When God Sees You, He Sees Jesus.
Galatians 3: 26-4:11
It’s hard when you don’t know if you are accepted or received by people; especially people you care about. There is a painful uncertainty built into a relationship when you must perform to a certain (or worse – uncertain) standard to be loved and accepted. This is most painful in parent child relationships and can leave emotional and relational scars that seep into generations.
When the Apostle Paul delivered the Gospel (good news) that God loves people, the natural response in the hearts of people in the 1st century down to this very moment is – what do we need to do the secure such love? Paul’s radical answer remains unchanged through the centuries, “nothing but believe God loves you this much.” How much? Enough to send His one and only Son to die for your (and everyone’s) sins.
This love and acceptance are extended by grace and received by faith alone. Faith in Jesus Christ and the work which He did on the cross; it changed everything. When received, it makes one a Son of God. Not a child of God – that is subject for another section of Scripture. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul is very specific in his choice of words and chooses sons of God. The greater context of his passage includes the rights of heirs to fortunes and possessions passed onto them by their fathers. In Paul’s time, women couldn’t inherit anything on their own. Paul’s use of the phrase sons of God comes across more like a title including both men and women in it. Sounds a bit sexist? Don’t read your 21st century values into a 1st century context. It’s no more sexist than when John wrote that men make up what is called the “bride of Christ” in Revelation 21.
The use of sons of God accords to men and women their incredible status as heirs to the promises made to the Patriarch Abraham equally. This is a radical teaching in a time when women were considered little more than property in the surrounding culture. All this may read a bit nerdy; however, it is important for men and women in the church to know.
He goes on to teach that being clothed in Christ implies several things for the Christian of great significance. Clothing is a metaphor that Paul is fond of using and employs it when writing to believers in Colossae, Philippi and Rome. Additionally, Paul reminds the Galatians they have been baptized (or identified as) Christians – belonging to Jesus. Clothed in Christ means:
1. Primary identity is in Christ: Clothing/uniforms tell people what team we’re on.
2. Closeness to God in Christ: Nothing is closer for us through the day than clothing.
3. Seen to all as Christ: When people/God sees me – sees Christ. Clothing projects an image and is recognizable.
4. Acceptance in Christ: Clothing is a covering – sin/shame are covered in Christ.
When God sees me – He sees Jesus.
All one in Jesus: As a result of being in Christ – the Christian’s essential identity is sealed. He or she is a Son of God. That is how we are to know one another in the church. Distinctions such as being male and female, free or slave remain. Paul was focused on the essential identity of the Christian being new – In Christ. In society we work out our identity and things change from the inside out. It starts with the heart from there we affect change in our homes then our church families and eventually our surrounding society. God chose to work through the hearts of people to affect change and not legislate morality from the outside in. One can make laws and still miss the heart.
Christians are heirs according to the promise given to Abraham (Genesis 15). They are heirs of an incredible promise to be part of the family of God in Christ. This promise spans generations back to Abraham. The covenant/relationship was established and secured by God – grace alone will make it happen.
Galatians 4: 1-6
Jesus’ death and resurrection accomplishes our redemption – a positional justification. Good to go in Jesus.
The Holy Spirit secures our actual experience of this event – making it real to us. Jesus’ work (whether we feel it or not) is objective and completely effective. The Spirit’s work is more subjective and brings it home to the Christian.
Characteristic marks of the Spirit upon the life of the believer includes:
1. The Spirit leads us to call out “Abba Father!” – this speaks to the passion and feeling of the Christian experience.
2. Call out refers to our prayer life as well. Children do not have rehearsed speeches for their parents – with great spontaneity they talk to them and vice versa. We do not have a formula to speak to God. We are free to express our thoughts – like the Psalms of lament or praise.
3. Call out gives us a sense of God’s presence – speaking to God as though He were present with us in this room, car or bedroom (hospital room).
Finally, “Abba” = daddy or poppa reminds us of the personal warmth and security we can have in addressing God – our heavenly Father. In Mark 14:36, Jesus used this phrase to address God the Father. In teaching this – Paul is telling believers we have full rights (as Jesus does) to personally address God the Father. We can confidently come into His presence (like the writer of Hebrews asserts) and be beautiful, belonging and desired as Jesus was by the Father (Clothed in Christ).
We are Sons of God – full heirs in Christ – there are no 2nd class citizens. We are fully Sons of God in Christ – not 1st Stage moving to 2nd Stage etc. No secret knowledge or rites of passage to move us into being fully accepted. No need for fear and loathing – God isn’t a hard task master.
· God doesn’t call us into performance management mode.
· God doesn’t call us to achieve or earn His love and acceptance.
· God DOES call us to believe He loves us this much.
We are known by God – it’s a 2 way street of relationship made possible by the grace of God. God wants you around. God likes you. God loves you.
When God Sees You, He Sees Jesus.
Clearly, God has given us the ability and opportunity to have a relationship with Him. Like any relationship of value and meaning to us we cultivate it.
1. Set aside time to be with Jesus. Read or reread a Gospel and take note of Jesus’ attitude, actions and the results. Focus in and watch Him like you would your spouse, child or best friend. Ask yourself – what can I come away with by knowing more about Who He is – what He is for, against and desires. Learn how what it means to be clothed in Him. What does He look like and, do I look like that?
2. Cry out to Jesus. Cultivate a conversation with Jesus – taking every aspect of your day to Him. It is not always asking Him for things – share your insights, joys, observations and what you are feeling with Him. Practice talking to Jesus this week; about everything.
Ask yourself, am I acting like a slave who is afraid of God or like a child assured of my Father’s love?
I often tell you the world is waiting for you. The world – your world (your scope of influence) – is waiting for you to show them what a real relationship with God looks like. They are like those we read about in Scripture who are sitting in darkness waiting for the light.
When God Sees You, He Sees Jesus.
You are the light. This isn’t about your moral behavior right now – this is simply about being and reveling in who you are.
Weddings – I performed 2 this month. There is something beautiful about watching the bride and groom following the wedding – they’re glowing, smiling, laughing and freely embracing their love for one another AND IT SHOWS!
When we live, work, raise kids, do school and careers and face all of life’s ups/downs with a joyous freedom that comes from knowing we are secure, wanted and belong to God our Father. When we glory in the splendor of His out poured love for us! Our sins, shame and pasts are removed for a beautiful and bright future AND IT SHOWS!
Go into your world this week – soak in Jesus’ presence and do what the ancients called (Brother Lawrence) – practicing the presence of God – speaking, serving and living as if only God were in the room with you.
Do it and see what happens!