In the Image of God

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet is without sin.”

“For in order to be a suitable high priest, He had to be made like His brethren in every way, sin excepting.”

“He is the image of the invisible God.”

“He is the radiance of His glory and the exact imprint of His nature.”

“’Let Us make man after Our image, in Our likeness.’ So God created man in the image of God; in the likeness of God He created him.”

The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Son, Word, and Image of the Father was incarnated and became man, in the womb of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit. Many thousands of years earlier, God made Adam out of the dust of the earth in His own image. Continue reading “In the Image of God”

The Sovereign Love of God

I love the thought that God is completely sovereign over all the details of my life – and the world. It is, to me, a great expression of His love and a necessary ground of my great confidence in Him. I need not fear any failure of mine, any sin, any weakness: God in love is sovereign, and He will not permit the purposes of His love to fail because of my sinfulness. When I proclaim the Gospel, I need not fear either my inadequacy or my sin, because God is in control, and He loves me and everyone else. I need not fear any power of man: if I am tortured, God’s love will have chosen – out of perfect, stunning, all-encompassing love that staggers all imagination, love tenderer than a mother’s love for her newborn child and I mean that! – every throb of pain, every firing of the nerves, every detail, great or small, whether of intensity or quality or anything else, so that I will receive it as by His tender lovingkindness. When I look around at the world, I know that the brightness and colors of the clouds at sunset, that every hair on every blade of grass, is what and where it is because of God’s express will, Continue reading “The Sovereign Love of God”

The Reward of Christ and the Glory in His Saints

“He is coming, and His reward is with Him and His recompense accompanies Him.”

Whenever I read or remember these words I see two pictures in my mind, that mean the same thing: I see Jesus, coming, with all His holy ones, redeemed by His blood, around Him, the reward of His suffering, the recompense of His blood. I see Jesus, coming, to give Himself in fullness of glory to all His own. For, we read also, “We do not yet know what we shall be, but we know that we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is,” and, “Righteous Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me, where I am, so that they may see My glory, the glory which You have given Me because You loved Me before the world was.” In Revelations, we read that they sing, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain… for You purchased for God a people with Your blood, out of every nation, language, and tribe, and they shall be a kingdom and priests to our God.”

I believe there is only One who will be praised, honored, and rewarded for His deeds: Jesus Christ. Continue reading “The Reward of Christ and the Glory in His Saints”

The Gift of God: The Worthiness of Christ to Eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood

“The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had blessed it, broke it, saying, ‘This is My body.’ In the same manner, after supper, He took the cup and said, ‘This is My blood of the new covenant; do this as often as you drink it.’ For whenever you eat this bread or drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. For this reason, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup in an unworthy manner shall be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. But whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup should examine himself, and in so doing he is to partake of the body and blood of the Lord… If we judged ourselves, we would not be judged by the Lord, for when we are judged by the Lord we are disciplined by Him, so that we will not be condemned along with the world.”

This passage is a beautiful promise, very much like other passages, such as, “Whatever you ask in My Name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son,” and, “Until now, you have not asked for anything in My Name. Ask, and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” When we partake of the bread that is His body and the wine that is His blood, we are pledging ourselves to Him: we are acting our desire and request to be made one with Him and in Him, as He prayed for us in John chapter 17. We are proclaiming the death of the Lord – that Christ died, and that we live by His death, and that all our hope is in the return in glory of this same Living Lord, of which we have no doubt. So, when it says, “When we are judged by the Lord we are disciplined by Him, so that we will not be condemned along with the world,” it is saying that when we seek this union with His Son, when we accept the union Jesus prayed for us, God will fulfill His promise, He will unite us with Christ, He will fulfill the desire of our hearts. Continue reading “The Gift of God: The Worthiness of Christ to Eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood”

Grace and Truth: Perfection and Joy in Jesus and His Finished Work

“Be perfect, therefore, as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

“What shall I render to YHWH for all His benefits to me? I shall take up the cup of salvation and go into the House of YHWH.”

“The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.”

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.”

“God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

“If we confess our sin, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

“Rejoice in the Lord. I will say it again, rejoice.”

“Your righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and the pharisees.”

“I press forward to the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

“All things are lawful, but not all things are edifying.”

“For them I sanctify Myself, that they too may be sanctified in Truth.”

