Thursday, September 2, 2010

A banquet of grace, part 3

Friends of ours welcomed a new daughter into their family via an emergency c-section this week.  When I saw her picture pop up on FB, my first thought was "she's beautiful."  And she is.  She is because God has made her to be an image-bearer of Himself; because she is His workmanship and He is an amazing Creator.  Just looking at her picture moved me to praise Him.  She's also a little sinner due to the fallen nature of mankind and in need of His mercy.  Her parents will wash her in His word, and pray over her, and point her regularly to Jesus as they train her up, hoping all the while in our God who's name is excellent in all the earth.  I pray she will bear eternal testimony to His goodness and grace.

C.S. Lewis, in The Weight of Glory, wrote:  “You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.”  This is true of my friends' new little baby and it is true of every other person on the planet...the rich, the poor, the healthy, the sick, the lovely to behold and the hard to look at, everyone!  We're immortal, we're image bearers of God, and as Psalm 8 tells us He is mindful of us and visits us...incredible!  But before we think we're such hot stuff, in contrast to the last post where it was made plain we're sinners in need of mercy, let's take a closer look at Psalm 8.

Notice the bookends of this Psalm: “O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!”  Our Lord, who is pleased to ordain babes with strength to silence enemies.  Our Lord, who made the incredibly vast and glorious heavens pays attention to this speck called earth and visits His image bearers, and crowns us with glory and honor.  Our Lord, who gives the stewardship of the earth to the sinful likes of us, knowing full well we'll make a mess of things along the way (this is the stage upon which He displays His glory through His just judgments and the outpouring of His redemptive love).  The middle stanzas all testify to the reality that Yes, indeed, His name is excellent in all the earth!  

How does this relate to our study?  Romans 1:25 tells us there are those who worship the creature rather than the Creator...even as Christians we can fall into this temptation.  We can take verses about being crowned with glory and honor right out of their contexts and begin to think too highly of ourselves, to see ourselves as the end all.  Psalm 139:14 is another one I have noticed being used in this way... “we're fearfully and wonderfully made” and while that is true, it wasn’t written so we can exalt man or glory in our self.  The whole verse says “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”  The entire Psalm is a song of praise to God.

When we consider the complexity and wonder of the human body, we shouldn’t be moved to think ultimately how great we are, but rather how great God is who made us.  We ARE amazingly complex and it is good to recognize the wonders of God's is right to look upon a fellow immortal and behold their beauty, their smile, their good works, etc, and let these all move us to praise our Creator.  The vastness of the heavens, the beauty of a sunrise, the variety of colors and shapes and aromas of is too amazing to soak in, but we are prone to focus our attention on creation and stop there when all these things declare to us the manifold perfections of our God and invite us to sing His praise.  I am convinced that the more faithfully we comprehend the greatness of our glorious God, and our utter inability to draw our next breath apart from His decree, it will change how we live in relationship to each other dramatically in the remaining days He gives us on this earth.  Our motives and actions will be Godward, and this has everything to do with our study.  God grafted us into His family to glorify and enjoy Him forever...we are not here to pursue our own agenda's, but as the blood purchased body of Christ we are called and empowered to be about our Father's business together, spurring each other on to love and good works.  This very much effects what we do, why, and how we do it in every area of life, including how we "visit the fatherless."

til next time...

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