To be Christlike is my greatest challenge. To balance grace and truth towards a lost world is a constant battle. With family members where I want to avoid conflict, I can rely too much on grace while avoiding Biblical truth. When Iâ€™m angry and in a battle, I can use the truth like a sledgehammer and purposely shun grace. That is what humans do. That is why we need a Savior.
â€œAnd the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.â€ (John 1:14)
Until Christ walked on this earth and His words were recorded forever in history, the Old Testament was the Bible of the day. In there wisdom could be found, and many works to show our devotion to God, however the indwelling Holy Spirit did not come until after Christ ascended to the throne of God. I can become Christlike through Godâ€™s Word and the Holy Spiritâ€™s direction. That is what Peterâ€™s first sermon addressed:
â€œMen and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.â€ (Acts 2:29-33)
The totality of the incarnation of Jesus Christ can get lost sometimes as Christmas. Yes, He came as a baby as prophesied:
â€œTherefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel… For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.â€ (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6)
What man could not accomplish in his own righteousness, Christ manifested and left us an example upon which to model our lives. Jesus is the perfect culmination of man because He is the God-Man.
â€œFor such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the peopleâ€™s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.â€ (Hebrews 7:26-28)
Jesus Messiah is not only all we need for salvation, but He is also all we need to live a Christlike life while here on earth. We can rely on Godâ€™s Word for provision and protection:
â€œFor You will light my lamp; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.â€ (Psalm 18:28-30)
Many Christians have accused Phil Robertson of not being Christlike in his interview with GQ magazine. Nothing could be further from the truth. Did he speak in the most perfect way? Perhaps not when describing the difference between heterosexual and homosexual sex, (although I find it ironic that his language is considered coarse while the behavior of homosexuals is an alternative lifestyle).
Nevertheless, Phil Robertsonâ€™s life portrays a man sold out for Jesus Christ and willing to share the gospel at any venue. In fact in the GQ article, Phil witnesses to the writer. Being provocative was not on his mind; being straightforward with the truth was of the utmost importance to Phil. Could it have used a bit more grace? Sure, most of us can confess to that need.
What I am trying to say here is that until we get to heaven, and while we are still in these corrupt bodies, we will stumble in our Christlikeness:
â€œHowever, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.â€ (1 Corinthians 15:46-49)
I am confident in saying that most Christians in the public eye, with as much money riding on his or her comments, would have never taken the stand for Christ that Phil Robertson did. Most of us will not even take that type of stand during Christmas when we gather with our lost family members.
Any good thing that comes from me is from Christ. Every bad thing that comes from me is from my sin nature. For me to recognize this I need the truth of Godâ€™s Word. For me to see this in others and forgive them, I need the grace of Jesus Christ.
That is why we needed the divine coming of a Savior. Thatâ€™s why we celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus.
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Copyright Â© 2013 David Jeffers