The Shape Of Redemption

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Why are we shaped the way we are?  Why don’t we have two heads or six arms?  Why don’t we look like snakes or fish, or, perhaps like the F.S.M. (Flying Spaghetti Monster) that atheists so often use as a fallacious attempt to mock the reality of God?

Here are a few hints from the Bible:

God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.

And

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life.  He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.

And

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him [the beast], whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

For millennia theologians have been mystified by what it truly means that we are made in the image of God—the Imago Dei.  Some say it’s our intellect or ability to reason and rationalize.  Others say it’s our capacity for belief in spiritual things and our awareness of eternity.  Some scholars suggest it has to do with our tripartite, three-in-one nature of body, soul, and spirit, which in some sense mirrors the Trinity (1 Thess. 5:23Heb. 4:12).  I don’t doubt any of those—I think they’re all a bit of the truth.

But what if the most obvious reason we are made in the image of God is staring us right in the face?

God’s inerrant, infallible word tells us that God’s Son, the eternal Logos, was chosen as our propitiation—our ransom—before the world was created.  Jesus’ death on the Cross and subsequent resurrection was no afterthought.  God created us knowing we would need redemption and before He created us He planned the Incarnation.  Jesus was before Adam.  Adam was made in the image of Jesus.  Jesus is God.  And Adam and all his descendants are shaped like little crosses:

Of all God’s wondrous creations, we are the ones made in the image of God’s only, eternal, incarnate Son.  And the incarnate Christ was designed for the Cross and the Cross for Him.  1 John 4:8 tells us that God, in His very nature, is love.  And there can be no greater demonstration of love than to give oneself as a sacrifice for another (Jn. 15:13).  Therefore we were fashioned in the literal image of Christ—of God.  Our bodies were designed to exemplify the highest and most important of all God’s attributes: love.  We were made to show all of God’s creatures, including the spiritual principalities, that God is a redeeming God who will spare no expense to save the ones He loves (e.g. 1 Pt. 1:10–121 Cor. 4:9).

From Abel-on the people of God brought before the LORD sacrifices and offerings, which are demonstrations of their love for Him.  To sacrifice for another is to love.  To worship God is to offer oneself as a living sacrifice for Him.  Is it any wonder then that the form we take when we worship and glorify our Creator is the form Christ took when He hung upon the Cross?

Furthermore, as Colossians 1:17 states, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”  No doubt God has left His redeeming mark throughout creation.  In fact, the molecular protein that holds the extracellular matrix of our bodies together is shaped like the Cross:

Below is an actual micrograph of a single laminin protein:

God planned our redemption in Christ from before the beginning of time knowing that the Fall of Mankind would be worth it.  Knowing that all the pain, suffering, torment, and sorrow would be worth the incredible glory to be revealed in us.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.

And

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved.

Since the incarnate Christ was designed for the Cross and the Cross for Him from before the beginning of time and we are made in His image then do what you were made to do: believe on the LORD Jesus Christ and be saved.  You are a little cross and Christ is the One who hangs upon it.  You were made for Christ (Col. 1:16).

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

 

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

– – –

 

A Final Word on the Sureness of Our Redemption (Courtesy of Brother David)

This (long!) message is for those who already believe Jesus died for their sins, and have confessed Him as their personal Savior, *BUT* think they can lose that salvation (AND have to work to earn it back or keep it).

First of all, let me ask you a question: What is more powerful than God; more evil than Satan; the poor have it; the rich need it; and if you eat it, you die?

‘NOTHING!’  Right?  Keep that in mind here… Nothing is more powerful than God.  Nothing is more evil than Satan.  The poor have ‘nothing’.  The rich need ‘nothing’.  And if you eat nothing, you die. (*I break all this down further, below.)

NOTHING, is more powerful than God.

So, back to our topic: …Can you lose your salvation?  (Salvation—That eternal life with Jesus after you die.)  Check everything I say with scripture.  Search it out for yourself:

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.

With the above scripture in focus; and the fact that we know NOTHING is greater than God, we can easily conclude that no man (including ourselves) can remove ourselves from God’s hand, aka, ‘lose our salvation’.  Right?  Right!

But what about Satan?  He’s not a man.  He’s the prince and the power of the air! (Ephesians 2:2) Surely, Satan can make you lose your eternal security?  Wrong.  Read John 10:28-30 again.  God AND Jesus both have their hands on you, AND, on top of that, according to Ephesians 4:30, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit. Plus, didn’t we just agree above that NOTHING is greater than God?

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Well, that’s just His love, right?  In a way, but, with these two groups of scripture, doesn’t that make Him and his hand on us even more powerful?

I’m sure at this point, there are those who are still not convinced.  Since I love each of you as Christ loves me, I’ll go on further to try assuring you that salvation gained through Christ cannot be lost.  Let’s look into some more scripture then.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

This verse speaks for itself!  That ‘love’ spoken of is the eternal security we have in Jesus as our Savior.  Remember John 3:16?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Someone may have a particular verse in mind that they’re hung up on—one that has them convinced they CAN lose their salvation.

Could this be that verse?

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Or this verse?

For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.

What’s the answer here?  If they received the knowledge of truth, and were partakers of the Holy Spirit, BUT, sin again and/or fall away?  Is this not losing your salvation?  Read on.

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

That verse is saying they were never believers (TRUE believers) to begin with.  They had KNOWLEDGE of Christ’s saving grace, but didn’t believe in it! (Romans 3:1-4 and 9:4-5 further enforce this)

Besides, if we are TRULY saved—if we TRULY believe Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead for us, we are in the spirit, not the flesh.

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

 

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

And let’s not forget the following verse:

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Some may say, “the doctrine of ‘Once Saved, Always Saved’ is just an excuse or license to sin.”  Of course not!

What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid.  How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

How should we live then?  What does this mean?  It means we are saved by His grace, through our faith in Him.  And since He loves us so much, and has taken the ability for us to ever be GUILTY of sin ever again, the LEAST we can do is love Him back.  How do we show our love to Jesus (who is God manifest in the flesh)?  We read his word, and do His will, and follow the only two commandments we are asked to follow (under grace):

…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

And,

…Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

I hope this has encouraged and comforted and convinced you that your salvation can never be lost if you trulybelieved in the first place.  If you haven’t come to a saving knowledge of Christ yet, I encourage you to do so immediately, as we’re not promised tomorrow.  God bless you.

*Here are verses that back up the question above as to what is more powerful than God, and that, of course, is nothing:

-What’s more powerful than God?

He [God] is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against Him, and hath prospered?

– Job 9:4

 

For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

-What’s more evil than Satan?

…for the devil sinneth from the beginning.  For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

-The poor have nothing, of course, is self explanatory, but, here’s a good scripture for those who are:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

-The rich, naturally, need nothing, but…

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

-If you eat nothing, you die, but…

Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

 

– – –

Further Reading:

The Letters to the Seven Churches

Why the Church is Divided

Stay on the Narrow Way

The Called Out Ones

(Click to Source)

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