Christian or non-Christian, in the ‘world’ we have constructed, you get hurt and then you die! The life GOD is offering is never experienced fully in this life. Hebrews 2:5-8, (but not forgetting v. 9) makes that clear. The life He offers is exemplified by and embodied in the glorified Lord Jesus. THAT’S the life that God offers and that cannot be experienced by us in this life of creaturely weakness that ends in Death. So it was with Jesus. Glory followed the anguish experienced in this phase of living. The pain experienced was the inevitable outcome of the loving God’s free choice to become human in order to make it clear that humankind was not left alone to fight against evil or to die in despair as if God had completely, utterly and finally disowned them.
If we have experienced salvation in Christ we have power (not muscle!). We haven’t yet experienced the fullness of life in the Lord Jesus but we have “passed from death to life.” (John 5:24) The power of God that raised Jesus from creaturely weakness, the same creaturely weakness we now experience, is at work in us who are blessed with a vibrant living hope that means we can’t be robbed of our coming inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-9; Ephesians 1:19-23). The power in view in these texts and in Jesus’ personal experience, is resurrection power that has brought us from death in sin to life in (His) righteousness and will raise us from biological death to glory in everlasting life and righteousness (Ephesians 2:4-7; John 6:40, 54, passim). Our life in Jesus is experienced in a ‘new world’ that is finally revealed and unfolded in an unending climax on a Day yet to come. The glorified Lord Jesus even NOW embodies that CLIMAX—in Him we see what God always meant for us and so Paul sees us re-created in the image of the Lord Jesus who becomes for Paul “the last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45). That is more than “an interesting point.” In Jesus it is an acted-out promise and assurance from God—“this is what I have in store for you.” And while we wait, the glorified and exalted Son of Man makes Himself present in us by His Holy Spirit. The more we get to know Jesus Christ and become like like Him by the enriching and shaping of His Holy Spirit the more assured we are of the truth and faithfulness of God. The dying Christ trusted Himself to His Father (Luke 23:46; John 10:17-18; Acts 2:24-28) and was raised immortal. He that raised Jesus from the dead will resurrect all, of all the ages, to glory and immortality who are embraced in the saving work of God (Romans 8:11; Cor 15:45-54; 1 John 3:1-2).
To image Jesus Christ is to see Him choose to enter our world and take up His cross and it means we take up our cross and follow in His way. He lives before the Father that way, He goes to the Father that way, He exposes the darkness of the Darkness that way, He overthrows the satanic usurper that way, He rejects the world’s way to power as suicidal—the way to Death rather than life—and it is demonic . In following Him in this way to the degree sinners like us can, to follow Him in this way in trust means many things but it means two major things: it means we will reign with Him and it means we acknowledge Him as the supreme human among us (Romans 8:17-29; Colossians 1:18).
We reign with Him if we suffer with Him. By faith we have already conquered ‘the world’ (1 John 5:4) and one day we will in full personal experience experience the obliteration of ‘the world’ and live in a new creation. It was inevitable that God (in and as Jesus of Nazareth) would come to bring us to Himself that we might experience His glory. His suffering is our destiny. Jesus of Nazareth suffered WITH and FOR and FROM the human family so also are we called, those of us who claim Him as our Lord. 1 Peter 2;18-25; 4:12-19. If suffering comes our way and it cannot be avoided Peter calls us in the name of God to embrace it in faithfulness (4:19).
To do that, is to share Christ’s kind of suffering (1 Peter 4.12-15); suffering WITH, FROM & FOR the world. To do this is to take up our cross, a cross that’s a cross like His, and follow Him through, whatever trouble comes our way, to immortal glory, peace, adventure and happy righteousness and to His Father (John 14:1-3, 6; with 1 Peter 1:11; Matt. 16:24-26).