The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

The Believer’s Relationship with Jesus

Knowing God and Jesus Christ is eternal life (Jn. 17:3), and eternal life is found in Jesus Himself (I Jn. 5:11; 20). There are several pictures in Scripture that illustrate the relationship we must have with Jesus Christ if we desire to have eternal life, and each depicts a different aspect in that relationship.

First, we are clay in the hands of a Potter, all of us being the work of God’s hands (Isa. 64:8), and woe to the clay that resists the Potter’s influence (Isa. 45:9). In Jeremiah 18, the prophet was instructed to go watch a potter at work. He noticed that when the clay vessel became ruined in the potter’s hand,  he started over and made it into another vessel. God likewise reserves the right to do exactly that with any lump of clay that He is working with which becomes ruined in His hands by resisting Him, but He gives the vessel a choice. It is written, “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.  But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.   If a man therefore purge himself from these(dishonorable works), he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2 Tim. 2:19-21)  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:10)

Second, we are branches abiding in a Vine (Jesus), and it is His life that is flowing up from the Vine itself to give us life. If there is a severance of this closeness, there will be no life, for remember:  eternal life is in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Branches that remain connected to the Vine and produce fruit will endure pruning so as to produce even more.  Branches that do not remain connected to the Vine and become fruitless, will be cut off and receive no further benefit from the Vine–no eternal life.

Third, we are body parts directly connected to and under the authority of our Head (Jesus).  Just as the physical brain is the seat of authority in the body, and all body parts obey the commands of the brain and cannot remain alive if there is a separation between the head and body, just so we are utterly dependent on Jesus Christ to guide us and keep us alive and functioning properly. We also enjoy and benefit from interdependent body life, receiving nourishment from other body parts as each one functions in his/her own gift.

Fourth, we are a Bride-to-be being prepared and made ready for our Groom (Jesus), who has gone to prepare a place for us, and will soon return to take us to Himself. Just as a bride focuses on making herself as perfect as possible for her coming wedding, and remains faithful in her behavior and solely focused on the one she loves; so every man who has the hope of final redemption purifies himself just as Jesus is pure (I Jn. 3:3), being diligent to be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless (2 Pet. 3:14).

Fifth, we are citizens of a kingdom of which Jesus is the King. Just as citizens of any earthly country must obey and serve the authorities over them, Christians give 100% total allegiance to King Jesus, remembering that He will send forth His angels to gather out of the kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity (Matt. 13:41). Not only do we do the things that please our King, we act on His behalf as ambassadors to earthly men, beseeching them to be reconciled to God through Jesus (Eph. 2:19; 2 Cor. 5:20).

Sixth, we are individual stones in a great spiritual temple which is being built for a habitation of God.  The foundation of this building is Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone without which the whole building falls, and the apostles and prophets who gave to us His written Word and instructions (Eph. 2:19-21).  As stones in a building lean and rely upon the first-laid cornerstone, so we lean and rely upon Jesus Christ. Only those who hear and do His words will be properly founded upon the Rock and be saved from destruction (Matt. 7).

Seventh, Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest of our profession (Heb. 3:1) and our High Priest of good things to come, by the greater and more perfect tabernacle, who has Himself–as the Passover Lamb–obtained eternal redemption for us by His own blood (Heb. 9:11-12). Not only are we the redeemed from the earth, we fulfill the kingdom of priests and holy nation God has always desired (Exo. 19:5-6), being called by Peter a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, and a peculiar people (I Pet. 2:9).  Like the priesthood in the Old Testament which serves as an example of heavenly things (Heb. 8:5), we priests offer up spiritual sacrifices, presenting our own bodies a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God;  and we lead outsiders to our High Priest Jesus–the only mediator between God and men–that they might be forgiven and restored.

Eighth, we are sheep following a Shepherd–not just any hireling who is in it for personal gain and abandons the sheep at first sign of danger, but a Good Shepherd who has already laid down His life for His sheep. Jesus said His sheep hear His voice and follow Him, and He gives to them eternal life (John 10:27-28). Psalm 23 wonderfully paints the details of how our Shepherd cares for our needs as we continue to follow Him. When any sheep goes astray, He is faithful to seek for the one which is lost, and rejoices greatly with all of heaven whenever a lost sheep is found and brought back under His care! (Luke 15:4-7)

Ninth, Jesus is the Bread of Life to us, and we must be partakers of Him to live. He is the Word of God made flesh, and man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God (Lk. 4:4). He is the living bread which came down from heaven and gives life to the world (Jn. 6:51).   We must, like the prophet Ezekiel, eat the scroll, feeding upon the Word of the Lord to the health of our spiritual man. We must take in this daily bread–this manna–that may not be as titillating to our flesh as the leeks of Egypt, but nevertheless is exactly what is needed to nourish us up in the words of faith and good doctrine (I Tim. 4:6).  Jesus instructed us to 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 (Jn. 6:27).

May Jesus be glorified as we properly relate to Him as our Potter, our life-giving Vine, our Head, our Groom, our King, our foundational Rock, our High Priest and Passover Lamb, our Good Shepherd, and our Daily Bread.

God bless you!

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