Tuesday, July 7, 2015

God in Human Flesh

God can be seen as an abstraction; how can we understand what He was really like? And does He really understand us and sympathize with our blight? And how are God's commands to be lived out in a real human life? God answered these questions by becoming a man. Now God became a man not just to reveal Himself but also to save us (Romans 5:8; 3:24-32; Hebrews 2:9-16). But to do that He needs to show what He really is like and what he really requires.

Christ reveals to us of what God is like (John 1:18; 14:9,10; Hebrews 1:3). He is loving and compassionate (Luke 13:10-17; John 11:30-44; Matthew 19:13-15) and reaches out to those regarded as undeserving (John 4:9-26; 8:1-11; Luke 19:1-10). But He holds up a strong standard against all wrong-doing (Matthew 5:21-48; 6:1-24; Luke 10:25-37) and rebuked those who mistakenly thought they were upright (Matthew 23:1-15; 15:1-14; John 2:13-22). He states we are all sinners (Matthew 7:11; John 3:19-21; 15:5) and He has come to save us (John 3:14-18; Matthew 9:10-13; Mark 10:45). And it is those who humble themselves and admit their sin who will be saved (Luke 18:9-14; 7:36-50; Matthew 20:1-16). We see here the gospel that God saves sinners (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9) by grace  (Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5,6; Galatians 2:21). But He is a person and not a formula. He does not always do what we would predict or act as we expect.

We are commanded as His people to be like Him (Philippians 2:5-11; Ephesians 5:1,2; 2 Corinthians 8:9). And God's goal is to produce that in us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 8:28-30; 1 John 3:2). But the example of Christ only condemns us apart from His forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:13,14; 1 Peter 2:24,25) and His power to change us (2 Peter 1:3; Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:29). But if God is at work in us Christ's character becomes the blueprint for who we are becoming (Philippians 3:12-16; Hebrews 12:1,2; Romans 12:1,2).

But does God really know what we are going through to sympathize and help us (Hebrews 2:17,18; 4:14-16; Luke 4:1-13).  It is easy to see God as someone who sits off in an ivory tower somewhere and does not really understand us. But here is one who was born into a poor family (Luke 2:24). Was accused of being conceived outside of wedlock (John 8:41). Who probably lost His foster father at an early age. Became a wandering preacher with no permanent  place to lay His head (Mathew 8:20). Was betrayed by a friend (John 13:21,22). And ended up dying a criminal's death (Matthew 20:17,18). And this while remaining unmoved by the constant temptations to which human flesh is prone.

Now these things where all the groundwork for the work of redemption. But unless you know who God is you cannot understand that work.

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