Sunday, February 14, 2010

Conformed to The Image of Jesus.

Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Cant beat that can you? We will be conformed to the image of the sinless God the Son! Christ coming again to judge the living and the dead. Jesus loved so much by believers both young and old. Yes Jesus has all those items and a whole lot more. While on this dead and dying world he was, for a time, a very popular preacher. But only for a time.

As finite humans we tend to see what we want to see. And it does not help to have many preachers who will itch the ears and pump us up toward looking forward to a triumphant existence. What we have, in those befuddled minds, are mountain top experiences with no limit to the amount of sin we can defeat. After all Jesus is sinless so we in his image would be sinless too. Some so called preachers teach we will not have daily pattern of sin. If one has a daily pattern of sin surely that person cant be saved. Most certainly God is strong enough to keep his people from sin. I want to ask preachers like that “How is it going for you? Did you sin yesterday? Today? Will you sin tomorrow? Do you see a pattern there?” So goes the Theology of Self Glory.

Several items the Theologian of Self Glory fails to consider. Jesus was despised and rejected so badly that those in his home town of Nazareth want to pitch him off a cliff for what he was saying. He was constantly under attack from Satan, his hordes of demons and followers who tried to trip him up at every turn. Being God the Son of course he never fell to the temptations and his holiness is transferred to us by grace. Finally betrayed by one of his disciples and deserted by the others he was nailed to the cross. This, then, is the Theology of the Cross of Jesus.

Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. ESV

Putting those previous verses back into context we see the real Theology of the Cross. The epistle to the Romans really needs to be left in tact for if one just pulls selected verses he or she will always have it wrong. Kind of like pulling a block out of a wall which weakens the entire wall. Pull out enough of them it comes crashing and hurts all those who are nearby. The hurting happens when a listener to this type of false teaching is troubled by no visible progression in holiness. Long gone are the visible and gross outward sins. What is left are sins of the heart. Those sins of the heart are known only to the individual Christian but are revealed to him or her in scripture. So even if listening only to the Theologian of Self Glory he or she will be struck with despair when exposed to the glaring light of the law of God in scripture.

These sins show us our daily need to flee to the Crucified Jesus and cry out for mercy. His faithfulness and suffering for us is good news. But none of us are the only begotten of the Father so we will not fare so well during times of temptation and desertion. We are destined to be conformed, more or less, to the suffering and dying servant. That was the image of Jesus on a dying world subjected by him to futility and despair. He endured all that without sin for us. When we do not endure it sinless we still have a righteousness not our own so we can stand before our Father in heaven.

Then come the times of being rejected. Now one expects rejection by unbelievers and those who were never raised in the Christian faith. However, the cross we are given to bear daily will include rejection from fellow Christians. Erring brethren who have a false conception of Jesus as a Divine vending machine. Enter a prayer and out pops a blessing. One attempts to correct that misunderstanding and in turn may have a friendship end. He will indeed shower us with blessing but that blessing may be painful to endure such as our spouse rejecting us because of Jesus. Or the rejection one may experience when lovingly rebuking an erring adult child who is wondering away or refusing to stop living in open rebellion against our Father. Now these are sufferings, which are related specifically to the cross of Jesus, will deeply trouble and try the tender hearts of those who love Jesus. But we keep our eyes on our crucified and risen Jesus and off our selves and circumstances for we know we will be raised by him on the last day.