Wednesday, September 16, 2015

"The Model and the Paradigm"


(Or, Theological Anthropology 101)

    How do we best know our need for a Savior?  The answer lies in the Savior Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ.

    "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17).

    This Divine affirmation sounded forth after the baptism of the Lord Jesus, and at the beginning of His ministry.  Our Lord had lived three decades in near obscurity, faithfully doing His Father's will in the normal circumstances of a life lived as we live it.  He was tempted more than any other - "in all points" - and He overcame every challenge to His character and the fulfillment of the will of God (Hebrewss 4:15).  Perfection characterized His attitudes, words, deeds, and relatings to God and humanity.  Thus, He became human and lived as a man in pristine purity, and in God's definition of what it means to be a human being.  He is humanity as God made humanity to be, and here is the illumination that reveals how much we need Him to redeem us from our sins.  Indeed, if we cannot say that from the moment of our conception until this moment, we are just like the Lord Jesus in character, nature, and way, then we must confess that we need a Savior.  Christ alone fulfills the standard and model of humanity, and God accepts only Him or those just like Him.  "Ye should follow His steps, who did no sin" (I Peter 2:21-23).

    The law of Moses was Christ in legal, moral, and ritualistic command and foreshadowing.  God's chosen earthly people, Israel, did not and could not attain to its (His) lofty standard of love, devotion, commitment, and obedience.  God's chosen man, the Lord Jesus, did attain to the standard, even as He declared to John the Baptist, "Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15).  Because He had no sin of His own, the Lord could therefore die for the sins of others.  This we desperately needed because, again, if we are not just like the Lord Jesus Christ in character, nature, and way, we need this same glorious One to save us from our failure to be like Him.  This He does in all who trust Him as Redeemer because we are not like Him as the Model and Paradigm of humanity.

    Throughout history, nearly every generation of Christians has bemoaned the fact that "people just aren't as sensitive to sin and sorry for it as they should be."  This often leads preachers to focus more on the seriousness of sin and sinfulness, a proper Biblical teaching as long as it correlates with the emphasis of Scripture.  However, the best way to know the darkness of unrighteousness is to look upon the light of "Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 2:1).  "In Thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9).  The more we proclaim His character, nature, and way in accordance with the Word of God, the more it becomes clear that in and of ourselves, we cannot attain to His pristine spiritual and moral standard (the only human standard God accepts).  It comes down to this: we must either be perfectly like Him, or we must have His perfection spiritually imputed to us as a free gift (and then progressively infused into our character and way as we walk with our Lord by faith).  There are no other options, nor do we need any other.  Thus, we preach Christ only for the glory of God and the illumination of His righteousness that first reveals the contrast between Him and ourselves, and then redeems those who receive the grace bestowed by Him upon ourselves.

"He hath made us accepted in the Beloved."
(Ephesians 1:6)

Weekly Memory Verse
    But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice.  Let them shout for joy because Thou defendest them.  Let them also that love Thy name be joyful in Thee.
(Psalm 5:11)

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