Pictures of God's workingBro. David Chancellor
2/25/2001 11:00 AM
We are given a picture of a lion eating a bale of hay. Why would you have trouble with this picture? Because it is not the nature of the lion to eat hay. Here is another picture: A wolf and a lamb eating together. The wolf might be agreeable, but the lamb would shy away because he knows the nature of the wolf.
1 Peter 2:21-23
This is a picture of Christ. He did not sin, revile, or threaten, but committed himself to the one who judged righteously. His nature was not such as to do anything wrong. If you can't picture Christ doing a thing, then neither should his followers do that. Christ had the qualities of God because he was God.
James described the condition of humanity. "The tongue is a little member and boasteth great things." Great damage is caused by the tongue. A fight starts with words. People can rain all sorts of animals, but "the tongue can no man tame." Why is this? Because there is a nature that can't be tamed. This is the reason men say it is impossible to live a holy life. This nature pulls toward the world. It can't be conquered by the strength of man. It would be a difficult life to live to go against nature. It would take a lot of work. As man tries to live for God, it can seem very unnatural.
2 Peter 1:2-4
The picture in James is a sad picture of something that can't be controlled by man's strength. Peter gives us a different picture: "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue." God has given us a way to overcome the human nature. God has called us to glory and virtue. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises..." What are these promises? "...that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature..." God can change the nature. He takes the untamed carnal nature, and gives a divine nature. Instead of struggling against nature, we can be given a nature we don't have to struggle with. There was a change of nature in Peter - the lion learned to eat hay. The apostles had a change of nature. They still had trials and tests, but they weren't about struggling to do right; it wasn't being pulled in two different directions. The Bible uses graphic pictures to show the change that God makes. God gives us a new nature. There is a struggle when people don't have the new nature. God said he would work within us that which is needed that we might "live soberly, righteously, and godly..." when and where? "...in this present world."
This foretells of Jesus' coming. Christ's coming was the best thing to happen to mankind. He was able to discern what was in the hearts of men. Christ was able to work that in us which as contrary to nature. Christ changed the nature. If a wolf's nature was changed - the lamb and the wolf would get along. If the lion's nature was changed, he and the calf would get along. The leopard can't change his spots. We can't change our nature, but GOD can. God can change things where it is natural to serve God, and it not be a strain. If it is a strain, it doesn't have to be that way. God is more ready to give it than we are to ask. Our nature becomes more careful and conscientious to do the right when God has changed it. When the work of Christ is done, there is no desire to hurt or destroy.
Paul's prayer was that they would have the very person of Christ in them. He wants us to have a picture of what God can do. God wants us to have faith to see the big picture. Many people are cheated by looking at the narrow picture; they often settle for a little taste when they could be "filled with all the fulness of God." God can give us more than we could ever ask or think. If we recognize a need, God is able to do that, and more. The world needs to have their faith encouraged to see what God can do. We can have the same spirit and motivation Christ had. Christ came to provide something different - so man could be different. It won't "just happen" - God said, "Seek and ye shall find; Ask, and it shall be given..."