Friday, June 6, 2014

"Swans" Conclusion

     Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ changes not only what we believe, but also the way in which we determine truth and reality.

    "Thy Word is truth" (John 17:17).

   Before Christ, we trust in our own rational and sensory faculties as our determiners of truth.  These often fail us, but they are what we have, and we use them to the most effective degree possible.  After we trust in the Lord Jesus, however, the Bible becomes our guiding Light.  "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105).  We still use our mind and senses (with far greater skill and effectiveness, actually).  However, we recognize their fallibility, and thus do not trust them as our lamp and light.  "Trust in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

   This new basis of Truth begins with our view of God.  We seek to know Him, believing that "In Thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9).  We also view others differently, realizing that God's love in us constitutes our Christ-centered new existence in terms of servitude not only to our Lord, but to people.  "We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake" (II Corinthians 4:5).  Finally, we choose to view ourselves in the light of Scripture rather than in the twilight and darkness of our human perspectives, experience, emotion, and appearance.  "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:11).

    We have primarily addressed the latter point in our consideration of believers existing as swans rather than ugly ducklings.  However, such attention to ourselves, rightly understood and assimilated, does not lead to self-emphasis and absorption.  On the contrary, the new person we are in Christ exists in the "righteousness and true holiness" of our Lord (John 4:24).  Therein, we delight in Him and in His will rather than in ourselves.  Moreover, the indwelling Spirit of Christ provides and infuses this God-centered focus by working in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).   Thus, we rightly perceive ourselves in Biblical terms not in order to dwell upon ourselves, but to rejoice in our redemption from self-centeredness through the God and others focus of our new personhood in Christ.

   To experience such "newness of life," we must believe in newness of Truth, both factually and structurally.  What does the Bible declare about you and me?  This must become our Light and our Lamp.  No longer do we base our convictions on earthly sensation, emotion, appearance, and experience.  What does the Bible say about us?  It tells us we are swans in Christ, as it were, swans who still possess the fleshly faculties and members of ugly ducklings, and who can still live accordingly.  It tells us to overcome sin and failure by believing the truth about both God and ourselves.  In the Apostle Paul's terms, we gaze upon ourselves in the mirror of God's Word to view ourselves as not merely ourselves.  We are rather ourselves, as inhabited by the Spirit of Christ.  This is truth.  Our Heavenly Father beckons us by His Word and His Spirit to believe, and to increasingly and more consistently experience the wonder of so great a gift, purchased at so great a cost…

"I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live.  Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

(Galatians 2:20)

Weekly Memory Verse

  Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

(Philippians 1:6)

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