Man was created by God out of dust and the inbreathing of the Spirit of God into that dust. The first man was named Adam, and his descendants are of his race. His race is summed up in the phrase, “A wicked generation,” (Mat 12:45). The teaching in the N.T. is that Jesus is not merely of our humanity, but he is the second man, the last Adam, and the founder of an entirely new race – a race that is born again.
Jesus is the first Man of a new race, and he is an infinite mystery to those of the old race. He is a mystery because one cannot be a member of this new race by their works, obedience to the law, or the recitation of a creed. One can only a member of His race by doing of the will of God. What is the will of God? The will of God is to repent, confess Jesus as the Christ, and be baptized. When a person obeys God’s will they are reborn. The Holy Spirit takes that person and mysteriously remakes them into a member of the new race.
Jesus said, “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother,” (Matt 13:50). Those who are reborn mysteriously become related to Jesus and thereby enter into a new relationship with God. Jesus said, “Whoever,” so the choice is ours to make.
Free to choose,
Today, after the Easter break, we return to our study in Daniel. As you recall we left off in chapter 9 with Daniel in prayer, and in that prayer, for the first time, he called upon God using his covenant name Jehovah (Cf. 4b). Daniel was appealing to God as the one who keeps his covenant with all who obey the laws associated with that covenant. Daniel called it, “His covenant of love” (4). The word used for love here is, “hesed” a love that leads to covenant faithfulness on God’s part.
What does the word hesed mean? It means a quality of love that moves someone to act for the benefit of someone else without considering what is in it for them. The Hebrew sees the Torah, the first five books of Hebrew Scripture, as beginning and ending with God’s hesed love. They view the Torah as setting forth a vision of the ideal life whose goals are a behavior characterized by mercy and compassion.
The Christian sees God’s hesed love expressed in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The quality of God’s love is so great that it moved Him to act on our behalf without considering what would happen to Him.
I read the following saying this week, “A painted fire throws off no heat.” It caused me to think, for it accurately describes the perilous state of today’s Christian. What is a painted fire? A painted fire is: Ethics without enthusiasm, principles without passion, and desires without denial of wrong; all these are painted fires throwing off no heat.
Our land, our families, our churches are filled with painted fires; those who attend the right church, sing the hip hymns, and don’t speak his name in vain, but find the whole thing boring and lame. There is no passion, no heat, no flame, for they have come so far and see it all as no gain.
The Christian today has no fire, no force, no light, and no song in their heart; they have become just painted flames. A poem by G. Campbell Morgan’s accurately states what the Christian has become, “Faultily faultless, icily regular, splendidly null.”
Acquire the fire,
Throwing clay is a profession unchanged, for today, as centuries ago, it consists of just three parts: the potter, the wheel and the clay. A metaphor arises out of the image: The potter is God’s authority, the wheel is the circumstances in which we live, and the clay is our nature being molded by God.
God, my circumstances, and my life is an interesting metaphor. God has a thought of me, the circumstances of my life are turning and fashioning what God plans for me to be. However, I can rebel and take the clay out of the Potter’s hands, but to do so is to render my life useless. Think of the wrecks in the potter’s field; half formed, marred, and broken. Lives that might have been forms of beauty, but they did not yield.
“So they used the money to buy the potter’s field” (Matt 27:7), and they called it the field of blood (Cf. 8). We are all wrecks in the potter’s field that was bought with the blood money. “But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping as it seemed best to him” (Jer. 18:4).