Commended in Christ

Basket of Figs, January, 2004

Bud Powell

 

MP900406569[1]

 

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But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. –Rom. 5:8

 

The Christian’s worship of God is not in the abstract.  We do not worship an idea or principle.  Even the love of God is not a philosophical abstraction or only a mental concept.  The truth about God and His love for His people are made concrete in Jesus Christ.  The word translated “commended” is a very rich word, meaning to demonstrate, or prove, or even to introduce.   When something is proved, its truth is “commended.”  When something is put on display, it is “commended.”  When someone is introduced to another, his acquaintance is “commended.”

 

Apart from Jesus Christ, the worship of God is just a flutter in the head, with no substance or meaning at best, and a wicked idolatry at worst.  The only reason that people can say that all religions worship the same god is that they have not the slightest idea of who the Living God is.  When a person says that chocolate ice cream tastes the same as garlic it is proof that he does not know one or the other.  He simply does not know what he is talking about and can convince only those who are as ignorant as he is.

 

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

 

Just before Jesus was crucified, He comforted His disciples by promising them that although He was going away, He would return to take them to where He was. [John 14].  He assured them that they knew where He was going and they knew the way.  One of them said, “Lord, we do not know where you are going, and how can we know the way.”  Jesus’ answer is profound:

 

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  –John 14:6

 

This answer shows that Jesus was going to the Father, and that He was the way by which they also could come unto the Father.  The disciples understood because Philip asked, “We will be satisfied, Lord, if you show us the Father.”  Although Philip understood that Jesus was returning to His Father, Philip did not understand the true nature of God and the Lord Jesus.

 

Jesus replied, “Have I been so long with you and you still don’t know me?  He that has seen me has seen the Father.  Why do you say, “Show us the Father”?  Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me?”

 

Jesus, then, is the one who gives concrete meaning to the idea of God.  Not only that, but His claims are so absolute and total that there is no wiggle room left:  we worship the Father in Jesus Christ, or we do not worship God at all.

 

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.  –Heb. 1:1-3

 

In God there is perfect union, the three Persons in the Oneness of God.  In this unity the Second Person, the eternal Son of God, was incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth, who lived and died and rose again.  After His resurrection He ascended as the God/Man into heaven, to His Father, where He reigns over all things [Eph. 2] until the time appointed for Him to return to resurrect the dead, judge the world, and take us to be with Him forever.

 

Any dream of God that is not in Jesus Christ is vanity and lifeless.  Dead people worship dead gods with a dead faith, bring forth dead works that are praised by people as dead as themselves.  It is Jesus Christ who is the Son of the Living God.  Without Him there is death and decay as far as you can see.

 

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