Posted by: William | March 30, 2008

Seven: Bearing His Image

Richard Baxter’s seventh point of introspection for ministers of the Gospel goes:

“The honour of your Lord and Master, and of His holy truth, doth lie more on you than other men.”

 

Christians are sons and daughters of God. As believers we are reborn. In much the same sense that people are born the first time bearing the image of God—in a general sense—we are now reborn bearing even more specifically the image of God in our hearts. The metaphor of the son in scripture carries with it this idea. The son bears the image of the father. Where the son is disgraced so is the father, where the son is shamed, the father also bears this shame. Have you ever heard the phrase “bringing shame to the family name”? It’s a similar idea.

As Christians, we have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s son, Jesus. We are considered sons and co-heirs with Christ. As such, we have all of the privileges and responsibilities that come with the territory. We have the obligation not to bring disgrace to God. Think back to our family, the Church’s, history. Our brothers and sisters have committed heinous crimes, and the world equates them to God. The Crusades; how many think of the crusades, the bloodshed and violence, and somehow come away from that believing that God is not who he claims to be? Granted, many at that time were not true brothers. What about the early American settlers who acted superstitiously towards some women calling them “witches”? Or what about today, every time an unbeliever finds himself in an unloving, uncaring, uncompassionate church congregation? They do not walk away thinking, “These people are not very friendly.” They walk away thinking, “God is not who he says he is.”

So all men bearing the title Sons of God, true Christians, do have the responsibility to live a life that reflects God; to bring honor to his name. This is a responsibility we take on the moment we find ourselves as part of his family. However, for ministers, this is all the more true. A minister of the Gospel carries God, not only in his classification, but very specifically in all of his workings. While, one person may serve tables to the glory of God, and so silently serve God, the minister of the Gospel is not under that obscurity. Every action is a vocal expression of his connectedness to Christ. So even the smallest misstep brings great disgrace to God.

Jesus, I pray that for the sake of your glory, you would sanctify your church. Sanctify especially your ministers. Help us, by your power, to take our bearing of your image very seriously. Let us never walk lightly with such precious cargo as your reputation. Jesus, I acknowledge that you have every power and ability to make your name great, regardless of me or anyone else, and I thank you that you would give me the privilege of bearing your image. Jesus, for your glory, help us to do that well.

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