Thursday: The Cosmic Spectacle
avatar

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus utters these amazing words: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). With this, He reveals a principle that, though easily misunderstood, is nevertheless seen throughout the Bible. It tells how, as followers of Christ, we can bring glory or shame to God by our actions.

Image © Stan Myers from GoodSalt.com

Image © Stan Myers from GoodSalt.com

Read Ezekiel 36:23–27. How was God going to vindicate His name in ancient Israel?

These verses comprise one of the classic passages on the new covenant. God desires to work a dramatic transformation among His people. He will cleanse them (vs. 25) and grant them a new heart and a new spirit (vs. 26) so that they will become a holy people who will follow God’s commandments. What God wants to accomplish is to justify and sanctify believers, and by their lives they will honor God for who He is and what He does (vs. 23).

Of course, the key element in vindicating God’s character before the universe is the Cross. “Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His administration was laid open before the unfallen angels and before the heavenly universe. He had revealed himself as a murderer. By shedding the blood of the Son of God, he had uprooted himself from the sympathies of the heavenly beings.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 761.

At the same time, the New Testament followers of Christ are called a “spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men” (1 Cor. 4:9, NKJV). That is, what we do is being seen not only by other people but by heavenly intelligences as well. What kind of witness do we present? By our lives we can make known the “manifold wisdom of God . . . to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places” (Eph. 3:10, NASB). Or our lives can bring shame and reproach on the name of the Lord whom we profess to serve.

What kind of spectacle, both to other people and to angels, does your life present? Is it one in which God is glorified, or one in which Satan can exult, especially because you profess to be a follower of Jesus?

Share Button

Comments

Thursday: The Cosmic Spectacle — 9 Comments

  1. The Cross presented the singular argument which vindicates God's character. We are assured that sin will never rise again among free moral agents in the universe after the destruction of Satan and his subjects. It is the Cross which will prevent this. One of the reasons Jesus bears the marks of His crucifixion beyond the eradication of sin is to remind the cosmos of the unyielding love displayed at Calvary. The issue of God's character is already and forever settled to the unfallen world.

    The fallen world may wrestle with questions of how to perceive God. For us the answer is also the Cross. This is what should be presented to every doubter. If this makes no difference nothing else will. There may be a temptation to revise scripture and photoshop the image of God found therein. Yet every distortion, even for a flattering effect, will only serve to mar the Gospel message in the custody of the bearers.

    Important though it be the view of God's image is not the main point of redemption. Ultimately, all, including Satan and the lost hosts will acknowledge that God is just. It will make no difference to the unrighteous.

    The central issue of the Three Angels Messages and the purpose of salvation is the restoration of the image of God in man. To realize this God will even take a hit to His own name. He takes a hit every time we bear His name falsely by our life. Ours is the privilege to further vindicate His name, to glorify Him by allowing the Holy Spirit to reform us in His image. There is no greater honor we may offer to our maker than to become like Him.

    What a privilege! What a joy divine!

    Like(3)
    • Lucifer was perfect but he fell into sin.

      Adam and Eve were created in the image of God but they too sinned.

      Now we are saying that we should be made perfect and be transformed in the image of God SO THAT we can overcome sin.

      I have no question about this but I think there is one that we are missing. Lucifer, Adam and Eve sinned because not like Job, they did not learn to love the Lord. Another reason I think why they easily fell into sin is that they have not seen yet the consequence and sufferings sin will bring to their lives.

      On the other hand, these sufferings will be the reason why sin will not come back the second time in the new earth. Who will want to suffer again?

      Like(0)
      • Brother Merwin,
        It is a mystery how sin was found in Lucifer's heart.

        Will the fear of suffering be a serious motivating factor to prevent sin? How about for those who never sinned before and who never suffered? A little awkward it might be.

        On the other hand your pointing to love seems to be more like Heaven. Here is the connection: Being restored into the image of God can be maintained only through union with God. This union is a bond of love and is reinforced by the reality of the Cross. The ultimate definition of sin is probably separation from God. He who is totally one with God does not sin.

        Like(0)
    • Hugh,
      Respectfully, you said, "Important though it may be the view of God's image is not the main point of redemption...ours is the privilege to further vindicate his name, to glorify Him by allowing the Holy Spirit to reform us in His image."
      If it is not important what his image is, how can we know we are in His image?
      This is eternal life that they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ.

      Like(0)
      • Brother Larry,
        All your comments are presumed to be made with respect and from personal conviction. So are mine. Your questions are welcome as they afford opportunities for sharing, clarification and elaboration.

        The quote cited and the overall post actually says God's image, as in character, and the view of it are important, but in a relative way. The idea is redemption, the principal issue for fallen beings, is not so much about fixing God's name as it is about fixing the fallen. The God who is love cares more about us than His own name. He identifies with us even while we misrepresent Him, pleading with us to surrender and submit.

        Satan (nee Lucifer) from his privileged position of annointed cherub had a very good view of God and will confess it in the end. It does not matter if we have a right view of God, important though it be, if we are not transformed. There were people of Old Testament times, having not benefitted from the incarnation revelation of Christ, yet will be saved. Notwithstanding their perception being imperfect God did something greater in their lives. The Holy Spirit got in and sealed them. They will get to see the nail prints in Christ's hands.

        Thanks again for another opportunity to clarify.

        Like(0)
      • I believe your last sentence is quoted from Jn 17:3 which is one of my favorite texts. Another important one is Jn 15:20-21 which says a lot about the relationship our concept of God has on our actions concerning other people.

        Like(0)
  2. I appreciate this Lesson. Thinking further ahead; after the millenium (when Satan has been destroyed) and the righteous comes back to the New earth to dwell, what assurance do we have that history would not repeat itself?
    I mean how do we know for sure that sin will not creep into the New heaven or the New earth & a 'new lucifer' arises, sending the earth back into a state of chaos again?

    Like(0)
    • Because God has promised. Sin will never come back the second time around. Nahum 1:9. Secondly, to be saved, you have to be sanctified. Sanctification means gaining power over sin. Thirdly, you will be in constant union with Christ in heaven so there is no way of separation from God. (Sin is separation from God as I learned from Hugh.)

      Like(0)

What do you think? If you like a comment, just [Like] it or post a thoughtful reply. Please provide a working email address and your real first AND last name to have your comment published.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.