Tag Archives: submission

Christ In YOUR Image

Christ In Your Image BaptismForLife.wordpress.comLast week, we began a series of posts, based on a book by Dr. Paul Brand, and Philip Yancey entitled “In His Image”. In that post, we talked about our ability to properly ‘discern’ the Body of Christ. When you and I think of the concept of what we are, and being transformed into that type of magnificent being “from glory to glory,” there is a disconnect for many of us because we feel so ‘ordinary.’ In the society around us — so driven by media hype, and adoration of those few “beautiful people” at the top — most of us feel very ‘inferior’ to those chosen few, selected from the gene pool of humanity for fame, beauty, and fortune.

Yet the entire plan of God for mankind does not focus on that top rung of human society. Rather, the “One Sent” as the representative of the Godhead to mankind purposely aimed His entire ministry at the oppressed “inferiors” of the human realm, and NOT at the rich, or famous, or powerful, or beautiful.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. (Isa. 61:1-3)

We might think that that, in itself, is a magnanimous thing for so great a being to do … to invest His time and effort in a ministry aimed at comforting the poor, oppressed and depressed dregs of humanity down here, but what speaks to us even more loudly than His preaching is that to better serve us, He became one of us.

But made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Phil. 2:7-8)

So He purposefully divested Himself of the very things human beings so earnestly covet; fame, fortune, power, glory, honor, pride, and beauty, to become … an ordinary man.

Since you and I ARE human, and we think of Him as a “perfect” being, we can still fall into the trap of thinking that He gave Himself some physical advantage, as well as the perfection of the Spirit we know He had, but there is no indication of that in the descriptions we’re given.

For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. (Isa. 53:2)

The Hebrew word for “form”  is to-ar (H8389), a masculine noun meaning form, appearance, beauty. It refers to the contours, and outward form of something. The word “comeliness” is hadar (H1926 hadar), and it means glory, splendor, majesty. Elsewhere, it is used to describe the impressive character of God, and His magnificent beauty. Christ’s human physical body did NOT have any of that to attract people to Him.  In fact, because He was “nothing special” physically, it was easy for human beings to “despise and reject Him”, and He was more fully able to identify with the human condition because of this.   He knew the sorrow and grief of being ostracized, ignored, and mocked, as “unimportant” and even “ugly” people often are.   “He bore OUR griefs, and carried OUR sorrows” vs. 4.

If you or I could choose any ‘form’ we wanted to as a human man or woman, what would it be? Well, this great Being — the greatest spiritual man to ever live in a physical body — chose to live that life in an ordinary, unimpressive body specifically so that He could truly identify with the ‘least’ of us.

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:14-16)

This being came to earth in a lowly form … in OUR IMAGE … so that He could identify with the real human condition of you and I.  The magnificent Word, the Son of God, the One Sent, the King of Kings,  literally chose to “walk a mile in YOUR shoes”, so the He could more intimately know YOU, and serve your needs!

Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him (Heb. 5:7-9)

In every case, Christ identified with the lowly in life — healing the paralytic, the blind, the demon-possessed, and the infirm masses. In parables, He held up Lazerus against the rich man and the grief-stricken, repentant tax collector against the self-glorified Publican. Always, “the least of these” are the ones He identifies with as “My brethren.”

However “unworthy” we might consider ourselves — and we ARE all unworthy of Him — He has made every effort to fully identify with us in the human condition, taking physical form in our unimpressive likeness, so that we could identify more fully with Him and come to believe in the “impossible” prospect that we “ordinary people” could really be created IN HIS IMAGE.

 

Children of Our Father

Remember the young guy in Matthew 19 that asked Christ what he could do to inherit eternal life? Christ told him to keep the commandments, and this young man was elated because he was already doing the lightweight stuff … the letter of the law things that human beings think make them “good people.” But then Christ gave him a heavy weight, and everything changed. “He went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Matt. 19:22). Isn’t that the way most of us are???

To Be Like Him

Christ used the example of the rich young man to teach His disciples that it is hard for a rich man to enter His kingdom, saying “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” This caused the disciples to ask a question that has often come to my own mind, “Who then can be saved?”

 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:18-22)

Do I want to lift that weight? To really be like Him? Verse 21 tells us the the reason we were called is to follow Christ’s example … not just to see it from afar and marvel at it!

who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:23-25)

Verse 23 has always been a killer for me, brethren, because I was raised to hate injustice. It’s almost automatic when somebody hits you, you want to hit back … only harder! When they yell at you … to yell louder … to hurl a more cutting insult … a more penetrating jab. But to follow Christ’s example, we have to give up the smart comebacks, the “reviling in return,” and the threatening. There’s only one reason I’d want to do that … to follow His example, and in so doing, to return to the Shepherd, Overseer and Guardian of my soul.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matt. 5:43-44)

This seemed so easy when it was just those faceless people out there in the mainstream persecuting us for keeping the Sabbath. It was more impersonal back then. During the last 20 years though, things have radically changed in the churches of God. We are a divided house, and the situation being what it is opens the door for some things to be said and done that we should never participate in.

