Monthly Archives: March 2012

It’s all about image!

The image that appears on a desktop is called an ‘icon’. It represents a link to a file or an application. God is spirit (John 4:24) and therefore invisible. God only becomes visible when his nature becomes part of something physical just like when one clicks on a desktop icon and gets the application represented. In the Old Testament, for example, God spoke from a burning bush.

So what was God talking about when he wrote: 

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  Genesis 1:27

In the New Testament the Greek word for image is ‘eikon’. The definition of eikon is likeness or representation (link – eikon). Just like the burning bush was not God, neither is man. When God talks about making man in His own image (icon), it means that the spirit of God is the ‘file’ or ‘application’ in man that can be clicked on to communicate to man.

Man is born with two basic parts: body and soul. When man is reborn, he receives the spirit of God so he becomes body, soul and spirit. The spirit is the ‘hot link’ to God. Each of us as we operate the spirit of God in action then manifests the nature of the invisible God. Jesus Christ showed the way:

Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Our new nature which includes God’s spirit is an amazing part of our being. We have been provided a physical body to walk, sit, lift, talk, hear and many more things. We have been given a soul that uniquely makes each one of us who we are in personality, emotions and thoughts. The spirit, based on our free will choice, is God’s provision of His power. God knew there would be people who love, worship and recognize Him and in his forethought he provided very uniquely for us in this world.

Ro 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

This morning I asked my 18 month old granddaughter if she wanted some water. She said no, but I knew that she was going to be thirsty, so I left a nice cool drink of water on her play table within her reach in her favorite cup. It wasn’t a matter of minutes that she decided to pick up her cup. That’s the way it is with the foreknowledge of God. God has provided, it is our choice to receive what he has offered. I used to feel that God was too far away or too high for me to reach, but I have learned through the years he has placed what we need well within our reach.

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Confidence

This morning as I was reading Philippians, a verse popped out at me that capsulizes great truths about who we are because of our the relationship with God.

Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

The word ‘circumcision’ refers to our spiritual circumcision, not the circumcision in the Old Testament. When we acknowledge God’s work through Christ, we spiritually put off the works of the flesh and that is something we should all jump up and down about. Around Philippi, there were people who were Judeans who wanted to bring new Christians back to the old ways of the law. Paul called attention to the snarky dudes.

In the verse 2 of Philippians 3, Paul uses the word ‘beware’ three times. He wants people to recognize the ‘stuck in the mud’ Judeans who were trying to steal away their freedom in Christ. ‘Beware’ means to accurately observe what is going on. He repeats the word 3 times for effect.

Philippians 3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.

Paul says to beware of dogs. This does not refer at all to our dear Maggie who lives with us. Maggie is a great blessing. She is a wonderful obedient dog who wags her tail excitedly whenever she sees us. The reference to dogs in Philippians is to the wild dogs that usually hung outside the city gates in the garbage pits scavenging for food. They would get into the city and roam the streets at times. They were dangerous.

Gentiles had been considered dogs by the Judeans in the Old Testament, but now in the New Testament, the Gentiles were no longer outside the gate feeding on scraps and garbage, they had the same access to all the rights and privileges as the Judeans in the household of God. Some of the Judeans didn’t buy into that and they actually found themselves scavenging outside the gate. Paul says ‘beware’ of the dogs, evil workers (false ministers) and concision (those trying to mutilate the body of Christ; the household)

The true circumcision, made without hands, has three characteristics according to verse 3. First it involves ‘worshipping God (‘theou’) in the spirit’. ‘Theou’ is in the genitive and should read ‘worship by the spirit of God’ not the workaholic nature of the old man. It refers to the new nature we have within, the holy spirit. Jesus Christ referred to this in John 4:23-24 (check it out!). That’s our new nature!

Second, we rejoice in Christ Jesus! This word for ‘rejoice’ is different from the word ‘rejoice’ used in 3:1. It means to glory, or to speak about loudly or boast. When we really know what it is to be of the true circumcision, we really have something to shout about. If you are not personally rejoicing like this, then get help from someone who really knows what it means. There are people who look to bring the uninspecting back into a regimen of the law and that is frustratingly impossible to live up to. Just like Paul said we have to beware. It is well worth it to make the effort. Once you get it, believe me you will shout.

Third, we have no confidence (trust) in the flesh. There is nothing wrong with ability, life experience, and even in what we have learned from the Word. These things are certainly important, but as life gets rolling along, they are not enough. We don’t trust in the flesh, we rely on God. Trust is not some feeling, it is the destination of our thoughts at any given moment of decision. It is God that is our sufficiency. Today is a new day to trust God every second we breathe. Then and only then do we experience the greatest freedom in life. That is what true circumcision is all about.

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