The truth in Jesus is his relation to his father; the righteousness of Jesus is his fulfillment of that relation. Meeting this relation, loving his father with his whole being, he is not merely alive as born of God; but, giving himself with perfect will to God, choosing to die to himself and live to God, he therein creates in himself a new and higher life; and, standing upon himself, has gained the power to awake life, the divine shadow of his own, in the hearts of us his brothers and sisters, who have come from the same birth-home as himself, namely, the heart of his God and our God, his father and our father, but who, without our elder brother to do it first, would never have chosen that self-abjuration which is life, never have come alive like him. To will, not from self, but with the Eternal, is to live.
This active willing to be the Son of the Father, perfect in obedience, is that in Jesus which responds and corresponds to the self-existence of God. Jesus rose to the height of his being, set himself down on the throne of his nature, in the act of subjecting himself to the will of the Father as his only good, the only reason of his existence. When he died on the cross, he did in the torture of the body of his revelation what he had done at home in glory and gladness. From the infinite beginning he completed and held fast the eternal circle of his existence in saying, “Thy will, not mine, be done!”
To Mirror Christ
by Dave Roney
"In Him was Life..." (John 1:4)
(A.)— “The truth in Jesus is His relationship with His Father;”
(B.)— “The righteousness of Jesus is His fulfillment of that relation.”
As to (A.)— When our Lord declares “I am the way, the truth, and the life” it is to say “I am the Way to the Father; I am all the Truth of the Father; and in Me is all the Life that is in the Father.” And it is upon that basis that He further states “No man comes unto the Father except through Me.” Christ is the Grand Predicate Who defines in superlative detail all concerning whom the Subject, God our Father, actually IS. All which Jesus ever does is point men to the Father; and to do this well He must be the express image and exact representation of the Father; thus, “The truth in Jesus is His relationship with the Father,” for He and the Father are “one.” And it is on that foundation He, in the 14th of the Gospel according to St. John, continues: “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”
As to (B.)— How is the Righteousness of Christ to be measured? Only by the uncompromising Standard which is all that is found in His Father! The Father sees Him and finds Him to be Faithful and True, thus speaks of Him, saying; “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased: Hear ye Him!” And the hearing is not that of the outer ear but the inner one, of the heart; nor is the hearing some passive reception of words which please only, but by hearing is meant “Believe Him!” which is practical only as we “Obey Him!” The ears of clay, those of the Pharisee, perceive Him by their understanding, and regard Him only according to their misshapen religion; they will take no action, no steps in His direction; they are those who, hearing, do not hear. And the Pharisees are still with us.
I say He must be measured, for He is measured by God; and we must also measure Him as do all men everywhere when they learn of Him. Even Christ demanded it. To the Pharisees He asks; “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” On the way into the region of Caesarea Philippi He asks His disciples “Who do people say I am?” then became specific; “But who do you say that I am?” As far as I have been able to determine God has never once asked any man to make what is known as “a leap of blind faith.” He, in Whom there is no darkness, has always provided sufficient light by which a man may trust Him, and the unfolding revelation of that Light reaches its zenith in the indelible blaze of Incarnation. If God desires that a man fully turn his will and life over to Him, be sure that He has first provided that man with the revelation of Himself necessary for it: If God's great desire is for the unfettered and fully restored relationship with each of His children, how shall He better show and prove it than this, that “The righteousness of Jesus is His fulfillment of that relation.”
God has created us in His image, and that image runs far deeper within us than we are commonly given to understand. Think now of old Adam in his original setting; he has all things good surrounding him, and more than all else he has the direct, perfect, unbroken presence and fellowship of his Father there in the Garden. Yet, and who would think it, the man Adam is still unsatisfied, disquieted, unfulfilled; there is welling up within him a loneliness which he doesn't understand, and nothing, not even the presence of God, is able to quench it. He is incomplete: His need is for an Eve. God has given him everything he requires except this one thing, which He reserves until the last, when the man has gotten past his infatuation with the created surrounding, when his inner need has been heightened by uncharted longing; and then the Lord creates his Eve, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. Adam's need has been for relationship, quite specifically for relationship with one “after his own kind.”