Bless means to speak well of … to wish good things for. Curse means to give one over to ruin … to wish evil upon them … A natural, human, and easy thing to do when someone is cursing you!

A Prayer Request

BaptismForLife.wordpress.comWe all hear many urgent prayer requests, brethren. There is much illness and suffering in the churches of God today, and many prayer requests each week, but I would submit to you that Christ Himself is giving us an urgent ‘prayer request’ here in the last sentence in vs. 44.

What Christ is doing here with this ‘prayer request’ is presenting us with a great opportunity to prove something to His father … that we want to be His sons and daughters enough to do whatever He asks us to do. Let’s look at verse 44 again, with the rest of the sentence going on into verse 45.

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.(Matt. 5:44-45)

I’d like to examine this phrase a little more closely. “That you may be children of your Father” — The words, “you may be” G1096, ginomai mean: to come into existence, be made, to be ordained to be, turned into.   We are to be “formed in the image” of His firstborn son, who reviled not nor threatened, but committed His cause to the Father.

For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. (1 Cor. 11:18)

You see, there have been divisions and abuses and heresies in the churches of God from the start,  but it has always been allowed to happen for a purpose. It’s so that those who want to be children of their Father can rise above it and be made in the image of Christ.

And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”And they divided His garments and cast lots. (Luke 23:33-34)

The first words He spoke after the scourging, and after the excruciating pain of being actually nailed to the stake were, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Brethren, in the midst of the turmoil and conflict that exists in the end-time churches of God, God is offering us an opportunity to distinguish ourselves as his children by answering a simple ‘prayer request’ from Jesus Christ: “Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” The reward for doing so is very great indeed … that we may be the children of our Father in heaven.

The Things That Be Of God

Self reflection is such a big part of the Christian life, it can come to actually dominate our lives at times. Especially during the Passover season, we all are admonished every year to examine ourselves with the intent of taking the symbols of the Passover in a “worthy manner”. Then during the days that follow the Passover, I always wonder if I took the Passover seriously enough. Because I always could have taken even more time to study and pray … even to fast.

This year seemed to be an even more intense time of reflection because this winter and spring marks the 20 year anniversary of the events that took place in 1995, when those of us in the Worldwide Church of God were faced with some really serious life-altering spiritual choices, and not just passive choices you can make between yourself and God in your prayer closet, but open public choices that effected friendships and family.

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

So the people answered and said: “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods” (Joshua 24:15-16)

Joshua himself is quoted as making this very public choice in the hearing of the children of Israel. The people agreed to follow his lead in this and they did … until Joshua died. Then they forsook the Lord and began to serve false Gods.

Two Choices

In Matthew 16, Jesus, the Christ of God, drew a very sharp contrast between two mindsets, and two very divergent ways of life for the disciple Peter. Let’s begin with a question Christ put to His disciples.

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:13-19)

Peter must have been on top of the world at this moment. He may have briefly been the first believer in the “Primacy of Peter” doctrine, because he had been praised and exalted by the Master Himself here. But that’s not the end of the narrative here. We’re in the middle of the story.

Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”

But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matt. 16:20-23)

Peter, fresh off the experience of identifying the Christ of God, under the verified inspiration of God Himself … was pretty self-confident. The word “rebuke” here is a pretty strong word, epitemao in the Greek. It means to censure, admonish, forbid, to straightly charge. Not something you’d expect a student to do with his Master. Then in verse 23, Christ lowers the boom. So much for the “primacy of Peter” doctrine.

BaptismForLife.wordpress.comThere are two distinct directional attitudes, or mind sets evident here that are as different as the east is from the west. And we’ve all heard messages based on the Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken”. “Two paths diverged in a yellow wood … I took the one less traveled by … and that made all the difference!

I like the wording of verse 23 in the King James version: “you SAVOR not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.” The word “savor” is phroneo in the Greek, and means, to exercise the mind, to intensely interest oneself in with concern for obedience. In this case, “the “things that be of GOD” were coming to Peter directly from the mouth of Messiah God, but he had his own thoughts on the matter.

