The Ministry of Reconciliation by Richard Jarvis - HTML preview

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Essay One


A Faithful Creator



       “And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness.”  (Genesis 1:26).  If we are to rightly understand God’s plan and purpose for mankind, we must not forget that it was our Creator’s expressed purpose to make man in his own image and after His likeness.  Is it possible that the eternal suffering or annihilation of the creature was what God had in mind? “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.” (Romans 8:20)     “Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver?   (Isaiah 50:2)  “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: .  .  .  For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”  (Isaiah 14:24&27)


We are God’s Workmanship Created in Christ Jesus


       God is not like the craftsman or artisan who lays aside the marred work of his hands in disappointment and despair.  “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  (Ephesians 2:10)  This promise isn’t limited to Christians, for all are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.  “For by him (Christ) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.”  (Colossians 1:16)  Therefore, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  (Philippians 1:6)


       Job, reflecting on the vanity of the creature exclaims, “If a man die, shall he live again?  All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.  Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thy hands.”  (Job 14:14&15)   Job does not base his hope for the redemption of his body on his own righteousness, but rather on the fact that he is God’s workmanship, and his confidence that the Creator has a desire to perfect the work of his hands.  “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.  Be not wroth very sore, O Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.”  (Isaiah 64:8-9)  “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”  (I Peter 4:19)


       When God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” he was not speaking of Adam alone, but of the entire Adamic race.  God’s creative work, begun in Eden, has been proceeding without interruption.  Thus far, God’s creative purpose has been completed only in the case of “the perfect man”, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He has become the pattern and the model after whom all the redeemed shall be fashioned, “being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.”  (Hebrews 1:3)  “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13)  In God’s creative process we are like the unplanted acorn which bears little resemblance to the stately oak which it is destined to become.


As in Adam All Die, so in Christ shall All be made Alive


       We should remember that God’s creative process to perfect the creature is as much a work of God as was the conception of the creature.  “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?  Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:  And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be .  .  .  But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.  .  .  The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.  As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”  (I Corinthians 15:35-38, & 47-49)


       What a simple creative principle!  If we have been born in the flesh, we shall just as surely be reborn in the spirit, ultimately, “being the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of his person.”  (Hebrews 1:3)  “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”

(I Corinthians 15:22&23)


We Are Conceived by the Word of Truth


      “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”  (James 1:18)  “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I say, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”  (Revelation 5:13)


       “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”  (John 3:6)  We shall have as little to do with our spiritual birth as we did with our physical birth, as both are of the Creator’s design and doing.  “As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.”  (Ecclesiastes 11:5)  “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  (II Corinthians 3:18)


Make a Joyful Noise unto the Lord


       Therefore, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.  Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.  Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.  For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”  (Psalm 100)