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Conformation

For those who like to discuss and debate theology. This is a forum for people who enjoy strong and lively debate with people who may not be likeminded. Participants are requested to always treat other opinions with respect.

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NetChaplain
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Conformation

Postby NetChaplain » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:39 am

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Then left click and drag anywhere at the top of the page to access the desktop. Then left click and drag the symbol (could be a lock or circled i) in the far left address bar anywhere to the open desktop and release, and of course you can move it to where you desire it to be on your desktop from there. Let me know if you have any questions.



Conformation

As believers the Father has predetermined us (or, “marked us out beforehand”) to be conformed to the image of His Son. In His eternal purpose God ever had it before Him that there should be for His pleasure a vast host of human beings, who should be in a position of subordination to Himself; which is right, for He must ever be supreme, but who should nevertheless enjoy the most wonderful blessedness and glory. They were to be in the most intimate relationship with God which is possible to the creature, in nature and character fully answering to God Himself, knowing and understanding Him, and responding to Him in such a way as to give satisfaction to His heart, while themselves finding satisfaction and fulfillment in Him.

When God brought creation into being, He did not see fit to introduce at once the kind of manhood that His all-wise purpose had in view. The order of manhood introduced in Adam became totally corrupted by sin, and was proved altogether incapable of ever answering to the desires of the heart of the Father.

But when the fullness of time was come, the Savior emerged, the Man of God’s pleasure. One of the blessed Persons of the Godhead, without ceasing to be God, stepped down into manhood, bringing with Him all the moral excellences that were ever His as God. Nothing that He was intrinsically or morally was left behind, but all was brought into the subject place of manhood, a position taken up by Him in love in order that by suffering and death He might give full effect to the blessed and glorious thoughts of the Father. No wonder that upon such a Man the heavens opened, and that Voice from the glory proclaimed, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I have found My delight.”

What grace that we, who were of Adam’s fallen and sinful race, should have been marked out from eternity to be conformed to the image of this glorious Person; to be among the many brethren of whom He is the Firstborn! Not, of course, that we can ever have part in Deity; but to be made (“partakers of His nature which is divine” via the “new nature”—NC) like the Lord Jesus in all the moral perfection of His Manhood.

John tells us that we will to be like Him even in a physical way (1 Jhn 3:2), but this bodily conformity is in order that there should be an adequately glorious “house” (2 Cor 5:1-5) to enshrine what we shall be inwardly as conformed to Him in a moral sense. He has now a body which corresponds with what He is in the glorious state of His Manhood, and we are to be brought into conformity with Him in that perfection, so that we shall be suited to inhabit a body of glory, “like unto His glorious body” (Phil 3:21).

Over against such thoughts as these, we have the injunction of Romans 12:2: “Be not conformed to this world.” It is the world that hated the Lord Jesus, and still does, the world that crucified Him. He came into it in all the grace of His Person, His very presence in it being a testimony of divine love; yet He was the despised and rejected One. Despite the world’s refusal, He continued unswervingly in His pathway of love, and gave Himself for the sins of the whole world: yet still His name is hated and despised.

Are we, then, who in infinite grace have been called to be conformed to the image of that lovely One, seeking to be conformed in any way to such a world as this? Do we seek to appear as if we belonged to the world that murdered the Prince of Life? Are we admiring and assimilating or even approximating to its ways, it fashions, its outlook, it spirit? Or are we walking here as pilgrims and strangers, as those who desire to be conformed to the Son of God?

“Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Believers, having the indwelling Holy Spirit, possess what the Scripture calls the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16). This is a mind that recoils from the world and from all that marks it; a mind which delights in the Father, and what is according to Him, and which delights to please Him, even as the Lord Jesus delighted to please Him. As we depend upon the Spirit, and give heed to the desires and impulses that spring from Him, we shall be transformed according to the Lord Jesus.

Thus instead of using our bodies to affect our own wills, we shall “present them a living sacrifice to the Father, holy and acceptable in His sight,” and as doing we shall prove how good and acceptable and perfect is His will. What a delight it is to the Father to have those who find their pleasure in fellowshipping with Him and serving Him; conformed to Him who under the greatest possible pressure could say, “Abba, Father . . . not what I will, but what Thou wilt” (Mar 14:36).

In Philippians we have the language of one who was truly transformed by the renewing of his mind. Once his mind was bent upon the extermination of the name of the Lord Jesus, but now his whole aim and object is to “gain Christ.” All that once seemed to him glorious he now esteems to be but filth, on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. We see him pressing on with dauntless spiritual energy to apprehend that for which he had been apprehended of Christ Jesus (Phil 3:12); that he might arrive at the resurrection from the dead; that he might reach the prize of the calling on high of God in Christ Jesus: and this necessarily embraces the principle of full conformity to the image of God’s Son.

It is as having passed through death that the risen Lord Jesus is the goal and prize of the believer. We are to be with Him, where He is, and like Him as He is; and it is by the way of suffering and death that He has reached that position of glory in which we now see Him, the way by which He must needs go if ever we were to be with Him, and Paul would follow in the way that He has gone.

His death was very truly a death of shame and loss. The Messiah was cut off, and had nothing (Dan 9:26). He was bereft of all that attached to Him as a Man here, even of life itself, and all man’s scorn and hatred found expression in the particular form of death which man demanded for Him—the death of the ignominious Cross. Furthermore, the crucified Christ was the expression of God’s holy judgment of man according to the flesh. Paul would accept the full bearing of all this. He would relinquish all that attached to himself as a man here, repudiating all that he was according to the flesh, and fully accepting the reproach and shame that the Cross of Calvary expresses: the scandal of the Cross (Gal 5:11).

It is beautiful to see how Paul would bring us into the pathway with himself. He enjoins us: “Be ye imitators all together of me, brethren”; let us be thus minded and let us walk in the same steps. May we all be helped to accept the challenge, and to be able to say with Paul, “Forgetting the things behind, and stretching out to the things before, I pursue, looking towards the goal, the prize of the calling on high of God in Christ Jesus.”

- W J Pearce



Excerpt from MJS devotional for April 20: “It is well to remember that the deepest and truest spiritual qualities are not learnt or established in us by our happy or enjoyable times, but in the difficult ones! There is nothing wrong in times of great joy and spiritual blessing; in fact we long for more of them, and look back perhaps to some days of much blessing in our lives or in the work of the Lord; but in the securing of Christ in greater measure in our lives, we find that it is by the things which we suffer that we learn most. So let us give thanks for the joyful days, and learn all that the Lord intends by the days of waiting and difficulty.” -C.J.B.H.
http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ. -MJS

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