Brethren, I don’t know if there has ever been a time in church history when it’s been more difficult to be sure what we savor. It just seems like there are distractions everywhere. The pace of life is becoming more and more frantic. There’s economic pressure, social pressure, societal dysfunction, increasing violence, and persecution as we’ve never seen before. I read an article last week on the most persecuted religion on earth today, and this author concluded it was Christianity! Twenty years ago, I wouldn’t have thought it likely that there would be this level of active persecution in this country.

What Do You Savor?

So how can you and I be sure we are “savoring” the things that be of God? Peter was after all saying something here that we would all have agreed with. It was not his will that his Messiah would die — “I don’t want that to happen to you, Lord!” The innocent Messiah of God having to die for the guilty? That didn’t make sense to Peter, and it probably wouldn’t have to us if we were in his shoes. But really, what Peter wanted was for his own human will to be done.

Sentiments like that , even if they make perfect sense to us, are “the things that be of men” if they aren’t in line with the will and plan of God. The only way I know of to be “savoring” the things that be of God in times of increasing persecution is to have our noses in His Holy Book every day with an attitude of submission to GODS will.

Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Rev. 3:10

These words in Christ’s letter to the Philadelphians are easy to savor, aren’t they?  It is very easy to submit to God’s words when they align with our own will. As Peter found out though, it isn’t always that easy.

So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”

And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. (Rev. 13:4-10)

These too are the words, the things, that be of God. Do we savor them? Do we savor all the words of God, even the ones that are hard to hear? If we keep reading in Matthew 16, we see that Christ knew savoring God’s way of life isn’t always easy, but He assures us it is well worth it. We will receive a positive reward.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (Matt. 16:24-27)

Should Christians Defend Themselves?

A good friend of mine asked a serious question about the Bible last week that I would like to answer in today’s post. The question was about Matt. 5:38-39, and 5:43-44.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. … You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matt. 5:38-39)

When we read this instruction, it gives all of us reason to scratch our heads and question ourselves, “Am I ‘Christian’ enough to DO that?” We might also wonder if Christ is really telling us not to defend ourselves. Today, I’d like to take the time to give a studied answer to this serious question.

Self-Preservation

The same Jesus Christ who said “not to resist an evil person” also advised His disciples in Luke 22:36, “he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.” Yet this was also the same Jesus who said in Matthew 26:52, after Peter had cut off Malchus’s ear in the garden, “put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”

I may be totally alone in this, but I have found it a bit confusing when I look at all of these verses together. Can’t help it … I’m human, not Superman, and … in case you’re wondering, I HAVE been smacked in the mouth a time or two, and have not retaliated!

Back on the topic of self-defense, Matthew Henry’s Commentary has this to say on Matt. 5: 39:

“this does not repeal the law of self-preservation, and the care we are to take of our families; we may avoid evil, and may resist it, so far as is necessary to our own security; but we must not render evil for evil, must not bear a grudge, nor avenge ourselves, nor study to be even with those that have treated us unkindly, but we must go beyond them by forgiving them.”

Matthew Henry also comments on Luke 22:38, saying, “The disciples hereupon enquire what strength they had, and find they had among them two swords (Luke 22:38), of which one was Peter’s. The Galileans generally traveled with swords. Christ wore none himself, but He was not against His disciples wearing them.”

I will not dismiss the practice of total pacifism. I get it … you want to obey Christ, whatever the cost, to the very spirit of His Word and His law as you read it. But I will also defend the right of the Christian who seeks to defend himself and his family with the APPROPRIATE use of a “sword” in today’s world, and I’d like to use a current story in the news to do so.

Wise And Harmless

An elderly gentleman in Texas was accosted from behind in a parking garage, and told not to turn around. Thinking some of his friends were playing a practical joke on him, he began to turn his head, and got a hard punch to the kidney for doing so. The thug took his wallet out of his back pocket, and then walked around to the passenger’s side of the car where his wife was seated, with the intention of robbing her as well. Seeing this, the man drew his weapon, and aimed it at the robber which caused him to flee the scene. He was later apprehended because his image showed up on the garage’s security cameras.

 Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.(Matt. 10:16)

There is a “wise” and “harmless” way to live in an increasingly violent world like the one we live in today — a world much like the one described in Isaiah 59, where “truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.”

Should Christians Defend Themselves?| BaptismForLife.wordpress.comThis man in Texas intended the thief no harm. He never had to fire his weapon, but he HAD protected his wife from possible harm. The only harm this gentleman suffered was a punch to the kidney, and the loss of his wallet. The thief was not injured, and faced the justice system for his crime as he should have done. Great outcome for all concerned, unless you consider the thief himself an “innocent victim” as some do today.

I will also say this. The great martyrs of the Bible were not just allowing themselves to be victims of street criminals and brigands. They were persecuted FOR THEIR FAITH, by the legal and religious authorities of the day as Christ was. The martyrs in Foxes’ Book of Martyrs were the victims of state-sanctioned religious persecution, not roving bands of street thugs.

