Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"Swans" Part 5

    Few truths more challenge born again believers to live up to our spiritual inheritance in Christ than the Apostle Paul's challenge that we view ourselves in the light and image of God's glory.

   "Beholding as in a glass the glory of God, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).

   We might suppose that Paul's reference to a glass involves a window whereby we look outward and away to glory.  This is the not, however, the meaning of the original Greek from which the word glass originates.  "Katoptrizo" means mirror.  Thus, the Apostle commands that we look upon our own reflection to behold the glory of the Lord in order to more and more transformed into His spiritual and moral likeness.  Our initial reaction might be that a gaze into God's mirror would more appropriately reflect an ugly duckling than a swan.  Scripture nonetheless calls us to reckon ourselves in the affirmative terms of being "alive unto God," while acknowledging the fact that we presently possess the ongoing fleshly potential for sin (Romans 6:11; see Part 3 of this series).

   The key to understanding Paul's command lies in his epistle to the Colossians, wherein he references the gracious gift of "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27).  Herein we discover that our Lord's salvation constitutes us as the dwelling place of the Spirit of the Lord Jesus.  We must never view ourselves as just ourselves, but rather as ourselves spiritually united to Christ.  Indeed, failure to see ourselves accordingly inevitably sets us up for failure to live accordingly.  We walk in darkness if we think of ourselves in the forlorn and lonely terms of being the same empty vessels we were before we believed.  We are rather ourselves as inhabited by the Holy Spirit.  Gazing into God's mirror thus reveals the wonder of a "new man, created in righteousness and true holiness" because Christ dwells with and within us (Ephesians 2:24).  The degree to which we discover, grow, and avail ourselves of the power of such truth by faith will largely determine the quality of our Christian experience.

  Such truth presents us with the greatest challenge of our lives.  Namely, we have no excuse for failure to walk in consistent and growing faithfulness to God.  The image in the mirror commands and demands that we view ourselves as supercharged vessels of righteousness.  Christ constitutes the power and enabling for such ability, but we are the scene in which such Divine might resides.  If we sin, we oppose ourselves by walking after the law of sin in our flesh rather than "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" that indwells and pervades the person we are in Him - "ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you (Romans 8:2; 9).   Every excuse fades into oblivion in the light of this grace-given newness of life and being in Christ.  We are swans.  Such truth calls us to live accordingly - "if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."

(Ephesians 3:20-21; emphasis added)

Weekly Memory Verse

    Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; that the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus."

(Philemon 1:5-6)

No comments: