The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"His Gaze of Grace"
What is God's primary perspective of born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ? The answer may surprise us.
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you" (I Corinthians 3:16).
Note the Apostle Paul did not bestow this affirmation upon believers faithfully walking with their Lord. He rather directed his words to a church steeped in sin and failure:
"Ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" (I Corinthians 3:2).
Division characterized only one of the Corinthian church's problems. Sexual immorality, legal disputes among believers, marital issues, and even disrespect of the Lord's supper plagued the Corinthian fellowship. Paul nevertheless identified his faltering brethren as the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and the temple of God. In fact, the Apostle's first application of truth in seeking to deal with the Corinthians' problems involved the affirmation of their spiritual union with the Lord Jesus:
"Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (I Corinthians 1:30).
This gives us a clue as to God's first view of believers. He sees the entirety of our being, of course, and of our doings. "All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:13). Certainly, our Father works in our lives accordingly. However, whatever of our response to Him may present itself to His pervasive gaze, we can be sure the first view involves the presence of His Son within our Spirits. "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6).
Many reasons account for this gaze of grace. Primarily, that which made possible our Lord's eternally abiding presence in our hearts provides the most important basis for how He views His trusting children in Christ.
"He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21).
It is one thing that the Lord Jesus bore our sins (I Peter 2:24). It is another that He was "made to be sin for us." What can this mean? What can this denote of spiritual darkness and moral horror in the sensibilities of a perfectly righteous Being? We will never know. We can and must, however, know this: such a sacrifice made possible God's provision of wondrously heart-changing grace within the innermost depths of our spiritual being.
"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:21).
If God gave His Son to the cross to make possible and actual His giving of the Holy Spirit to our hearts, could it be that He sees us with any other essential focus? If He poured out His wrath on the Lord Jesus so that He might pour out His Spirit into our spirits, will He ever overlook the reality of "Christ in you, the hope of glory?" (Colossians 1:27). If He left His beloved Lord Jesus to die alone in order to make possible His presence within us, will He ever see us as less than "the temple of the living God?" (II Corinthians 6:16).
Find the most faithful believer on the planet in this moment. You will find one viewed by God as united to the Spirit of His Son and enrobed with His righteousness. Find the most failing believer on the planet in this moment. You will find God's view no less affixed on His faltering child's union with the Spirit of Christ. He sees the same robe of Christ's righteousness. The Lord Jesus sacrificed far too much for the Divine gaze upon us to be other or less. Certainly, our faithful or failing response to Him matters much, and He diligently works as necessary to enhance the former, and correct the latter. However, God's first gaze ever sees us in light of the cross, the empty tomb, and the Spirit of the crucified and risen Christ within us. We must join our Father in such spiritual mindedness and see ourselves accordingly. "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:11).
The Corinthians repented of their sins, being commended by the same Paul who had necessarily chastened them (II Corinthians 7:8-16). God's gaze of grace - "of Him are ye in Christ Jesus… ye are the temple of the Holy Spirit" - provided the foundational truth whereby He redeemed the Corinthians into being sons and daughters in whom He not only lived, but also walked (II Corinthians 6:16). Yes, long ago, God the Father saw His Son to be sin as He hung dying on the cross of Calvary, pouring out His wrath upon Him. Upon this most solemn and holy basis, He now and forevermore sees us as enrobed with the righteousness of His Son. Little wonder that Paul, enthralled with the truth of God's freely given salvation in Christ, exulted with the wonder of abounding sin, overcome and overwhelmed by abounding grace and its glorious gift of righteousness in Christ…
"Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Weekly Memory Verse
"Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."
(I Corinthians 1:30)
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