Jesus Christ: the exact likeness of God’s nature

Would you like to see God? Then read about Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Would you like to understand God’s heart for humanity? Then read the words of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

Why? Because Jesus Christ is the “exact imprint” of God’s nature.

Heb 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature

This is an utterly profound statement that has the potential to complete transform your faith as it is still transforming my own faith.

In my teenage years I read the Old Testament and saw God as a violent and powerful, but I also perceived Him as a powerless God. I think that many people may see Him like this?!

He is powerful to harm people, but in the Old Testament He seemed powerless to save people from themselves. He seemed to be constantly angry with the bad behaviour of people, He seemed to be promising big things that didn’t always happen. Story after story talked about Him smiteing this and smoting that. It was so depressing to me.

But it didn’t match my experience of Him. I knew Him to be loving and kind to me personally.

What I heard as I was growing up was His anger and rage toward our bad choices and it completely drowned out the messages and words about His love and kindness. I didn’t hear those verses, I heard fire and brimstone, death and hell.

But… scripture teaches that Jesus Christ is the “exact imprint of God’s nature”. Let that sink in for a moment. Mull it over for a moment, chewing on it. Selah.

Selah –  it is a tradition of the Jews, that wherever it is said, “netzach”, “selah”, and “ed”, there is no ceasing, it is for ever and ever; and so then, according to this rule, the sense of (Psalm 3:2) David’s enemies is, that there was no help for him in God for ever. – Easton’s Dictionary

So, after that pause to think, we go on to investigate what we can see about God through the words and choices of Jesus Christ.

Firstly, what does it tell me about God’s nature when I read that He spoke forgiveness over the world just as we were murdering Him on trumped up wrongful charges?!

And Jesus prayed, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. – Luke 23:34

I don’t know what that says to you, but I can tell you that it speaks volumes to me. Here is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Rock of Ages, the Ancient of Days, the I AM… and His creation has turned against Him. His children (Gentiles and Jews) can’t stand to listen to His words, can’t stand to be with Him, can’t stand to see His good deeds… and so they hatch a plan to kill Him.

And as He is about to die, He says what?

And Jesus prayed, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. – Luke 23:34

Wow. This tells me that Jesus Christ understands that we DO NOT KNOW what we are doing. It tells me that Jesus Christ wants us to be forgiven (so He died in our place).

And since Jesus Christ is the “exact imprint of God’s nature”, then I am assured the God understands that we DO NOT KNOW what we are doing. It tells me that God wants us to be forgiven (because Jesus Christ died in our place).

When I understood this, I felt cheated, lied to. I felt like God’s PR department had completely let Him down. Why was I led to believe that He was so angry and so violent, when in fact His nature is clearly shown to be forgiving and understanding.

A second lesson I have learned about God is that the laws that God gave us in the first 5 books of the Old Testament do not represent the exact likeness of His nature. He is not legalistic, we can see through Jesus Christ’s words and behaiour, that He is understanding and forgiving.

The laws speak of such high standards that we live in constant striving and constant failure to achieve those standards. This is not His exact nature, it is Jesus Christ Who represents the exact likeness of His nature, which is to provide shelter and comfort and provision. He did all these things as He walked on the Earth.

We are not able to see God’s exact nature through the laws, but we can get glimpses of His exact nature through the choices, decisions, words and actions of Jesus Christ as He healed everyone who needed healing.

Luke 9:11 But when the crowds learned of it, [they] followed Him; and He welcomed them and talked to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed restoration to health.

Now I am able to more clearly distinguish between God’s standards and His nature. His impossible-to-achieve standards are expressed by His laws… and we can see His forgiving, king, tolerant and understanding nature through the actions of Jesus Christ. In that same way I can see the impossible laws in Deuteronomy, but I see God’s nature through Isaiah and the prophets.

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Gal 3:24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came… But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

Other versions of the bible say that the law was out tutor or schoolmaster to “bring us” to Christ.

Taken from…

ms_word_iconBook: If My people (v24!) (670KB) – A free daily devotional which is under development. <100 pages.

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