As Christians, we are not content with anything less than spotless holiness. What we want is to be like Jesus Christ, our Master and Redeemer. The Holy Spirit lives in us, and we hate sin – we hate sin to the death, literally. We would crucify the flesh and its passions. Indeed, we want to be perfect for our God: anything less than absolute, pure perfection is abominable to us, as it is to Him. It is for this reason that I hate the term ‘Christian morals.’ There is no such thing. Christianity is not about morality. Even the strictest code of morality is minimalistic from our perspective; we do not want to be moral, but holy. We are not content with rules we can pass; it is our desire to be spotless, perfect and righteous throughout our entire being, in our thoughts, in our attitudes, in our words, in our actions, in all things. The absolute holiness of Jesus Christ Himself is our standard and our desire. Continue reading “Grace and Truth: Perfection and Joy in Jesus and His Finished Work”

Love’s Wounds in Beauty Glorified: The Christian’s Comfort in the Scars of Christ

“And in the midst of the throne, there stood a Lamb, standing as if slain.”

“Put your fingers here in my hands and your hand in my side.”

“Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, let us hold firm our confession of faith. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we ourselves, yet without sin.”

“It was fitting for the Messiah to suffer these things, and so to enter His glory.”

“He who descended to the depths is He who ascended to the heights, in order that He might fill all in all.”

Enthroned in heaven, His humanity glorified with the glory of God, Jesus bears the scars of His crucifixion. God is everywhere, and all of God is everywhere. “All things were made through Him, and apart from Him was made nothing that was made.” Again, it is spoken of the Word, “Who upholds all things by the word of His power.” Again, it is written, “In Him all things hold together.” In a beautiful psalm, we read, “If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. Behold, if I take the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will uphold me.” Continue reading “Love’s Wounds in Beauty Glorified: The Christian’s Comfort in the Scars of Christ”

The Glorified Humanity of Christ

In the first chapter of Romans, there is a verse which some translations render, “declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection,” and which another renders, “by the resurrection, appointed to be the Son of God with power.”

I am not here interested in which is the more faithful translation of the Greek, for both emphasize different truths (if they are, indeed, different truths). The resurrection is the greatest proof of Jesus’ deity; it is the greatest proof that He is indeed, who He claimed to be, one with the Almighty and the Almighty Himself; the Son of God who will come on the clouds of heaven at the right hand of the Majesty; the one whose acknowledgement is eternal life and whose disregard and condemnation is everlasting death. When God raised Jesus from the dead, He proved to the whole world that Jesus is His beloved Son and said to humanity with a voice louder than that with which He spoke at Jesus’ baptism in the river Jordan and on the mountain of transfiguration, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased: listen to Him!” Continue reading “The Glorified Humanity of Christ”

Salvation: Heaven From the Foundations of the World

“Those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. Those He predestined, He also called. Those He called He also justified. Those He justified He also glorified.”

This indicates something of the nature of salvation to me. Salvation is an eternal work. In Philippians, Paul writes, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure.”

Salvation is the action of God. Just as Jesus is “the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world,” so salvation is eternal. God has not only foreknown and predestined His children from before the world began. He has also justified them and even glorified them Continue reading “Salvation: Heaven From the Foundations of the World”

Salvation: Sharing in the Life of the Triune God

One of the most mind-boggling verses in all the Scriptures may be: “I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one, Father, You in Me and I in them. May they be brought to complete unity that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” The Scriptures abound with similar promises. “To him who overcomes, I will give to sit with Me on My throne, even as I have overcome and sat down with My Father on His throne.” “I know My sheep and My sheep know Me, even as I know the Father and the Father knows Me.”

The goal of the Christian life, salvation itself, is, apparently, a participation in the life of the Trinity. This may well be the greatest mystery in Christianity; Continue reading “Salvation: Sharing in the Life of the Triune God”

I Will Look Upon Your Face in Righteousness: How Can I Envy Though My Enemies Have All Their Desire

I was reading Psalm 17:15 and verse 15 specifically stood out to me. “As for me, I will look upon Your face in righteousness, I will be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” In the context on the previous verses, “Arise, O YHWH, confront him, bring him low; Deliver my soul from the wicked with Your sword and from men with Your hand, O YHWH, from men of this world whose portion is in this life and whose belly You fill with Your treasure; They are satisfied with children, they leave their abundance to their babes,” 15 is powerful. It is as if David is saying, “How can I envy, even though my enemies have all their desire? Yes, Lord, give my enemies all that this world can offer, if You will. It does not concern me. I have something far greater, far better, far more everlasting. I shall look upon Your face in righteousness, I shall be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake, You who are my only good. [Ps. 16:2]” Continue reading “I Will Look Upon Your Face in Righteousness: How Can I Envy Though My Enemies Have All Their Desire”