Monday, June 18, 2018

Portraits of Christ

E. J. Davis

This portrait of Christ is found in Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of faith…”. Notice, I left out the word “our” (our faith). Most Bibles have it in italics, showing it is not in the Greek text. It was added by the translators. For Jesus, the One Who Himself had perfect faith.

The Greek word for “Author” means, chief leader, captain, prince. The Greek for “Finisher” is the state of completeness, perfection. In other words, He is the Leader and Completer of faith or the Author, Captain and Perfector of faith.

Verse one of this chapter, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,” refers to the encouraging and inspiring examples of the Old Testament saints of chapter 11 for their overcoming faith. Christ’s faith far surpassed their faith for which they are commemorated. Christ is the leader, the pre-eminent One of faith.

Let us finish the rest of verse 1, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. “ The Old testament heroes of faith were ordinary human beings that obtained a good report (Ch. 11:2). How? By simply believing their God and trusting He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Ch. 11:6). If their life of faith pleased God, so can our life of faith please Him (Ch. 11:5). So “Let us” lay aside every hindrance and the sin of unbelief and run with patience our race, that we may win the Prize set before us, Christ as our Bridegroom. He is the Prize.

We are not looking to Abraham, or Moses, but “Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of faith.” May our hearts be fixed on Him and our vision filled with the hope of His soon return for us. May we look unto Him, for He is our true strength for running. He is the Light of our life.

In all things He is pre-eminent, the witness of what faith is. We find in Him the perfect example to follow and the energy we need for life’s journey. I thought of the Olympic athletes that spend years in training to obtain fame and others willing to spend their life to gain riches; those things last a brief time. How much more willing should we be to run for the prize we will enjoy for all eternity. Selah!

Christ requires our attention, for He is our file-Leader and Finisher of faith. He ran before us (12:2), resisting religious sinners who bitterly opposed Him, and he finished His course enduring the cross of shame. He was inspired by the joy set before Him, His bride by His side which is still ahead for Him.

Eph. 5:25-27, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

We know not all the church (the body of Christ) will quality being holy and without blemish. But Christ will have a Bride. Rev. 19:7, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”

The Bride will be a rib company from the body of Christ who will qualify. She “hath made herself ready.” How? I Cor. 9:24-27, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (or disapproved, not qualifying).”

Let us as Paul count all things of the flesh lost, putting Christ first, before all else, Yielding to the Holy Spirit for His leading and working of God’s Word in our lives. These are not just cliché phrases. Phil. 3:12-15, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”

Let us get serious with God, the time is short. Heb. 10:35-38, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”

By Whose faith? Gal. 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

II Cor. 11:2, The Apostle Paul desires to present a chaste virgin to Christ (chaste means pure, blameless, holy). All the Word of God is good and profitable, but get into Paul’s Epistles to learn the ultimate purpose of God, a bride for His Son and how that we may qualify.

 Phil. 3:9-11, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead (out from the believing dead),” the first rank. The bride is seen in Rev. 21:2 as a “holy city” prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

May God bless you and may we all go forward by the faith of our file-leader, our Lord Jesus Christ.