You can probably tell by now that I’m not a big fan of “one size fits all” answers, OR of quick, pat answers as if I’m the only guy with “the right” Biblical answer to every question. Like most serious Bible questions, one quick answer doesn’t fit all situations that may arise in relation to a Christian’s self-defense, and the most obvious answer to some may not be the best answer for all situations and people.

The Relationship

“And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing. Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. (Luke 22:22-24)

This passage, from the last Passover Jesus Christ kept with His disciples, illustrates that pride was a very real problem even for those who were named as a part of the foundation of the New Testament church of God. In Matt. 26:22 it says each one of the disciples asked Him, “Lord, is it I?” when Christ said that one of them would betray Him. But from this brief moment of introspection, they went right into a dispute about who would be greatest!

This desire for self exaltation is so strong among human beings that we consider the story of Johnathan and his self-less friendship with David – who he knew would replace his father as king – a highly unusual departure from basic human nature. Self-exaltation, in one form or another is a priority for nearly every one on the planet, especially every male.

But what about the two members of the Godhead? I’d like to take a brief look at their thoughts and their ways in regard to each other.

The Greatest

There are several places in the Old Testament where God admits that He is a jealous God, but are the Father and the Son ever jealous of one another? Do they ever argue about who is greatest? Do they care if human worshipers give one of Them more honor than the other?

You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. (John 14:28)

So there you have it in plain words spoken by “the Word,” the logos himself … “my Father is greater than I.” Just to re-enforce this point a little bit, let’s read John 5.

Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. …

I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (John 5:19, 30)

Jesus, the Christ speaks of Himself as “the One sent” 48 times in the 4 gospels, and in John 4:34 He says, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” Doing what the Father wanted Him to do is what really sustained Him.  You see this same thing throughout the New Testament. Christ is always in the submissive role, and always yielding to the Father’s ways, and the Father’s thoughts and will. And we see in Hebrews 10 just how far the Son was willing to go with this submission.

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come — in the volume of the book it is written of Me — to do Your will, O God.’ (Heb. 10:5-7)

So the Father, clearly is “the greatest.” There is no argument about that between Him and the Son, so … as “the greatest,” how does He conduct Himself towards the Son?

Lord and Christ

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matt. 28:18)

The Greek word translated “authority” is exousia (G1849), and it also means delegated influence, privilege, jurisdiction, liberty, and permission. Now, if all authority was given to Him, there had to be a giver … and who could that “giver” be but His Father? This can be viewed as a measure of the love and respect of the Father for His Son, who had ‘finished the work that He was given to do’ … a son with whom He was ‘well-pleased.’ But this greater God being didn’t stop there …as He spelled out in greater detail elsewhere in the New Testament.

This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. … Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:32-33, 36)

John the baptist described Jesus as He who would “baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire” … but that’s not all, as verse 36 points out here in Acts. The title “Lord” is kurios (G2962) in the Greek, and it means owner, master, and ruler. “Christ” is from the word Christos (G5547), and it means, the anointed. So, the Father anointed Him to be the owner, master, and ruler of all mankind, who also has been given “authority over all flesh” (John 17:2).

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Eph. 1:15-23)

This is one of those sections of scripture that you have to read through real slow … thinking about the deep meaning of every word. I’ve probably done that a thousand times, and I still wonder if I’m getting it. Once again, we see something of great importance and gravity being given to Jesus, the Lord and Christ, by His Father who is … “greater” than He. Notice these gifts always include an increase of His responsibility over the welfare of humanity.

Brethren, these are just a few examples of how the “greater” God has exalted and honored the “One sent”, and, in fact has made Him to be the one indispensable link between us and Himself, and thus the goal of eternal life as well.

Hope of Eternity

In fact, there are 441 New Testament  scriptures that speak of Him in exactly those terms … as being the one in whom, through whom, by whom, and in the name of whom we have the hope of eternal life, and through whom we have our relationship with the Father, and all of this by the will and direction of God the Father, who is “the greatest.” I can think of no better area of the word of God to go to to summarize “The Relationship” than this one:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:5-11)

Notice that it glorifies God the Father when we submit ourselves to His will by honoring and glorifying His son, and confess His ownership, His mastery of, and His rulership over us as our ‘kurios‘ in all of the offices and functions to which the Father has appointed Him.
When we do that, we are “letting the mind of Christ be in us.” We are submitting our thoughts and our ways to Gods thoughts and ways. And when we do that, we come closer and closer ourselves, to being invited by these two Beings to fully participate in “The Relationship”!