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].

Friday, March 21, 2008

Christ-Likeness

by Mark Pierson

Lately Ive been considering some things. I've seen some groups within Evangelicalism almost suggest that the Justification of man is the be-all and end-all for God's plans this side of the Eternal State. But I see that the Bible teaches otherwise. God has plans, plans that reveal His glory in and through the lives of those whom He saves; yes, plans that are worked out on THIS side of the grave.

Let's consider some scripture.

In the Parable of the sower, as recorded in Mark 4, we see that what is sowed is the word; yes that same "implanted word" that we are to receive with meekness in James 1:21. As we see in Mark 4:8 the seed that fell on good ground yielded a crop that sprang up, some 30, some 60, some 100.

Question: what is that which is yielded in this crop? I believe it to be the fruit of the Spirit, mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. In short the crop is Christ-likeness in varying degrees in individual Christians.

Jesus said "This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is shed for you". If we look at 2 Cor. 3:3-18 we get some insight into this new Covenant..

1)Christians are epistles of Christ to the world. vs.3

2) The Spirit of God is the writer, and our hearts are what He writes on. vs.3

3) Paul was a minister of that new covenant, that one by which the Spirit gives life. vs 6.

4) the ministry of the Spirit is more glorious than the old covenant. vs. 8.

5) the new covenant is called "the ministry of Righteousness" in verse 9.

6)Entrance into that new covenant means a veil is taken away from our eyes in Christ. vs.14-16.

7)Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. vs.17.

And now the clincher: as we look with unveiled faces at the Lord, through His word, we are transformed into the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit... Sanctification, Christlikeness, 2 Cor.3:18.

I believe that the Holy Spirit applies the whole of the new covenant to every believer in Christ. Part of what Christ accomplished on the cross was our being set free from slavery to sin in order to be slaves of Christ, no middle ground. See Romans 6:18, also Acts 3:26. We are now in Christ's kingdom, under His rule in our lives, having been put there by God the Father. Col.1:13-14. See also 1 Peter 1:2. We are now temples of the Holy Spirit and evidences of His presence in the Christian life will show. Over time we grow from glory to glory, due to the Spirit's ministry to us through His Word. The seed (the word, attended by God the Holy Spirit, for they are always in concert) once planted begins to grow, grow towards its intended end, Christlikeness, Romans 8:29.If we look at Luke's rendering of the sermon on the mount, 6:40, we see Jesus say that a perfectly trained disciple will be like his teacher. May I suggest that here we see the whole intent of Christ for His people? Look at the great commission, Matt.28:18-20...We are to:"make disciples, baptizing them, teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded.

Look also at Eph. 2:1-22. The progression begins with our having been quickened, having once been dead in tresspases and sins, having walked according to the course of this world, walking according the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience, and were by nature children of wrath. Then God makes us alive with His Son (regeneration)and enables us to believe. We then become His workmanship (poema, His work of art)as He causes us to walk in good works. He causes Jew and Gentile to be one new man in Christ. We now have access by the Spirit to the Father. We are now a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. I believe this to be the very apex of redemptive history this side of the Eternal State . It is the glorious work of God on once dead sinners comparable to the great scene in Ezekiel 37, the valley of dry bones. God's Spirit brings life where there was none, that life being Christ-likeness, coming to full fruition when we see Him in the air. 1 John 3:2.

The scriptures are clear. The Christian life is designed by God to be a testimony to the world, a testimony of the power of God in changing lives. Yes, that same power that rose our Lord from the dead is at work in the life of the Christian,transforming him or her from slaves of sin into slaves of Christ and into His image.

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7 Comments:

Blogger donsands said...

Amen. We are new creatures for sure.

But the remnant of sin that remains in the flesh wars against the Spirit, and is weak, though the spirit is willing; and this only because of His grace and love.

Very good post. One to take to heart and be encouraged.
He is faithful, and great is His faithfulness.

Have a Happy Easter, and celebration of His resurrection.

March 22, 2008 9:18 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Mark,
This is a very good post that points to entire process of salvation that always occurs in saints unless they are providentially prevented by early death, etc. We are saved (justified) immediately by faith in Jesus Christ alone, but sanctification through discipleship follows just as surely as night follows day. This biblical teaching is under attack from many different directions in our day. We cannot proclaim it enough. Thanks.

March 22, 2008 9:42 AM

 
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

May I wish you all on Bluecollar a happy and peaceful Easter.

March 22, 2008 2:31 PM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

Great Post mark. Like Jazz commented "We can not proclaim it enough!"

Lorenzothellama, the same to you.

Cristina

March 22, 2008 2:47 PM

 
Blogger Maalie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

March 22, 2008 4:52 PM

 
Blogger Even So... said...

Have a most blessed Resurrection Day!

March 22, 2008 6:45 PM

 
Blogger Penless Thoughts said...

"that same power that rose our Lord from the dead is at work in the life of the Christian,transforming him or her from slaves of sin into slaves of Christ and into His image."
AMEN!!!!!
Susan

March 25, 2008 11:50 AM

 

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