Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How then should we live?

This is a good question on a couple levels. This article briefly addresses the topic. Given that the world in which Christianity abides is undergoing such great transformation, what does that mean for the church corporately? What does it mean for us as individuals? It's a good thing to meditate on during Advent. As you anticipate the coming of the Christ, how then should we live?

Another article that touches on this from a slightly different perspective is here. It talks about the difference between God's image and likeness. The author posits the belief that we are created in God's image, but we grow into God's likeness as we draw closer to him, and take on his characteristics such as holiness, compassion, mercy, righteousness etc. It is through that trans formative process that Paul talks about in Romans 12 "Be transformed by the renewing of your minds" that is key. It is a view more traditionally aligned with the Orthodox Church, but one that John and Charles Wesley embraced as well.

The author is talking about Theosis - where we begin to take on the divine nature - and captures it well in this thought: Most important, the Orthodox understanding of theosis reminds us that salvation is less about what we get than about what God gets. It is about his purposes being accomplished in us. As the Reformed credo states: It is by his grace, for our good, to his glory.

As Advent approaches, think about how we can be more of a gift to God. Christ is his greatest gift to us, but the gift of his image isn't far behind. How can we take those gifts and grow into something that is pleasing and useful to God as He brings his Kingdom.

Something to chew on this holiday season. And it is fat-free and sugar-free. Be warned, it may cause some consternation and possible indigestion.


Rick Morris said...

Image is something I have been studying for quite some time and is extremely humbling and exciting. I have found very distinct differences in Likeness and Image. At the original language and context it does not mean likeness at all. It means exact representation of. This is very distinct in likeness. We have grown up in the "rules" and calling ourselves "little Christ" which on one hand is justified yet on the other not biblical. If we can change our thinking into understanding that we were created to BE Christ, not be like, not grow into, but be IN Christ it changes everything. It changes how we live, how we think, etc... This is such an important understanding that can help shape a person. To know that we were created in His Image, that we are a vessel for Him to live through, it forces us to take hold and change how we view christianity.

I am not going to go into it, but it is again brought up in Revelation where we are invited in to be a part of the Trinity. Talk to Jeremiah Bolich about this, this is what he has been preaching for the last 2 years. It is not being an equal in the Trinity...just want to set that straight now.

Roy said...

I don't disagree, but I would like you to clarify this statemtent:"If we can change our thinking into understanding that we were created to BE Christ, not be like, not grow into, but be IN Christ it changes everything."

Is not the Being Christ a process of growth? I don't understand it to be an instantaneous process, but rather one of growth and progressive revelation by the Spirit.

Do you agree?

Rick said...

It is a growth process, but one that we cannot live in. We tend to use this as a crutch and never get past "issues" Some of us are afraid to live outside of chaos, or troubles, or pain. We have lived there for so long that we are not comforatable with anything else.

Allow me to take it a step further. We never lost the image, only lost sight. When we come to Christ I believe to be the first step. For some they are 100% transformed and are at that place. For others, life circumstances force them to go a longer process. However, at that acceptance the person is brought in at an instant, not completely understanding, but made whole in the image. I think we believe that Jesus is outside looking in wanting to be in relationship with us. Rather this image "thing" is about Jesus not on the outside but never left in the first place. He has always been there, we just don't recognize it, until we turn from our own ways and acknowledge His.

The difference in all of this, we do not grow into Christ, He grows in us as we allow Him, vine and the branch. He will not give more than we are ready to receive. If we still hold tight to areas of our lives where we are not willing to let Him control then He will not dwell there. And dwell is another interesting concept too that can take us in so many different areas. The idea of dwell is a verb in the inhabitance role, it is something that is an action on two parts, His giving and our receiving.