Saturday, December 20, 2014

"I AM... I Do"

(Thanks to Phyllis S. for inspiration on this one)

"I AM… I Do"

   One of our dear Orange Moon friends referenced the wording of a verse we frequently consider in these messages.

   "His Son… 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" (Hebrews 1:2; 3).

    Why, asked our friend, did the writer reference "the word of His power" rather than "the power of His word?"  The answer lies in the personal nature of our Lord's involvement in creation.  Recall that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Word - "The Word was God" (John 1:1).  The Apostle Paul also described the Savior as "Christ, the power of God" (I Corinthians 1:24).  Thus, "the word of His power" refers in its entirety to the Lord Jesus - the Word who is the power - and again, to how completely He involves Himself in both the creation and sustaining of all things - "Without Him was not anything made that was made"… by Him all things consist" (John 1:3; Colossians 1:17).

   The order of the wording, referenced above, speaks to this intimate participation of Christ in creation, and also to the surpassing glory of His character and nature.  "Word" before "power" describes the speaking forth and expression of His purposed actions.  The Lord Jesus spoke to create and speaks to sustain, thus manifesting power as the fruit of His thought, will, and communication.  The Scriptural writer's wording and sequence implies an emphasis on the person of Christ more than on His power.  Indeed, the ability to think conceptually and to verbally express thoughts constitutes a primary feature of the essence of personhood, both in God and in humanity.  When the writer of Hebrews declares "the word of His power," he means "the capacity of the Lord Jesus to know, think, and express Himself, thus resulting in the manifestation of His ability to do."  The power of God does not originate His Word, but rather His Word begets the implementation of His ability and capacity.  Again, this emphasizes the person above the power more than a different sequencing of the rhetoric would provide.

   The emphasis of being over doing illustrates and confirms a primary Biblical teaching, namely, that with God, character always precedes capacity.  "I do" proceeds from "I AM."  

    "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, I am nothing" (I Corinthians 13:1-3).

    While Paul directs these words toward himself, the same principle resides in God.  If it were possible for love to be absent from His actions (which it is not), He would not be who He is, regardless of His mighty accomplishments.  Again, character precedes capacity.  "I AM" originates and empowers "I do."  In our current consideration, the power of God flows from His words.  We must keep paramount this order of being in God, and in ourselves.  "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).  The writer of Hebrews - and our sister's thoughtful inquiry - open for us a door of consideration that illuminates the glory of God, and the glorious acts that proceed from who He is. 

"I will speak of the glorious honor of Thy majesty, and of Thy wondrous works."
(Psalm 145:5)
"The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works."
(Psalm 145:17)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Now unto God and our Father be glory forever and ever.  Amen.
(Philippians 4:20)   

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