that He is pleased with our obedience. Our works do not save us, but they please Him (see Hebrews 13:16; Colossians 3:20; I John 3:22; etc.). He is so happy when we work at sanctification because they assist in the transformation process.

Parents ought to understand this. We are pleased by the stumbling efforts of our child to please us. So is God! He looks on our motives, intentions, and the principles involved in what His child is doing. He does not just look at the quantity or the quality—He looks at us as His children, who are trying to imitate Him.

Sanctification is absolutely necessary to prove to God our righteous character and belief in Jesus Christ.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 9)


 

1 Thessalonians 2:13-14

That the Colossians "became imitators of the churches of God which in are Judea" is the evidence Paul gives to show that the Word of God was working in them.

To whom is he writing? To a Gentile church of which he had been the instrument of raising—and they were doing the same things that the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem were doing! Why? They believed the same Scriptures. They had faith in the same laws and the same way of life that the Jews did. They did not do it because the Jews were doing it but because they had faith in God, just as the Jewish converts in Palestine did.

Thus, they became imitators. The word here is the same as the one in I Corinthians 11:1, where Paul says, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." Here was a Gentile church in Thessalonica imitating the Jewish Christian churches in Judea—and Paul commends them for it!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 20)


 

2 Timothy 2:1-5

Does that not picture someone who is striving to finish at the top, striving to win, to be the best that he possibly can? He does not desire to be just an "also ran," one of the pack, but to be somebody whom God looks upon as worth watching.

We have to put this in relation to what God wants us to be. Does He not want us to glorify Him by being as much like Him and Jesus Christ as possible? That is what real mastery is! Within the context, mastery is to be like Christ.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 22)


 

Hebrews 10:23

Holding fast is the first indication of faithfulness, but our understanding increases when we know the word translated "faithful" is the same word translated "faithfulness" in Galatians 5:22. It is understood as "reliable" or "trustworthy" rather than "fidelity" because it is being fully convicted of the truth of God that engenders loyalty and dependability. Faith in God corresponds to God's faithfulness. As with two tuning forks of the same pitch, when one is struck, the other responds by vibrating also. God's faithfulness should awaken faith in us, so we can respond in submissive obedience. If He is worth trusting, we should trust Him.

Since God is faithful, it has become our responsibility to imitate Him in being faithful by committing our lives to well doing.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness


 

Hebrews 11:5-7

We are responsible for maintaining our fellowship with Him by doing the works that He has appointed for us to do. For instance, there must be continuous exercise of prayer, study into His Word, and seeking to be like Him. We seek Him because we grow to admire—indeed respect—His love and character, appreciate the purpose He has brought into our lives, desire His merciful forgiveness, and realize He is our Benefactor in every aspect of life. However, we must do all of these things in faith.

Notice Paul's counsel in II Corinthians 5:7: "For we walk by faith, not by sight." Like life, walking is a continuous process. Thus, when Hebrews 11:6 says, "He who comes to Him must believe that He is," it means far more than just assenting to a vague idea of a "First Cause." Under the New Covenant, we are dealing with a living Personality working within His creation.

To walk by faith is a practical responsibility. It results from believing in His character and His works as revealed in His Word to the extent that we trust Him and submit to His commands in every area of life. His character is a major reason why we must continue to seek Him: so that our knowledge of Him is continually sharpened and refined to inform our imitation of Him in our lives. Otherwise, we will be pursuing a phantom designed by our own imaginations. We need to grasp as much of His transcendent holiness, supreme sovereignty, almighty power, and perfect justice, as well as His abundant mercy and wonderful grace.

Hebrews 11:6 emphasizes that He is a Rewarder, a Benefactor to those who come to Him and consistently walk with Him by faith. He rewards those who, as a way of life, seek Him in anticipation of His treating them with patient, respectful kindness, even abundance, as He works to create us in the image of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 11:5-7 balances reward with duty. Together, these verses show that, to be rewarded, we must walk with Him and seek Him. Walking and seeking are where "works" come into play, troubling those who believe in the incomplete Eternal Security doctrine.

In summary, walking with God and seeking Him by faith require keeping God in mind combined with making the efforts of obedience and any sacrifices of time, energy, and rejection by worldly family, friends, and business associates. Nevertheless, these result in being rewarded by God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Five)


 

James 1:25-27

In essence, James describes a person who sees the truth from God's Word and responds by using it. He sees himself as an instrument of God to be used, even spent, in service to Him and His people. He holds the feelings and well being of others to be as important as his own. Unlike the myopic person, he sees beyond his comfort zone, following the example of Jesus Christ.

Staff
Christian Myopia


 

1 Peter 1:10-12

Consider what these verses say from the standpoint of the prophets who were looking into these things. How did they look into these things? How did they seek God? How did they search Him out?

An actual example appears in Daniel 9:1-3:

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans—in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD [given] through Jeremiah the prophet, . . .

What was Daniel looking into? He was looking into the Bible, specifically the writings of Jeremiah the prophet.

. . . that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.

How did he seek God? By prayer, fasting, and study—the same things that we teach Christians to do. Looking into His Word is a major portion of seeking God. It is not the end of it because, as Amos 5:4, 6-7, 14-15 relates, "seek" in the biblical sense does not just mean "gaining an intellectual knowledge of God" but "turning to become like God." The knowledge of God is of absolutely no use unless we become like God, which is why he says, "Seek God and live!" (Amos 5:4, 6). What good is it if we have the knowledge but do not repent, do not turn to act and become like He is? None. If we only gain knowledge, we will not live.

Prayer plays a major role in this process. Daniel was seeking God's mind for the purpose of imitating, obeying, pleasing, being like Him, and doing His will. If we would continue in the prophet's book, we would find in chapter 10 that another occasion came up in which he fasted for three weeks. A person must be very serious and fervent to fast that long! The angel that is sent to him tells him that God heard Daniel's words from the very first day—that God would hear and answer was never a question. He spent three weeks fasting and praying to understand the will of God.

It is in this way that we come to know God in the sense of perceiving things as He does. If we are doing these things, we have every opportunity to pray according to His will because we will be praying His Word right back to Him—maybe not the exact words, but words that have the same sense. We will be on the same wavelength, as it were, with God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
What Is Prayer?


 

 




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