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Friday, May 17, 2013

A Living Image; a Living Sacrifice

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [ which is ] your reasonable service.
Romans 12:1 

The statement has been made here in previous posts, that God made man ( Adam ) in His own image in order that man might have dominion. This is true enough, but is this primarily what God had in mind when He said 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness'? Secondarily, to be sure, after this statement of Purpose, He said 'let them have dominion', but primarily, His Purpose was to form man in His own image, to beget them for Himself, to proliferate His own Seed!

The question, 'why are we here?', in differing forms and to differing extents maybe, has been one of the most prolific questions of the eons! 'Why are we here?', 'why did God make man ( Adam ) in His image, according to His likeness?' When asking questions like this, we might ultimately be led to ask the question, 'what IS the Image of God?' Well, Scripture tells us that 'God is love', so for starters, we may rightly assume, in part anyway, that this is the Image of God in which He made man ( Adam )! Scripture also tells us, in other words, that if we do not have Love, we have nothing, and in fact that we are nothing, and worse than useless.

Man was placed on this earth for one purpose, and one purpose alone; he was made in God's Image, as His only begotten Son, in order that he might spread abroad the love of God which was shown to be a Light in the darkness! When man fails to love as he ought, though God's purpose is yet fulfilled, either through him or another, he fails to shine the Light of Love in the darkness, and so reaps the natural consequences of his failure. The Scriptural admonition of 'whatever a man sows, that he will also reap', contrary to the opinion of some, stands firm! When we fail to love those that we should, we most often receive the same in return. The many wars in the history of mankind bear witness to this. 


Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.
Ephesians 5:25 

Jesus commanded His disciples to 'love one another; as I have loved you'. If we are His disciples ( followers ) indeed, we will show this by loving one another. Love, true love, as can be seen in Paul's sermon in I Corinthians 13, is a sacrificial love, a love that puts the needs and concerns of the other before one's own ( now, we must be ever cautious here, because we do live in a time when certain people would take undue advantage of this love ). We must be ever careful, even in this, to be sure that our own needs and concerns are being taken care of, for we also read in Scripture that Jesus said, as the second great commandment, 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself', and, 'if you do not love your brother ( neighbor ) whom you have seen, how can you love God whom you have not seen'. If we do not love ( take care of ) ourselves, how can we love ( take care of) others? If we do not show love for the brethren, how can we truthfully say that we love God?!


Love suffers long [ and ] is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
I Corinthians 13:4-7

The apostle Paul, in the passage above, describes in great detail the Image of God in man! Yahweh, in His great love for His people, suffered with their disobedience and idolatry for a long time, infinitely longer than we ever could imagine ( for most of us, after the first instance, if we had been in control, we would have cut them off right then and there ). The Love that the apostle describes above describes perfectly the Love that God shone on us through His Son, Jesus the Christ, and when we love, perfectly so ( for love has been 'perfected'  in us-I John 4:7-17 ), we shine forth the Image of God that was formed in Adam ( man )!

With this Sacrificial Love, then, let us love one another; let us so shine forth this Image of God that all His sentient creation may come to a knowledge and understanding, an acknowledgement and acceptance of their relationship with their Creator! Let us determine within ourselves that we will bear truthfully the Glory of this Image  before all men, that they in turn may learn in joy to bear this Image before others, 'For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea' ( Isaiah 11:9 ). This, in reality has already happened, eschatologically speaking, and is, in actuality happening everyday, as men continue to  spread abroad the Light and Love shone in their hearts!

Amen and Amen!

Charles Haddon Shank



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