23rd June 2020

Brothers

“And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NET)

In a Day by Day just over a year ago, I mentioned how I’d found and spoken to my father for the first time at the age of 58. What I didn’t mention then was that I’d also hoped to meet my only sibling, an elder brother named Stephen. Sadly he didn’t want to meet me and I’ve recently heard that he has died. That meeting will have to wait a while.

Somebody who has met both of us told me that if I met him it would be ‘like looking in a mirror’ and ‘You’re like two peas in a pod’ she said. The thought struck me that wouldn’t it be nice if someone said to you ‘You know, you’re just like your elder brother, Jesus!’ It seems a bit far fetched to say the least. After all, I’m not omniscient, omnipotent, or perfect in character. On the other hand Genesis 1:27 tells us that God made mankind in his own image. So all mankind is stamped with the image of God. That image may have faded somewhat with ‘the fall,’ but there’s still love, creativity, kindness and generosity which have been expressed in every generation. We’ve seen plenty of it during this present crisis and it’s heart-warming. My wife, Maureen and I have experienced it with offers of help from neighbours at this difficult time.

Nevertheless, as Christians, our ambition is to go beyond the ‘goodness’ of this world and to embrace godliness. We desire to please God. Jesus in his famous Sermon on the Mount, ended by saying “So, then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This is a tall order! I can tell you this. There’s a stark contrast between the way Jesus lived His life on earth and the way I live mine. It isn’t that I haven’t tried. I really have. And oftentimes it just led to frustration and depression. But, thank God, no longer. Jesus Christ has come to my rescue. He has come to earth and lived a perfect life for me because He knows I can’t do it. He has died a lonely death for me because He knows I would be separated from God and hope forever. Such is His love for me.

“Trust in God, and trust also in Me,” said Jesus (John 14:1 NLT). So that’s what I do. I don’t get frustrated and depressed at my own inadequacies, weaknesses, shortcomings and—lets call it like it is—sins! ‘What! You never get frustrated by your failures?’ OK. Let’s be honest. Yes there are times when I do, but not as often as I used to. And I don’t get that ‘what’s the use of trying?’ feeling that I used to get. I’m forgiven and cleansed. Where I stumbled, He stood upright in my place. Not that it’s easy. There are still challenges, temptations and trials to face—tough ones sometimes, but I don’t feel condemned if I get it wrong. I just fix my eyes on Jesus. After all, He’s called my Saviour! He’s there for me. And for you! As the header verse shows, when we turn to the Lord we will be transformed into His likeness. Does that mean that one day somebody might mistake me for my elder Brother Jesus? I think we can forget that one! He is infinitely higher and ahead of us in every imaginable way and always will be. Yet He dwells in us and is changing us. He is not ashamed to call us brothers (and sisters) in the same family (Hebrews 2:11). God looks lovingly down on us and sees Jesus. Perhaps someday someone will be able to say ‘You know, you remind me of your elder brother, Jesus.’

Prayer
Father, what a remarkable thing that we should be called children of God. Thank You for such a glorious blessing and privilege. Help us to let others know that they too are invited into your family.
Amen

Study by Doug Bass
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About the Author:
Doug Bass is a member of Grace Communion International. The closest congregation for Doug and his wife, Maureen, is in Exeter.

Local Congregation:
WCG Exeter
America Hall
De La Rue Way
Pinhoe
EXETER
EX4 8PX
Visitors welcome but please ring first as we do sometimes change our venue.

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
John Armstrong
Phone: 01392-421066
Email: exeter@gracecom.church

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