The divine ownership over mankind; the human access to divinity
Jesus our Creator and Redeemer owns us twice: by the divine act of creation and by the
Divine-human act of redemption. As the sacred purchase of His sacrificial life, He ratified the eternal covenant of peace with His own blood, one that is based on the unquestioning willingness of the Giver to give all heaven in that one gift of His Son and unquestioning obedience of faith based on a willing and spontaneous response of love of the redeemed.
This is a distinct specification of this everlasting covenant. Those who will be eternally saved exercised their choice as free moral agents to be saved in God’s chosen way—through his plan of redemption.
As the Life-giver, He owns our life, mind, faculties, and supreme affections. But divine ownership accepts only willing and informed consent of the governed. As the “Strength of Israel who will not lie” (1 Sam. 15:29), He imparts this divine strength through the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 1 2-4) that we “partake of the divine nature” promises that “as our days so shall our strength be” (Deut. 33: 25), and thus owns our vital strength each day that we awake, with every breath that we take.
Every bone, muscle, nerve, fiber, and cell, in our body exists for and by Him. “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” (Col. 1:16, 17).
Thus He owns us, whether we realize it or not, whether we acknowledge it or not. As created into man, the will or the power of choice is the governing power in the nature of man. He was created with the liberty to choose between “blessing and cursing, life and good, and death and evil.” (Deut. 30:15-19).
In order to redeem us here and now from the downward gravitational pull of our fallen, sin-prone nature that naturally responds to the enticing and terrible power of the attractions of the world and the wiles of the devil, God gave all of heaven in Himself through His Son, who, “in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren” (Heb. 2:17).
He gave up all of heaven in order to become one like us, so that we might give up all our earthliness in order to become one like Him—in the full restoration of the lost moral image of God originally manifested in Adam before the fall. He gave all of His divine self that we might give all of our human self.
The Divine Master Plan of Giving and Receiving
God’s greatest gift to mankind, its awesome significance described by the apostle as “indescribable,” has been, for nearly two centuries, obscured by tradition, paganized Christianity, crass commercialism, revelry, self-indulgence, and intemperance so that Christmas has almost been automatically associated with everything else but the gift of His whole creative and redemptive life of divine love and redeeming grace in and through His Son— “Who created all things by Him and for Him. “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made (created) that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1: 3, 4.
Apostle Paul says: “For without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Heb. 11: 6. “The just shall live by faith.” Rom. 1: 17; (cf. Hab. 2: 4). “Faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen.” Heb. 11: 1. Regarding the latter verse, M.L. Andreasen correctly points out that:
“This verse is not so much a definition of faith as a statement of what faith will do. It presents faith so strong and vital that the person not only feels himself in possession of that which he has not as yet received, but is caused to experience the strength, the courage, and the confidence that ordinarily only actual possession would give. Faith thus enables a Christian not only to claim promised blessings but to have and enjoy them now.” – The Book of Hebrews, p. 472.
To truly and fully personally receive Christ as the Father’s Gift is to receive all His teachings “by faith which works by love” (Gal. 5:6), and follow His self-denying, not self-indulgent life, which He demonstrated in the flesh as our Example. 1 Pet. 2: 21-23. The life of Christ was one uninterrupted demonstration of ministry, service, self-sacrifice, and self-denial.
The highest glory of the love of God to man was manifested in the sacrifice of His only-begotten Son “whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; Who, being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power.” Heb. 1: 2, 3. This is the great mystery of godliness. 1 Tim. 3: 16. It is the privilege and duty of every follower of Christ to possess the mind and heart of Christ. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 2:5. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart. . .” Luke 10: 27. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” Ps. 66:18. (to be continued…)