Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wisteria - The Image of God or the Image of Man? The Exchange

Wisteria Tree A
Paul writes concerning humanity,
“Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures,” Romans 1:22 – 23.

In Psalm 106:19 – 20 we read concerning Israel in the Wilderness:
“They made a calf in Horeb and worshipped a molten image. Thus they exchanged their glory for the image of an ox that eats grass.”

In Romans we have humanity as a whole exchanging the glory/image of God for other images, in Psalms we see Israel, the people of God, exchanging the glory/image of God for another image.

The tree hosting the wisteria is a locust tree, but it has exchanged its glory for that of the wisteria, and the wisteria has killed it.

Adam and Eve were created in the image of God, yet Eve bought into the lie that if she ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that she would become like God. She was deceived into exchanging the glory she had for another (perceived) glory, and she and Adam became hosts for sin.

If Adam and Eve are a type of Christ and the Church, then we have a picture of an ever-present temptation to the Church, to exchange the glory of our husband, Christ, for the glory of another. And so we read the words of Paul:
For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. 2 Cor. 11:2 – 3.

It seems to me that the Western Church has become a market-driven competitive arena in which alternative glories to Christ are sold. Those glories have many forms; political agendas, self-help programs, family, doctrinal emphases, music, church polity, methods of prayer, evangelism, missions, small groups – just fill in the blank on methods, leadership training and coaching, gift assessment, men’s ministry, women’s ministry, various “charismatic” expressions, social relevance, the list is literally endless. Rather than the Bride being clothed in white, rather than the Bride being the glory of her Husband and seeking the glory of her Husband, the Bride is clothed in a patchwork garment and reflects competing glories and seeks competing glories.

For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 1 Cor. 2:2.

Oh that we might be as jealous for Christ’s Bride as Paul was, and as determined to know nothing but Christ as Paul was determined.

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