Sunday 2 October 2011

Our Role Model

In this post, I want to focus on the fact that Jesus is the chief role model for every Christian.  Let's start by looking at some relevant verses from the New Testament:

  • John 13:13-17: [Jesus said:] "You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
  • Romans 13:12-14: The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
  • Philippians 2:5-8: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!
  • Colossians 3:1-5: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
  • Hebrews 12:2: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • 1 Peter 2:21: Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
Observe that these verses (and several others like them) focus on two specific aspects of Jesus' character: his humility and his holiness.  The Bible makes it clear that a genuine Christian will be growing in both.

At this point, there are two things that need to be clarified.  First, I need to remind the reader that, to Christians, Jesus is much more than a mere role model.  We believe that He was and is the Son of God.  Sadly, there are many people in the world who admit that Jesus is a good role model, but are not willing to submit to Him as their Lord and Saviour.  Second, when we speak about imitating Jesus' character, there is the danger of falling into a legalistic, ritualistic lifestyle, in which we try to obey a collection of rules or laws, in a vain attempt to earn God's favour.  The Christian message is that such striving is doomed to failure.  Instead, all that is needed is a childlike faith in Jesus and dependence on the Holy Spirit.  The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus (in some mysterious way that we will not fully understand in this life) clothes us in His own righteousness.

Finally, I want to mention that several verses in the New Testament state that Christians will, in the end, be "like" Jesus, somehow sharing in his power, beauty and glory. For example:
  • Rom 8:28-30: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
  • 1 Cor 15:48-49: As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man,
    so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.
  • 2 Cor 3:18: And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
  • Phil 3:19-21: ... Their mind is on earthly things, but our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
  • 1 John 3:2-6:  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.  Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.  But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins.  And in him is no sin.  No one who lives in him keeps on sinning.  No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
I find this amazing, encouraging and inspiring!

1 comment:

  1. What a tremendous gift ... to exchange our fallen flesh will for the righteousness and spirit of God. We walk as Christ, when Christ is in us, and we've crucified our self-will. Christ comes in us as we submit to the instruction of the Holy Spirit in renewing our mind in truth.

    It is immensely encouraging!!