Saturday, June 14, 2008

# 252: Extensions of Jesus Christ

Christians believe Jesus Christ came to earth to die on a cross to save us from being sent to eternal damnation; which He did. Along with that, Jesus came to show us, by His life, how to live in a way that pleases our heavenly Father. By the life He lived and what He taught, He became an example for all people who call themselves Christians or disciples of Christ. He also became our example for another reason: so that we can become extensions of His life; then future generations will use us as examples of how to live. Christ lived a perfect life. Consequently, with perfection as our holy grail (role model), living the Christian life will be a death-defying challenge as we continually strive for a greater degree of perfection.

Some might be thinking to themselves, "How can we become extensions of Christ?" Let Christ reveal a Divine mystery. First, we must realize that Almighty God is an awesome God. In fact, there are no human words that can accurately describe His greatness. He is the God of a universe with no limits. Our solar system and even our Milky Way galaxy are but a minute speck when compared to that gigantic background. Yet, not many Christians dare speculate as to the infinite number of other worlds that have the potential to inhabit intelligent life. The question comes up: How can God give individuals on the earth special attention to the point of being extensions of Him and his Son?

The answer is simple. Well, not so simple. All the goodness that consists of what God is could rightfully be summed up as His Spirit; His Spirit exists in countless entities, which the New Testament calls the Holy Spirit. That Holy Spirit is in limbo until He enters a human being (Christian). When He does enter a person who has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and conveys it by diligent obedience to the commands of God, at that time He will start to make His existence known to that individual. But never will He violate the free will of the one He inhabits, even if He could.

That Holy Spirit desires to control every action, thought, desire, ambition and motivation, along with the mind, heart and the complete will of the person He indwells. Repeating, never will He force any of God's attributes on the one He indwells, although He may lovingly coax Christ's ways but with no coercion. The only time the Spirit can do His work is when a person wholeheartedly desires to be changed into a Christ-like individual. When those changes start to manifest themselves, that person is starting to become an extension of Jesus Christ. As that person continues to grow, He/she becomes more and more Christ-like; thus, more power will be available so that he or she can and will display, to a greater degree, what Christ desires from people who are genuine Christians.

However, there is a problem: When one receives God's Holy Spirit, but there is little or no growth/change in how one lives, that would signify that one's faith is not genuine. Anyone who claims to be a Christian and neglects the guidelines of the New Testament is undermining the truth of the gospel for those who will come later. Therefore, the Spirit must unwillingly leave that person, since she/he is deaf to His inspiration. People in that position may believe they are still Christians since they still religiously go to church every Sunday, pay their tithe and are "good" the rest of the week. Nevertheless, without growth into the likeness of Christ, which displays their disconnection with Christ, they are stagnant; that is a sure sign of death. They don't show any Christ-like characteristics which would verify their extension to the life of Jesus Christ. That is a sad situation. They are the people this blog has been desperately attempting to reach for three years. The only thing is, they believe they are already Christians, and since their present religion is satisfying and requires little or no effort, why should they change, thus being burdened and challenged to live as extensions of Christ?

The most important question we could ask is this: How was Jesus able to obey everything His Father commanded Him? John 14:31. "but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. ‘Come now; let us leave.’" The answer is that since Jesus was the possessor of His Father's Holy Spirit, and sharer of God's Divine nature, He was inspired by the love His Father had for Him and the love He had for His Father. Therefore, He was able to believe, without a doubt, in what His Father said. Hence, because of the certainly of His belief, He accomplished all that His Father commanded.

Let us look at Scriptural evidence that we Christians also are extensions of God and His Christ. First and foremost, we must follow the example of how Jesus Christ was able to explicitly obey all that His father commanded. 1st John 2:6. "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." Ephesians 5:1. "Be imitators of God." Philippians 2:5. "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." 2nd Corinthians 5:21. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." These verses, and several more which display the same precepts, are the open secret of why we must emulate the life of Jesus Christ. That must unequivocally be the goal of every serious Christian. One of the reasons God gave us His Holy Spirit, as He gave to Jesus, was to inspire us to live like Jesus. The more we love our heavenly Father with all our facilities, the stronger our belief, and the easier it will be to live within all the guidelines of His Word, the Christian Bible. That tells us that the way Jesus was connected to God, we also can be connected. That connection is the extension of His life from generation to generation through His disciples (you and me). Every Genuine Christian is one of Christ's disciples. They are one and the same; don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

When we are living as above- mentioned, we can be absolutely assured of our destiny, along with making our calling and election sure. 2 Peter 1:10. "Therefore my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall."

If God could inspire Jesus, who was totally human, to have the ability to be completely obedient to all that He said, and thus give Jesus absolute assurance of His destiny, He can and will do the same to other humans who also have an active desire to be totally obedient to all that He teaches, and thus be given absolute assurance of their Salvation. Assurance of Salvation combined with lack of obedience to New Testament Scripture is a path of complacency that, most likely, will lead to an unexpected death. Another prevalent indication of death in the modern church is a lack of sharing their faith with those without Christ. Philemon 1:6. "I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ."

Anyone who believes they are absolutely certain of their extension/connection has another challenge to think about: They must be faithful and overcome the niceties the world offers until the end of life. Revelation 2:10. "Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." Revelation 2:26. "To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations." Romans 2:6-7. "God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life." [Emphasis added.]

In conclusion, much of this post will not resonate well with most people who call themselves Christians, and with good reason. The reason I say that is because the center piece of this post is that having an active desire of becoming like Jesus is not optional, but mandatory. There is nothing easy about living the lifestyle of the Christ in this pampered and coddled society. Consequently, we cannot be extensions of Christ and still engage in the dictations of our “anything goes” American lifestyle.

Let us not forget, if we don't strive to live as Jesus did and still call ourselves Christians, we will be propagating false examples for all other potential Christians. Isn't that what has been happening for the last several hundred years or so?

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