Christlikeness – Introduction

Philip, the Lord’s disciple, said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us”. Jesus answered, “Don’t you know Me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9 NIV). All that the Father is finds perfect expression in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are consciously, deliberately and habitually to contemplate Him. He is to be always before our face until His characteristics become ours. How is it that we view our Lord so infrequently, meditate on Him so meagrely? The vision is not focused. We are not properly preoccupied with the beauty of Christ.

O fix our earnest gaze,
So wholly Lord on Thee,
That with Thy beauty occupied,
We elsewhere none may see.

I enjoyed a thought that was expressed a few years ago. The writer linked together three scriptures. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). The Lord shone forth from Mount Paran and “The glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34). In the temple of Solomon, “everything saith, Glory” (Psalm 29:9). But, he went on, there was a manifestation of the divine glory which was both unique and complete, when the Son came down. John, who saw it, put it so simply and reverently, it was the glory of the only begotten from the Father.

Not, of course, that the disciples saw the glories which radiated from Him in the excellency of the Father’s presence. These He laid aside in His self-emptying (Philippians 2:7; John 17:5). But there were other glories of deity seen by them. They are said to have witnessed the first manifestation of His glory at Cana where the “simple wedding guest” did to water what only almighty God could do. Six other similar manifestations impressed John and he dealt with each in his Gospel. To him they were “signs” of the glory of God as seen in the beloved Son, glories peculiar to deity.

Yet there were other glories in the Lord’s Person seen by His marvelling disciples, great moral excellencies. Writing years later, John tells of the earliest and perhaps deepest impression which His Master made on him, that God is light (1 John 1:5). The sinless purity of the Lord profoundly affected both him and his brethren; Simon Peter expressed it this way, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). They had seen in Him the glory of sinlessness. They watched His sympathetic handling of the multitudes and saw the glory of His compassion. They marvelled at His gentle dealings with those who were slow to learn and saw the glory of His patience. They saw the affection which He poured out on His tormentors and saw the glory of love. This was “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Seven times Moses, the servant of the Lord, went up Sinai to speak with God. On his final descent, “Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone by reason of His speaking with Him” (Exodus 34:29). For forty days he had been listening to the voice of God. Now he was reflecting as a mirror, consequently yet all unconsciously, the glory of the Lord.

Surely we live in a glorious day! And as we make our spiritual ascents to the holy mount; and as, like Moses, we hear His voice coming to us today from the living oracles of Scripture, we too may begin to reflect the glory of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18). We ponder the story of that winsome Man and consider the excellencies of His moral glories. He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. He was poor in spirit. Again He said, “Blessed are the meek”. He was meek. “Blessed are the merciful”. He was merciful. “Blessed are the pure in heart”. He was pure in heart. “Blessed are the peacemakers”. He was a peacemaker. And as we meditate on one such individual glory of the Lord’s character, we may proceed to assimilate it and they reflect it in our own lives. Then by the Lord’s help we may proceed in our study to another aspect of excellence in the Lord’s most glorious life, until that too in measure is assimilated and reflected in our life. Thus we may enjoy the experience described by Paul in the words,

“But we all, with unveiled face reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Then one day we shall go to see His glory in its every delectable aspect. It was to this that the Lord referred in His prayer, “Father, that which Thou hast given Me, I will that, where I am, they also may be with Me; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me” (John 17:24). Little wonder we sing sometimes,

Comfort of all my earthly way,
Jesus I’ll meet Thee some sweet day;
Centre of glory Thee I’ll see,
Wonderful Man of Calvary.

By |2017-09-25T17:19:25+00:009 April 2016|Christlikeness|