Being a Christ one, is all about a surrendered life, isn’t it? And so there are costs we never even knew of. Sometimes I sense the Lord doing something in me and I can’t even really tell what it is. I’m generally experiencing some kind of discomfort, pain or suffering in a way that I can’t put into words. It’s not necessarily that my external circumstances have changed and by anyone’s account my life appears to be going along swimmingly. But there is an apprehension that something is being pulled at, perhaps pulled out, or prodded, deep within me. Perhaps it’s another death of some kind, more learning to let go of my own soul-life on a deeper or further level.
However, I’m learning that during these times I can remain confident and assured that He is right beside me and is in fact leading me in it all because it’s as though I can hear the craftsman busy at work. Chiselling, bang- bang! with the hammer. I can just imagine Him there covered in dust from the stone He is carving into, sawdust from the timber He is sanding. I can even imagine power tools grinding away at times and all the while not knowing what He’s up to. But He is working away diligently without telling me anything.
He might be breaking things apart in order to change the shape or chiselling away at a better design. He might be hammering in nails to connect pieces to other pieces. He might be sawing off sections that need to be discarded. He might be sanding and polishing. Whatever He’s up to, He’s working to a plan. And that plan is ‘Him’. HE is the plan. God the Father, by His Spirit, through the life of His Son in us, is always conforming us more and more into the likeness of His Son Jesus, the Christ.
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; (Romans 8:29)
He has one goal in mind and that is to see His Son gloriously expressed as head over all things.
And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfilment – to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. (Ephesians 1:9-10)
God has already achieved this outside of time, since He is not subject to time and dates, though we may not yet see it manifested with our earthly sight. This is why the scripture above says “when the times will have reached their fulfilment”. This is also why we must live by faith and not by sight. We remember the words Jesus spoke on the cross when He breathed His final breath, “It is finished”. How has God done this already? What did Jesus mean when He said “It is finished”?
…by setting aside in his (Christ’s) flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two (Jews & Gentiles) thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross… (Ephesians 2:15)
God has created this one body, this new humanity, this one new man in His Son, through Jesus’ death on the cross. There Christ conquered the power of sin and death thereby making the way open for all who believe in Him as God’s Son, to be reconciled with God the Father. This new humanity is the body of believers, i.e. the church – whether Jews or Gentiles i.e. Greek, Chinese, Australian, Italian, Lebanese, African etc, male or female. This is a new race in which Christ dwells as it’s head.
And in Him you (plural) too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22).
We see and experience with our physical senses a fallen world all around us that is rapidly increasing in darkness. So one could ask just how is Christ manifested as head over all things in the heavens and the earth?
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 3:10-11).
It is through the church that God displays His manifold wisdom to all powers and dominions, and this has been accomplished in Christ because it’s only in Christ that the church exists. As members of His Church, His body, this one new man, this new race – we are the bearers of Christ’s image. This is the plan. Christ is God’s plan. And God, through Christ, is having each one of us, each member of this one new man, being conformed more and more into His image so that Christ is expressed for who He is, head over all things.
Now Christ is the head and no head exists without a body just as no body exists without a head. So the head and the body are one. Just as your head and your body are all part of you, so Christ’s head and his body are all part of Him. So He is in fact both the head and the body. So it stands to reason that we, who collectively are also His body, are being conformed into His likeness.
This means ongoing work inside of us as individuals. Is it any wonder Jesus’ earthly vocation before going into ministry was as a craftsman? Some say He was a carpenter, some say a stone mason, but either way He was a craftsman, a builder. It was a reflection of His spiritual ministry. Jesus created new things while working as a young man for his earthly adopted-father Joseph. In Jesus the Christ, the resurrected son of God, we have been made a new creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:7, ESV)
Our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ are all about being conformed into His image. This means being spiritually chiselled, broken, repaired, refined, re-shaped, hammered, sanded and polished so that His church becomes a glorious masterpiece. Not displaying us, but displaying Him!
…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10)
Jesus showed us the way of the Christian. He worked as a skilled craftsman. He ministered as a skilled craftsman and He still does. What is He building? He is building a dwelling place in which He and His Father can live and He can express Himself as Head, to the glory of the Father.
Lord, build Your dwelling place. Help us to both corporately and individually, live a surrendered life in the hands of the Great Craftsman, that we the church might be Your masterpiece so that Your manifold wisdom is displayed to all the heavens and all the earth. Amen.