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Gloves and Ambassadors

September 17, 2017

Historic collection of gloves at Textile Center, Terrassa, Spain, Author Kippelboy (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it” (1 Cor. 12: 27).

The Bible refers to Christians collectively as the Body of Christ.  Many have described us as the hands and feet of God, demonstrating His love to the world.

That is an awesome responsibility which, sadly, we do not always fulfill.

God’s Gloves

Though the analogy does not convey the same sense of unity, we might, also, think of ourselves as God’s gloves.  There are baseball gloves, boxing gloves, and hockey gloves; opera gloves and surgical gloves; mittens and gauntlets.

Each pair serves a different purpose.   We lay them down, and pick them up, as appropriate.  We sometimes set them aside to wash or mend them.  God does the same with us.

Good Works

We are told we were created to effectuate the good works God prepared for us.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2: 10).

In fact, as James points out, faith without such works is dead.

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can faith save him?  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James 2: 14-17).

The language here is somewhat confusing.  James is not saying that we can row our way to heaven.

We cannot achieve Salvation independent of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  On that foundation all else rests.  We are, in other words, saved by faith.

Works are simply the proof, the evidence visible to the world.

Products of Pride

There is, however, a condition.  Our works must be the products of love, deriving from God.  They must not be the products of pride, in pursuit of worldly gain or approval [1].

“…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love…” (Eph. 3: 17).

Televangelists preaching the “prosperity gospel” should pay close attention to this.  Those who build crystal cathedrals and megachurches the size of sports stadiums, who purchase $65 million jets, should examine whether they are not establishing monuments to their own vainglory.

Satan’s Role

“Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”

-Satan from Paradise Lost by John Milton

We would not expect mechanics gloves to repair an engine on their own, or gardening gloves to pull weeds without us.

Unfortunately, human beings have a great desire for control.  That flaw dates all the way back to the original sin by Adam.  We want to be in charge.  It is an affront to our pride that we are called to be obedient and wait on another’s timing – even God’s.

Satan exploits that flaw in our character – a flaw stemming not from God’s design, but rather the impact of sin on human nature.  Satan, of course, shares the flaw with us as the poet, John Milton so eloquently demonstrated in Paradise Lost.

Ambassadors for Christ

Paul describes Christians in yet another way, as ambassadors for Christ.

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us:  we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5: 20).

Not surprisingly, this captures the concept precisely.

Ambassadors serve in a representative capacity.  Their authority derives from a Higher Power.  They do not make policy decisions independent of that higher authority.  Their actions are directed from above.  Their position is dependent on the relationship with that Higher Power.

Independence

We teach our children to be independent, to stand on their own two feet.  Which is all to the good, since they will be accountable before God for the lives they lead.

They must develop the strength to resist the dominant culture, and instead follow the dictates of God.

It has since the beginning been the human ambition to “become” God, i.e. replace Him and take the crown for ourselves.  Satan made that mistake before us.  And still mankind’s “sin nature” draws us in this direction.

The irony is that by ceding control to God, we access His strength and His unerring direction for our lives.  Not to mention His boundless love.

[1]  Nor should our good works constitute a desperate attempt to “purchase” Salvation.  Such desperation is further discussed in “Satan and Abuse” at A Voice Reclaimed  https://avoicereclaimed.com.

With thanks to Susanne Schuberth at Entering the Promised Land https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com for her insights and inspiration

Once again our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of terrorism in England

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse https://avoicereclaimed.com

From → Christian, Faith, Religion

6 Comments
  1. Wonderful and uplifting post Anna. Once again, you demonstrate a deep knowledge of the Word and a passion for delivering it in a manner that reaches the heart. I do find troubling however the statement about our children where you said that “They must develop the strength to resist the dominant culture, and instead follow the dictates of God.”

    While completely true, one must ask how our children will develop the necessary strength to resist the dominant culture without strong examples in their homes? Ultimately, as you say, they are accountable, but as parents we have a tremendous responsibility to train them while we still have influence over them.

    Since there is a majority of the population not training their children in the “fear and admonition of the Lord”, it seems as though we are sacrificing them to the gods of this world when we fail to teach them that following Christ is best for them.

    My hope is that the Holy Spirit will ignite a passion for evangelism in the hearts of God’s children to reach out to those who have not received sound Biblical training in their homes. Talk about a mission field…

    • Thank you so much, Ron! I completely agree that we must teach our children that Jesus is Lord. “You shall teach them [God’s words] to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut. 11: 19). It is a tragedy that so many children receive no instruction at all.

  2. I do like the comparison of the members of Christ’s Body with gloves, dear Anna, because I think it fits like a glove. 😉 And I love the following paragraph. You wrote,

    “Ambassadors serve in a representative capacity. Their authority derives from a Higher Power. They do not make policy decisions independent of that higher authority. Their actions are directed from above. Their position is dependent on the relationship with that Higher Power.”

    Yes, indeed! Jesus told us that without being connected to Him, we would not even be able to do ANYTHING (cf. Jn 15:5). We might know that it is much easier to do SOMETHING instead of waiting on God’s timing. Being set aside by God is not fun at all, but worth it, I believe. It seems to me that the longing to be approved by man dies in the process of waiting on God. I might be wrong here, but that is what just came to my mind.

    Thank you for giving thanks to me, Anna! Btw, there is a little space between ‘enteringthe’ and ‘promisedland.wordpress.com’ so that the link leads to a black page (on my computer, at least).

    Keep up the good work! ⭐

    Much love,
    Susanne ❤ ❤ ❤

    • I’m so glad you like the post, Susanne. 🙂 Btw, I fixed that spacing error. Your website should come up without a problem now. I would encourage any and all readers to check it out!

      Much love,
      Anna >3 >3 >3

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