LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Word Picture

...the glory of Christ, who is the image of God
(2 Corinthians 4:4 – ESV)

In 2 Corinthians 3:18 we are told that those who are beholding the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory. And we are told that this change is by the Spirit of the Lord. We were made in the image of God, but that image was marred by the fall of man into sin. Now when we are born again, we begin to be transformed into Christ’s image. As we behold Him, the Spirit of the Lord changes us. The question is, how do we “behold” Him?

In this passage and our text above, the word image is “icon”, or picture, figure, representation. There are some churches that believe in having pictures that depict biblical persons or scenes and relics and such. They say they don’t worship them but they venerate, or revere them. I’m not so sure about all that, but in any event, that isn’t what the Apostle Paul means when he says we are to behold Christ.

We don’t become more like Jesus by looking at pictures we made, but by looking at the picture God has drawn, the “Word” Picture. The most beautiful pictures made by man can capture a sense of but not the substance of the real thing. However, God through the miraculous inspiration of the Holy Spirit gives us something of the substance of His Son in the words of scripture. In the bible we see Christ as He is, not in fullness but in truth. It is untainted by conception and aided by divine revelation.

Those things we think bring us closer to God, like a beautiful sunset, inspiring music, a thoughtful story, etc., are wonderful, and they serve a useful purpose, but the beauty of these things is only a shadow. They do not mediate the revelation of God to us or invoke the presence of God among us (1 Timothy 2:5). If those things inspire us to pray and give thanks to God for His creation and His common grace, then well. If we think those things bring special revelation of the saving kind, or that they are a ticket to the throne room, then we are in big trouble.

We are to come boldly before the throne of God by our prayers, not by our pictures (Hebrews 4:16). When James tells us to “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you ”, (James 4:8 – ESV) he means through the bible, prayer, and resisting Satan, not by looking at some artists conception, or by some means of grace not found in the Word.

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6 Comments:

Blogger mark pierson said...

Excellent! Let us stay in the Word. Let us meditate on it day and night. If music helps you in your meditation of the Word, great. Meditate on the Word. Cows chew the cud. How many stomachs do they have? Bottom line, they digest food very efficiently. So should we with the Word.

January 08, 2008 7:35 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Amen. All the beauty of art and music can point to Chirst, but should never be the focus of our attention or worship.........

January 08, 2008 8:56 AM

 
Blogger Even So... said...

Word Up...

January 08, 2008 10:52 AM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

Good thoughts.

It's not the person that reads the most..... but the person who meditates most that is more fulfilled. We can read the whole Bible and still not understand much of it but when we meditate on the Word..the Bible comes alive. There is so much in just one verse, there is so much in just 2 words as we meditate and study.
Great Post J. D.

Cristina

January 08, 2008 7:00 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Every single comment here is excellent!

Mark, your cow comment will keep me laughing all day.

Jazzy, amen! I'm having this *same* discussion with folks on a knitting forum; I posed the question if our craft can become an idol (knowing full well it can). Sadly, some folks are getting riled up about it; I suspect they're not ready to consider to loosen their grip on their idol (yet, I hope).

JD, fashizzle!

Cristina,
You and James are in my prayers. And you are SO right in that it's not how much, but how - what is in our heart, rather than just our head.

January 09, 2008 1:56 PM

 
Blogger Even So... said...

Susan, wait till you see the post I am about to put up, talk about an idol, but also a subtle thing, it is coming, so get ready...

January 09, 2008 2:22 PM

 

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