Theological confession: I'm guilty of the NT's idolatry of self. Of identity. Which is to say, I read all those New Testament passages about being transformed into the likeness of Christ and think, "but I'm not sure that I want to become Jesus. I really like being myself." Yes, I know that a proper theological understanding doesn't mean the abrogation of the self, but its fulfillment--God doesn't strip us of who he made us to be, rather, through Christ, he transforms us into who he intended us to be all along. But still--in the image of the Son. Shouldn't be scary, but it is. I don't want to be turned into something other than what I am . . . but it didn't occur to me until this week to look at it from the flip side.
Christ became sin for us. "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God." Jesus Christ--the second person of the Trinity--let himself be transformed into--not us, just the worst parts of us. Our sin. Holy God inverted himself into that . . . and in so doing, actually exemplified the true character of who he is. By becoming sin, he became saviour. By becoming the sacrifice, by accepting death, he became life and redemption.
And all so that we could become the righteousness of God. Our transformation into the likeness of Christ is nothing less than the perfect inversion of Christ's initial transformation into us. He who was born into the likeness of men. Perhaps it is only through our transformation that we become that which we truly are? Perhaps that is one of the ways that we actually become like Christ?