(Friends: Most Saturdays for the duration of this year, I plan on sharing a message that relates to the character and nature of God, and our response thereunto. I hope you will find it helpful, and as always, thanks for allowing us to send the devotionals to you. Glen).
The Saturday Series - 29
"His Standard, Our Standard"
God's standard is Himself. He thinks, speaks, acts, and relates according to who and what He is. This involves pristine purity and a perfect way that proceeds from perfect being.
"The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works… As for God, His way is perfect" (Psalm 145:17).
Our standard is also God. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). As those originally created in God's image, He calls us to think, speak, act, and relate according to who and what He is. What our Lord does as the expression of His essence, we do by the power of His presence. We have no innate being, but rather "in Him live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). Nor do we possess independent capacity to live in a manner that reflects the Divine nature we exist to reflect. "Without Me, ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). Thus, our Heavenly Father promises to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ: "I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16). He writes His law on our hearts by inhabiting us through His Spirit (Hebrews 8:10). Our role involves responding in a lifetime of growth toward the glorification that will ultimately enable us to perfectly fulfill our standard, which again, is His standard: "Walk, even as He walked" (I John 2:6).
The Standard to which we are called first beckons us from outside ourselves - "Be ye holy, for I am holy" - and then graciously inhabits us to make possible our spiritual and moral response - "God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him" (I Peter 1:15; I John 4:9). God always equips before He commands. Thus, we live in expectation of both grace, and of "the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:11). No final culmination is possible in this lifetime, but much growth is required and to be anticipated. Our Father could not give a greater gift than to progressively make us like His Son, enabling our experience of life according to His standard. Indeed, the writer of Hebrews declares the Lord Jesus Himself to be "anointed with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows" because He "loved righteousness and hated iniquity" (Hebrews 1:9). Righteousness, obedience, and faithfulness to the Standard is joy. God knows this perfectly, and thus exists as the very essence of joy. The Lord Jesus knows it in both Divine and human terms, having eternally dwelt in His Father's gladness, and now forevermore knowing joy in its human expression. His presence in us through the indwelling Holy Spirit now makes possible our own glad hearts, progressively in this life, and perfectly in the next. The Standard thus becomes more to believers than a benchmark of behavior. We rather view it in personal terms, or rather, Christ Himself is the freely given Content of our character. The Lord Jesus is "made unto us… righteousness" (I Corinthians 1:30).
While salvation blessedly delivers us from "the wrath to come," it also delivers us to the eternal experience of God's sublime quality of being (I Thessalonians 1:10). We will forevermore discover the glory of His Person, absorb its holy light, and then "shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of our Father" (Matthew 13:43). "We shall be like Him" exulted the Apostle John of our reflecting the holy and joyous Standard of being that constitutes our Lord's innate character (I John 3:2). Presently, we seek to "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18). Thereby we discover God's Standard in His Person and His principle, and then in our hearts and subsequent manner of life...
"Beholding as in a glass 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)
Weekly Memory Verse
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.