Carbon copies

Carbon copies

God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to be conformed to the image of his Son. – Romans 8:29  

Philippians 3:7-14

 7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.

 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,

 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.

 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The English language is awash with words derived from technologies that no longer are used. We when we email others, we frequently make use of two of them. We often choose to cc or bcc someone. These abbreviations stand for carbon copy and blind carbon copy, respectively.

Carbon copy comes from the use of carbon paper. Carbon paper is lightweight paper coated on one side with a dark waxy pigment, placed between two sheets of blank paper. The bottom sheet will receive a “carbon” copy of what is typed or written on the top sheet. Originally, “blind carbon copies” were copies that did not let the recipient know it was a copy. With the advent of ubiquitous copy machines, originally developed by Xerox, the use of carbon paper virtually ceased.

However, the use of cc or bcc persists. We want to send an email to multiple recipients; we simply cc them. When we want the receivers to remain anonymous, we bcc them.

All of the Father’s children intended to become carbon copies of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:29 God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to be conformed to the image of his Son.

Paul clearly articulates the Father’s plan and purpose in choosing us. We are to be conformed to the image of His Son.


The very idea that fallen, ungodly people “should one day be transformed into the image of Christ by a miracle of grace is one of the most astounding truths of divine revelation” (MacDonald).

Father thank You that You know all things in advance. You have been orchestrating my life from the beginning. You have clearly stated that You want me to become more and more like your Son. Please encourage me to cooperate.


The Greek term rendered conformed is summorphos. It has the sense of being like-natured, similar. It is composed of two Greek words sunwith and morphe a form. It literally means to have the same form as another. The sense that Paul intended is quite clear. We are to be similar in nature to the very essence of Christ. The phrase to become like his Son has been translated in a number of different ways, “to be like his Son” (Goodspeed), “share the likeness of his Son” (Moffatt) (UBS).

When we accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we began an eternal relationship with the living God. The Father adopted us as His children into His Forever Family. He established this relationship not merely to provide us with salvation and eternal life. His eternal purpose was to make us more like Himself. He is at work to conform us to the image of Christ.

Some of us resist or ignore the Father’s plan. When we do, we do a disservice to ourselves. He is doing spiritual surgery on our hearts to make us more Christlike.

Romans 8:28-31 

 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

 31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?


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