November 17, 2013

Contrasts and Unity

When my characteristics are compared, anything that might be perceived as light and good (and from God) has a dark contrast in my sinful nature. That is, if God gives me wisdom, it is because I am so foolish. If God gives me the ability to love someone, it is because I am so selfish. If God gives me compassion, it is because I do not care about the feelings of others.
However, in Jesus Christ, the compared characteristics are all good. He is all things without any sin. He is the only one who can be both a Lion and a Lamb.

And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered”…. and I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain…. (Revelation 5:5–6)

When I pray, I am bowing before One who is transcendent, not at all an equal, but when Jesus prays He takes the postures of reverence, He “knelt down and prayed” (Luke 22:41) but at the same time is fully God and in every way equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
… though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:6–7) 

Jesus is also perfectly innocent and worthy of all praise. He deserved nothing from God because of any guilt of His own, and He deserves no evil treatment from us, yet in perfect patience He submitted to the greatest suffering that any man could experience. He “endured the cross, scorning its shame” (Hebrews 12:2) willingly accepting the cup of God’s wrath poured out, not for anything He had done but for our sin.

This magnifies His innocence and His patience, just as the Bible says,

For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 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. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:20–24)

My contrasting characteristics from God and from my sinful nature must be confusing to those who experience them, but for people who experience Jesus, His characteristics all belong to one perfect Person, equal and fully God yet totally submissive to God, sinless yet willingly going to the Cross to suffer for my sin. This produces worship in my heart. I cannot fully understand or explain this God-man, but know in the core of my being that He is real and alive. Jesus Christ is God the Son who became a man totally without sin yet took upon Himself the sin of the world, my sin included. For this, my lowly heart is lifted in praise.

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