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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Law and Grace # 18

The Standard of Life for Christians (continued)

But this looking at ourselves in the mirror of the Word must not be separated from the look into the same mirror to behold the image of our Lord. Looking at ourselves is not enough and by itself can only bring utter despair. We must see the Lord. And the Holy Scriptures in their totality comprise the perfect mirror in which we may see our Lord in all His grace and glory. As the Apostle Paul writes, "But we all, with open [unveiled] face beholding as in a glass [mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18). Seeing ourselves in the mirror of the Word is very worthwhile, but it is beholding the Lord in this mirror that brings about the moral and spiritual change that all of us need so much. And it is significant that Paul in writing about the importance of this mirror of the Word, has in mind primarily the Old Testament Scriptures, and especially the five books of the Pentateuch written by Moses.

This brings us to the remarkable character of the truth taught in 2 Corinthians 3. In the first thirteen verses the apostle declares emphatically that for the Christian believer the law of Moses has been "done away" and actually "abolished" (vv. 11, 13). Yet this same law remains as part of the mirror of the written Word in which we see the glory of the Lord. As "law" it has been abolished; as believers we are no longer under it as "law". Yet it remains as a part of Scripture, and as such it is "profitable" for us because it bears witness to our Lord and Saviour. Thus, to emasculate the written Word or any portion of it, whether moral or ceremonial law or anything else, is to mar and deface to the same extent the only divinely authorized portrait of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the end to hinder the Spirit's perfect work of sanctification. We see the importance of this in the post-resurrection ministry of our Lord. "Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself" (Luke 24:27). (see also Luke 24:44).

4. This entire written Word of God points us to a perfect example in Christ. As we behold His glory in the mirror of the Word, we see:

a. What we as believers ought to be here and now. We shall remember that we ought "so to walk, even as he walked" (1 John 2:6). We shall not forget that "even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps" (1 Peter 2:21). If we ever expect to have the "mind" in us "which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5), we must find that "mind" in the record of what He was and what He did.. And for this we must have more than the four gospels or even the New Testament writings, but the total written Word of God from Genesis through Revelation.

Furthermore, as we see Christ in this total Word we learn:

b. What we shall be at His coming. We shall understand that, against all present appearances and adverse conditions, "when he shall appear, we shall be like him" (1 John 3:2). And with this blessed hope in our hearts, we shall become purer men and women here and now even before He comes (1 John 3:4). Thus we shall count the "sufferings of this present time" not even "to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). If God has predestinated us to be "conformed to the image of his Son" (Romans 8:29), He has also predestinated the "means" by which this blessed conformation is being carried forward even here and now. It is the total Word of God written and inspired, bearing witness of His Son.

~Alva J. McClain~

(continued with # 19)

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