And in this Adam reflects the image of Him by Whom he was made. For, God Himself created all things and had fellowship with them, but could never have the close, personal, burning relationship He desired, yea, needed. He must have a creature with whom He could share His divine nature, could call His child, could deify, upon whom He as Father could lavish all His enduring affection and upon whom He could dote. He is the great Father; He must have children to love. The Father's Son, likewise, is a child alone, without playmates, save His Father give to Him those to whom He will be Elder Brother.
This is why God created man in His image, and why He could not create Him apart from that image; He was compelled to do it for the sake of His great Love, and the need in Him to be loved in return by a creature as much like Him as a good God could create, a creature to be a son or daughter, a child with whom He could have relationship in righteousness. If any, having been taught that God is “eternally self-satisfied, in need of nothing” doubt this, let that one ask certain questions. Why, then, would God create anything at all? He is not bored, obviously, does not need toys to play with. Why would He love this creature, fallen and broken, so much that at any degradation, any cost, any humiliation, He should lovingly and willingly go to any, to every, length to reconcile, restore, and bring fallen man back into right relationship with Himself, Father and children, by the unthinkable sending His Son the Christ to die the Ransom to make good the Redemption? Why would He create a creature sentient and expose Himself to the harm and hurt made possible by the potential self-will of that creature? Why would He not wipe away the very worlds and refashion the cosmos an entirely different way? There is but a single answer: We are from all eternity the very beloved children of our Father Who loves us with an incredible, indefatigable, endless, shoreless, inexhaustible, timeless Love Divine.
“The truth in Jesus is His relation to His Father; the righteousness of Jesus is His fulfillment of that relation.” Christ Jesus had the relationship with His Father of Sonship; the righteousness of Christ Jesus is proven by His faithfulness to all the endearing demands of true relationship with the Father. By His obedience Jesus has shattered the wall of partition separating the children from their Father; He has both opened the great way to the Father's heart and is that very Way Himself.
Now, in closing, we are brought to a question concerning ourselves: If the relationship between Father and Son is secured by the Righteousness of the Son, His faithfulness, His obedience, His self-abjuration and the pouring out of Himself to do The Will of His God and ours, His Father and ours—and if we are created in the Image of God, called upon to reflect and be “like” Christ Jesus (which is for us the chief part of that “image of God”)—then we must ask ourselves: Are we obedient, righteous, doing what things are incumbent upon us to also have and maintain this great and distinguished relationship with God, the very thing for which we were created? For, in another place, we have afore learned that they are not His (i.e. not in the right relationship) who hear but them that do, are therefore obedient; and also the caveat; “How shall we say we are His disciples if we do not the things He commands?”
It is by love, by unswerving obedience, by the putting to death of all self-will and desire that Jesus has established the pathway, The Way, of Life for us, and has, in the process, for He is The Truth, Himself become to us life, The Life, apart from Whom there is only death: The Way; The Truth; The Life. By His example we know that we are “to will, not from self, but with the Eternal,” and for this right purpose God has given us a will, a will to do all the good we are able, and thereby to truly live:
“This active willing to be the Son of the Father, perfect in obedience, is that in Jesus which responds and corresponds to the self-existence of God... When He died on the cross, He did in the torture of the body of His revelation what He had done at home in glory and gladness. From the infinite beginning He completed and held fast the eternal circle of His existence in saying, 'Thy will, not Mine, be done'.” (From today's reading)
“It is no selfishness, it is giving Himself unto us: "I in them, and they in Me, that we may be one." God wants us all to be just with Him as His own kind, and less than that will not satisfy God, and cannot satisfy us.” (From MacDonald's sermon titled “Know Christ,” delivered July 24th, 1887, and published in “George MacDonald in the Pulpit")