Monday, May 01, 2006

Without Blemish In Christ - Part 1

How many times have we looked at a mirror and saw the blemishes therein? Too often we are critical of our physical makeup - YET, unless we are slothful and negligent about our physical condition, the way we are is exactly the way God intended us to be. He not only made our bodies - imperfections (in our eyes) and all - He also made our personalities. This is expressed wonderfully in the following passage:

Psalms 139:13-16 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Where we see imperfection - God sees His perfection (completion) - His finished end product. We often look at a missing limb, a blemish, a scar, or some other physical handicap as a reason to be fretful or dissatisfied in life. But faith looks at the overall picture - the blemishes and problems we see down here will all be gone in Heaven (I am assuming that there are believers reading this blog, and I am writing these comments from that perspective), healed, made whole, perfected. What is seen as a handicap is actually to be looked upon as a reason to trust the Lord more for His strength, to lean on Him more. When we are weak, in Him we are strong. (See 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.)

Just like we are often discouraged by our physical makeup, so too we can be by our spiritual walk. While I do not want to downplay sin in any sense, often we look at our failures and sins as believers and base our standing in God's eyes on what we can currently see in our lives - ie. we consider ourselves based on our struggles, our sinful habits, our compromises. We do need to repent and forsake any sin we allow in our lives, but our value in God's sight is not based on the way we live. Sometimes the progress in godliness is slow, sometimes we falter, and sometimes we even backslide or temporarily take our eyes off of our Saviour and put them on ourselves and our situations. But the Father does not see our blemishes the same way.

When we came to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, we were put IN CHRIST. How does the Heavenly Father see us in Christ? Full of blemishes, stains, imperfections... - or does He see something else when He looks at those believers who have placed their faith personally in His Son?

Consider this Old Testament type:

When God first gave the law to the nation of Israel, He hewed it out of stone and gave it to Moses (see Exodus 32). Moses then came down from the mount and found the nation involved in idolatry and immorality. In his anger at their rebelliousness and sin he cast the two tablets of the law to the ground and they were broken. This represented the first covenant (the old testament) that fallen man had broken - when the Lord looked down from Heaven, He could see the law that the lost man had broken in His sight. (See Hebrews 8:7-8.) When He looked at mankind, He saw His broken law.

But the picture does not end there. Moses came down with newly carved tablets of stone, this time representing the second covenant - the new testament. This unbroken law was then placed in the Ark of the Covenant (which was situated within the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle), covered with the golden mercy seat, and then sprinkled with blood.

Leviticus 16:15-16 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

Like all the rest of the tabernacle furnishings, the mercy seat also represents Christ, and the blood that was shed and sprinkled on the mercy seat represents the blood that Jesus shed when He died for our sins on the cross of Calvary. Above the mercy seat dwelt the glory of God, between the cherubim. This was the very presence of God. When the Heavenly Father then looked down at the law that was placed in the Ark of the Covenant, He saw it through the blood covering the mercy seat. He saw the whole law - not a broken one - because His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, had fulfilled it completely (something which fallen man can never do). Those who come to Jesus Christ alone for salvation, trusting in His finished work of redemption, are placed IN Christ, much like the law was placed in the Ark of the Covenant, covered with the blood of Christ wiping out their sins, kept secure beneath the mercy seat - which is Christ, the propitiation for our sins. For all true believers, God no longer sees the many times we have broken His law, He sees the righteousness of the law fulfilled in us (see Romans 8:4) because we are credited with the righteousness of Christ. In Christ we are righteous - and that is what the Father sees. This is our standing IN Christ.

Now in the light of that type and what it pictured, consider these following verses, and rejoice anew in the salvation we have in Christ - the believer's standing in God's sight:

Psalms 45:13 The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.

Song of Solomon 4:7 Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.

Ephesians 1-3 primarily focusses on what we have IN Christ (the next time you read these chapters, notice how many times the Apostles Paul uses the phrases, "in Him" and "in Christ" - and realize that all the blessings that we have as believers is because we are "in Him"):

Ephesians 1:4, 6 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love... To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

These verses are also true of us, though they describe the process the Lord is doing and the end result of His work:

Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Colossians 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Colossians 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

1 Thessalonians 5:23 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.

What we are in Christ positionally right now (our standing), we will one day be in Him practically (our state). God will finish the work He has started in us the moment we turned to Him for salvation; He WILL perfect (complete) His work.

1 John 3:1-3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Jude 1:24-25 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Lord willing, tomorrow I would like to take another look at the type of the new covenant in Christ - there is still more to this wonderful picture.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Amen, Bro. Jerry. One day, our faith will be made sight! What a day that will be!!!

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