“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.” 1 John 4:9-11
I feel a tug right now to write a post that is a reminder of who we are as Christians and why we are here. I will freely admit that I have been struggling lately as the trials and struggles of life seem to be piling in at an exponential rate. So, I think this is a good time to refocus on who we are and the good news of what God has done for us.
“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; ...” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:26a-27
We need to remember that God created us in His majestic and glorious likeness. When we read Genesis 3:4-5 “Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” we see satan tempt Adam and Eve with the promise of being like God. What they had forgotten too quickly was that they had already been created in God’s image, by God Himself. In an instant, we see a perfect communication between God and His blessed creation turn into them hiding from Him all because they listened to satan and gave into his temptation. From then on man has tried to become godlike when we really should be seeking true humanity instead. This is what dying to our sinful selves and striving to become Christlike is all about.
“The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.” 1 Corinthians 15:45-49
I want this to be a reminder to all of us, whether you’re going through a joyful season full of praise or a painful season full of weeping and crying out to God for help that His love for us endures forever (Psalm 136).
From my post on April 12th 2017 entitled “Let Your Suffering Be a Reminder of God’s Love” …
How does this story begin? John 3:16 & 17 tell us in part; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son… For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” What angst could we derive from a Father sending His beloved one and only Son to a wretched place as this sin filled world? Even then, He could have sent His Son as royalty or He could have sent Him to the wealthy. However, He decided to show us His amazing love for us through suffering and pain. Luke 2:7 shows us that Mary; “gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” First off, having grown up on a farm I have to say that most people’s idea of a stable is pretty glamorous. The reality is that this would be a dirty and stinky place with animals and their poop (dung) and urine everywhere, mud, and straw all mixed together with spoiled grain and other food in a cold, wet, bug infested corner of a barn or cave. Now that you have a better picture… God, let me say that again, GOD in the form of a baby was born wrapped in the same type strips of cloth as used for burial and laid in a feeding trough. Upon His entry to the world God’s Son, the Second person of the Trinity, was rejected from the Inn, born in a nasty cold stinky stable, wrapped in grave cloths and laid in a feeding trough. That in and of itself should give us some perspective on our daily troubles.
Have you ever considered that Jesus could have come here for a short time already as an adult, given Himself over to the sacrifice that God intended for Him and purchased our redemption and yet He didn’t? The Sovereign Creator of the Universe was born both fully human and fully God, grew up in a carpenter’s shop, and lived a sinless 33-year life that shows us an example of the humanity in which we were created to live. This is God’s perfect love for us!
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.” 1 Peter 2:21-22
“For our sake, He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].” 2 Corinthians 5:21
“For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin.” Hebrews 4:15
Something else that I am reminded of is how many times I’ve heard something like “I’m surprised that the Lord hasn’t come back yet to destroy this evil world…”. Comments like that remind me of these verses…
“But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 2 Peter 3:8-9
Don’t those two verses just show us the perfect reminder of how big God’s love really is? Doesn’t it remind us why our focus should be on spreading that love to others?
With that I’ll ask a question from yet another of my previous posts. What about you? Have you acknowledged what will happen to your spirit when your body fails and dies? I would like to encourage everyone, especially those who don’t know Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior to re-read my post from April 10th 2017 entitled “The Most Important Thing!” though I think it’s a good reminder to us all.
“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“He (Jesus) personally carried the load of our sins in his own body when he died on the cross” 1 Peter 2:24
“But to all who did receive him (Jesus), who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” John 1:12
Sovereign God, I bow humbly at Your feet with a broken heart and crushed spirit. Thank You for reminding us today of Your great love for us. All thanks and praise belong to You and all glory and honor is Yours. Thank You for being able to come before You as Your child and petition You from the bottom of my heart. Teach me how to pray, reveal Your will for my life, and give me the faith to see my prayers answered out of your great power and glorious faithfulness. I pray God that You would touch each person who reads this post deeply and with conviction. Draw them to Yourself with Your great love. Thank You Father for sacrificing Your Son Jesus Christ to pay the price for our sin, that we may be made clean through His cleansing blood. Jesus, I want more of You, more of Your Holy Spirit in my life today and everyday. Teach me, lead me, guide me, use me. I am wholly Yours, my life is not my own.
God, we thank You, praise You, and lift up our petitions to You asking for a testimony to Your faithfulness that shows the majesty and glory of Your name and sovereignty. Bless each and every one of my brothers and sisters in Christ and anoint us all with Your Holy Spirit into a spirit of boldness (Acts 4:23-31) that we might spread the good news of Your love and lead others to belief in Christ. I pray this blessing from Your holy word over us today; “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the God of hope lift up His countenance upon you, show you His favor, give you His peace, and fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Num 6:24-26, Rom 15:13 I pray these things in the name of Christ Jesus my Lord and Savior. AMEN!