Hebrews 1:3 Who (Jesus) being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high (emphasis added, KJV).
In our opening text, “the expressed image” means the exact copy or representation, and here it means the exact image of God’s essence. Whatever the Divine Essence is, Jesus is its perfect expression. There is only One Who ever walked perfectly before the Father. His Name is Jesus. He is the only One Who expressed the very essence of God in the Flesh. While on the earth Jesus did not attempt to do His Own thing, but submitted to the will of the Father. His only agenda was to accomplish the desires of the Father. By complete surrender to His will, Jesus finished the work the Father gave Him. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus is able to bring many into an eternal relationship with God. Hence, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29, emphasis added, KJV). Jesus manifested God’s love, hence, He is Perfect Perfection personified.
One who is not perfect is incapable of perfection in of himself. He cannot make himself perfect; that requires someone Greater than himself -God. It is good to aspire to walk perfectly before the Father as Jesus did; in fact, we are to conform to His image. It is not a question of whether we are to walk like Jesus; it is a question of methodology. That is to say, it is the way we do things that make the difference. It is one thing to do a “good thing”; it is another to do the right thing. The former is based upon self-righteous acts, while the latter is based upon the faith of Jesus. What we do does not make us righteous; it is who we are in Christ Jesus.
True righteous acts are the result of the true righteous work accomplished in us, just as it is written, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10, emphasis added, KJV). It is God Who conforms us to the image of Jesus; we do not conform ourselves. Rather, we surrender to the process He takes us though to accomplish it. Otherwise, we will be swallowed up in pride as we yield to self-righteousness. We will be trapped into comparing ourselves to others, while still falling short of the glory of God (see Romans 3:23). Remember, acts of self-righteousness only glorify the self, which has nothing to do with glorifying God.
In the Kingdom of God, there is no such thing as “the self-made man”; there is only the new man given to us through Jesus Christ our Lord (see Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). If we attempt to conform ourselves into the image of Jesus, we may fall into Satan’s trap: “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14). That is not a good place to be. If we want to conform to the image of Jesus, we simply need to surrender to the One Who does the conforming. It takes a lot of pressure off us, and keeps us from telling the Father, “I’ll do better next time,” when we fall flat on our face while trying to do things our way. Remember, “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6, KJV).