No matter how good we feel about ourselves, we don't have the right perspective until we can see that we are actually no good at all. Created in God's image, we may have the capacity for goodness, but we lack the capability to do it.
Rom.7:15-18 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
No matter how hard we try, we will always fall short.
Rom.3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
This is not to say that we are almost there, as in "If I had got one more question right, I would have passed the exam." The word 'sin' is an archery term, and means 'to miss the target'. There is a show on TV called Total Wipeout in which contestants have to complete an obstacle course. One of the obstacles is to get from a springboard to a platform via a trapeze. So many contestants miss the trapeze, and fall in the mud. Even if they get their fingers to it, if they do not have a strong grip, they fail. It is the same with our lives – all or nothing. God's glory demands perfection because God's character is perfection.
But many people today don't see this. Although they would admit they are not perfect, they think they are doing quite well. We cannot recognise sin until we recognise the target. Have you ever aimed at something, like in the shooting gallery at the Fair, missed, and joked with your friends, "I meant to do that." Until you acknowledge what the target actually is, you will not be able to recognise that you have missed it, fallen short. And only then can you accept that you need help.
But Paul is telling us that we have fallen short of the glory of God. So our target is 'the glory of God.' What is that? How can we know what that looks like?
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the only begotten Son who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Heb.1:3 The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being …
So Jesus showed us God's glory. That is why Jesus lived as he did.
John 5:19 the Son can do nothing by himself… only what he sees the Father doing
John 8:28 I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father taught me
John 14:10 it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work
Like an electric light bulb, which by itself can do nothing. It will not give light when placed on the table, it will only give light when electric current flows through it. So in the same way, God's glory shone through Jesus because of his relationship with God. And the same can be true for us. Jesus told us:
John 15:5 Apart from me you can do nothing
and Paul said:
Phil.4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength
Everything is not whatever we wish to do, but all that God has planned and intends for us. Indeed, Jesus also said:
Luke 1:37 For nothing is impossible with God
To be indwelt by God, giving him the freedom to be at work in us and through us makes 'nothing' an impossibility. Before, it was impossible to do anything, now it is impossible to do nothing! When we enter into that right relationship with God, Paul tells us:
1 Thess.5:9-10 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Col.1:27 Christ in you, the hope of glory
'Glory' is not heaven, but that which we have sinned and come short of – the character of God.
2 Cor.3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
[Based on Christ For Real by Charles W Price]
Inventing the Individual: Book Review
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