Monday, September 21, 2015

"Who and What"

     Who do born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ see when we look in the mirror?

    The answer is nobody.  We do not see a "who", but rather a "what".  "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you… That which is born of the spirit is spirit" (Romans 8:9; John 3:6).  Our bodies are not our selves.  We exist rather as a spirit united to the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ.  "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (I Corinthians 6:17).  Our bodies serve as the physical components of the entirety of our being, and matter greatly in God's purposes of conforming His trusting sons and daughters in Christ to the Lord Jesus.  "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thessalonians 5:23).  Our bodies, however, must not be viewed as the person we most deeply are, or as the site and scene where God dwells and works to reveal His "hope of glory" in the Lord Jesus (Colossians 1:23).  Our spirits rather serve as that grace-blessed and hallowed venue.  "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord" (Proverbs 20:27).

    Few truths of Scripture more liberate and empower us, especially in a generation seemingly more fixated on flesh than any other.  The Apostle Paul referenced such enabling in his epistle to the Romans:

    "I delight in the law of God after the inward man.  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into the captivity to the law of sin which is in my members... So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the the flesh the law of sin" (Romans 7:22; 25).

    Note the dichotomy.  Paul delights in the law of God "after the inward man."  He serves that law "with the mind, I myself." Here he references his spirit, as joined to the indwelling Holy Spirit, who works in believers "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:23).   In the Apostle's body, however, a law of sin exists that, left to itself, will lead to an unnecessary captivity to the sin whose mastery has been nullified through Christ.  "Now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness" (Romans 6:22).  Paul knew the truth and reality of being a spirit, but having a body.  Again, the words of the Lord Jesus - "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (emphasis added).  Moreover, he realized that a work of grace and change has been accomplished deeply within believers that is not yet accomplished in our bodies.  "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature… "We ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the redemption of our bodies" (II Corinthians 5:17; Romans 8:23).

    Back to the mirror.  The next time you look into one of those infernal devices (!), rejoice that the image you see is a reflection not of a "who" but of a "what".  We cannot see our selves in the mirror… but, well, yes we can!  "Beholding as in a glass (mirror) the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).  Our Heavenly Father offers to us a spiritual mirror, one in which He would have us see His glory, or rather, "the hope of glory, which is Christ in you" (Colossians 1:23).  His Word is the mirror, declaring to us that if we have believed in the Lord Jesus, His Spirit dwells within the depths of our innermost being, wedded to our spirits as the very Life of our lives.  This wondrous hope of glory provides the primary reason we must realize that the reflection in physical mirrors does not present our "who".  We are not physically united to the Lord Jesus.  He has His own glorified body.   Thus, if we think of our bodies as our selves, we inevitably miss the wonder of who God redeemed us to be, namely, the spiritual dwelling place of His Son.  Again, our bodies are vital components  of what we are.  But they are not who we are.  Let us rejoice for this redemption in Christ that provides His enlivening presence in that part of us which comprises the very heart of us…

"Your life is hid with Christ in God."
(Colossians 3:3)
"Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
(Romans 6:11)
"Every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor."
(I Thessalonians 4:4)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Ye are not in the flesh but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.
(Romans 8:9)

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