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Posts Tagged ‘Image of God’

I AM: putting on Christ(9)

March 3rd, 2012
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Scripture of the Day: Colossians 3:9-14

9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (NIV)

We are clothed by the great I AM. We cannot distort humanity into any categories of superiority or inferiority. No one is higher or lower. We are all to be God’s image bearers.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

We are all to be clothed with the perfections of the great I AM. A new humanity, renewed in its original purpose, to be God’s image bearers to the whole creation.

Message for the Day

I AM: putting on Christ(8)

March 2nd, 2012
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Scripture of the Day: John 1:1-18

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.(NIV)

When Jesus comes (Emmanuel :God with us) — the true image of God – he condemns the very manifestation of this hierarchy and the resultant gap between the rich and poor. In fact he is born in a very humble way in the shadow of the Herodian: the luxurious self –indulgent fortress of Herod.

The last great image belonging to this present world in the Bible is Babylon and again we see its destruction is built around this disparity – trading human beings as commodities or just units of production.

Jesus knew that when people, organizations, churches become powerful they distort the image of God. Beware the leaven of the Pharisees. The problem with hierarchical systems built on control of those below, is that those at the top make themselves into their idols and cannot represent God.

Remember how often Jesus described the fool as speaking to himself.

Secondly they become disconnected to those below and cannot see the image of God they bear and thus can treat people like vermin to get rid of or as beasts of burden to exploit.

It is a “Whatever it takes culture” –guided by the bottom line, in which people really don’t matter. We can see that in the recent scandals at News Corporation. The US is struggling the consequences of this  as well. China has inherent dangers in the future of this type of corruption. Japan stalled because of it. Many European nations are now wallowing in the mire.

In Australia we are facing false arguments about how top executives earn their millions – unless corrections are made to see that we all must cooperate for the common good we will also begin to decline because of the great ponzi scheme the wealthy have concocted for their benefit. True happiness is not just material success but making a contribution to the common good.

Until it matters how our society affects other people, especially the poor of the world –unless we are also as concerned for the growth and development of others as we are for ourselves, then we lose sight of our true humanity and become darkened in our self centredness. The danger to our understanding of the gospel is that we become concerned about our wealth and health rather than a hope of a new humanity which is clothed by Christ, bearing God’s image.

The good news is that God so loved us even in our darkened state, when we looked anything but his image bearer, that he has affirmed he has a future for us even though we were going to put him on the cross. He is willing to do it for us even though we were unwilling to receive him. He will not stop struggling with us and for us.

This is the same great I AM of the burning bush who through his incarnate Word  has revealed himself in the NT as the Father, Son, and Spirit.

Message for the Day

I AM: putting on Christ(7)

March 1st, 2012
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Scripture of the Day: Exodus 34:7

7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” (NIV)

There is justice, but God’s mercy is so much greater.

Lets quickly see a couple of examples of how this little credo or belief is sprinkled throughout Israel’s history:

Joel 2:13 (Prophecy and Monarchy) Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity

This is a remarkably designed prophecy. But at the centre of its design is this call to turn to God — based on this little creed.

Jonah 4:2 (Prophecy among the nations) He prayed to the LORD, “O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.

Israel was meant to be like that in the world. They were meant to be compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Instead they became like their idols: cruel and destructive, violent, greedy and exploitive and unfaithful to their word just like the nations around them in their idolatry.

That’s why in Ezekiel, God removed his glory from the temple.

And yet God will have his true image bearer in this world. And this God who’s willing to define himself in this way with his stiff-necked people struggles across the whole history of Israel to eventually send his Son. We see this chesed and ‘emet fulfilled in the womb of a young woman from the house of David.

This struggle ends up with the incarnation. — the great I-AM becomes embodied in the womb of Mary. He is the Person of the Messianic King, Prophet, Priest, and Sage of the Latter Days, the Son of David of the Prophetic Vision. Jesus Christ is understood as the Wisdom of the Great I-AM .

Jesus Christ is rachum, Jesus Christ is chanun, Jesus Christ is ‘arek ‘aphim,

Jesus Christ is ‘hesed; Jesus Christ is faithful, ‘emeth, we call Jesus Christ, “God’s grace and truth.”

The Voice speaking with Moses in the Burning Bush, with Israel, with this stiff-necked people of God, throughout her history in the world is not another Voice than the One speaking in the Church’s Proclamation of the Kingdom and in the Church’s Teaching.

Humans are meant to be God’s image bearers. When man lifts himself up into hierarchies in which those below serve those above: like the tower of Babel and Israel copying the despotic kings around them, the prophets rail against such distortions.

Message for the Day