As I begin this post, I am reminded how difficult it is for my fleshly heart to process this chapter. It’s hard to see myself for what I really am apart from Christ! It’s not fun. But as Roy explains, only as we are willing to see ourselves for who we really are (sinners), do we begin to see Jesus for who HE really is to us! This book, We Would See Jesus, continues to be a huge blessing to my heart. I hope you are being blessed as well! Thank you for persevering with me through this study!
Jesus says in John 14:6, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (NASB). In order to see Jesus as the truth, we must also see the truth about ourselves. Roy says, “The breaking in of the truth about ourselves and about God, and the shattering of the illusion in which we have been living, is the beginning of revival for the Christian as it is of salvation for the lost. We cannot begin to see the grace of God in the face of Jesus Christ until we have seen the truth about ourselves and given a full answer to all its challenge.” Obviously, we have seen this at the point of our salvation in Christ, but do we continue to recognize the truth of it each and every day? This is perhaps one of the most frightening things about living the Christian life, falling prey to deception. It is why the apostle Peter admonishes the reader to “gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13 NASB). He also says, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NASB).
We have two main enemies in our deception. First of all, we know that Satan is in the deceiving business, and he continues to operate using the same tactics as he did from the beginning. The Bible calls him “a liar and the father of lies” (see John 8:44). The second enemy we have is our own heart. Jeremiah 17:9-10a says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? I, the LORD (Jehovah) search the heart, I test the mind” (NASB). Praise God He can see through our illusions and deceptions and bring us back to the truth.
Roy says, “If we are asked where it is that we see Jesus as the truth, we reply, Supremely on the cross of Calvary. There in Him we see the whole truth about sin, man, and the God with whom each of us has to do. The very scene that reveals the richest and sweetest grace of God towards man also reveals the starkest truth as to what man is. If grace flows from Calvary, so does truth, for both ‘grace and truth came by Jesus Christ’ (John 1:17).” The suffering that Jesus endured on the cross is hard to comprehend, especially when we realize that He went there in our place. Roy comments that “the Bible says He was made in ‘the likeness of sinful flesh’ (Romans 8:3), which means that He was there as an effigy of us. But if the moment He became that effigy, He had to cry, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ (Matthew 27:46), what must God see us to be? It is plain that God was not forsaking the Son as the Son, He was forsaking the Son as us, whose likeness He was wearing.”
The online edition of the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defines effigy as “The image or likeness of a person; resemblance; representation; any substance fashioned into the shape of a person.” It goes on to say, “To burn or hang in effigy is to burn or hang an image or picture of the person intended to be executed, disgraced or degraded. In France, when a criminal cannot be apprehended, his picture is hung on a gallows or gibbet, at the bottom of which is written his sentence of condemnation.” Jesus didn’t hang a picture of us on the cross, instead, He Himself was hung there in our place. He hung there as the image or picture of us.
As I close this post, I encourage you to pray that God will continually show you how desperately you need Him. This is not intended to lead you into gross introspection that is unhelpful and unhealthy! Instead, this is intended to be a gentle, yet sober reminder of who we are without the grace of Christ. I am convinced that true maturity in our walk with Christ is marked by the increased recognition of our heart’s true condition without Him (see Jeremiah 17:9). Roy says, “You and I may give one another the impression of being earnest, godly Christians, but before the cross we have to admit that we are not that sort of person at all…These are not just pictures of what we were, but of what we still are, apart from Him. No matter how long we have been Christians, nor how mature we think we have become, Calvary has something fresh to show us of sin today.”
Don’t let seeing the truth about yourself leave you feeling hopeless. This is where hope begins! In seeing ourselves for who we really are, we see the marvelous grace of God. Roy says, “in the face of Jesus Christ, marred for us, we see that God is not against the sinner, but for him; that He is not his enemy but his Friend; that in Christ He has not set new and unattainable standards, but has come to offer forgiveness, peace and new life to those who have fallen down on every standard there is.” Jesus Christ is the One who meets God’s standard in us.
Here are some things to meditate on throughout this week. If you don’t have time to journal your answers, I encourage you to read the Scriptures for each day and meditate on the questions below. God’s truth is full of application and He will bring things to your mind as you are in His Word.
- Day 1: Read Genesis 3:1-7. How did Satan deceive Eve? What did he ultimately cause her to doubt? How can you see Satan continue to operate this way today in your own heart? Read Genesis 3:8-24. What did Adam and Eve do when they heard God’s voice in the garden? (see v 8). How does this apply to your own heart? Now read Jeremiah 17:9-10. What does it say about the heart condition? What is God’s Word able to do according to Hebrews 4:12?
- Day 2: Read 1 John 1-2. Write down everything you learn about Jesus, walking in the light, truth and lies.
- Day 3: Read 1 John 3. Write down everything you learn about God’s love and abiding in Christ. Keep in mind that when John talks about “practicing” sin, he is talking about sinning all the time with no real conviction and repentance (change of mind and heart). He is not referring to when we trip and stumble in our daily struggle (1 John 1:9 tells us what to do about that).
- Day 4: Read 1 John 4. Write down what you learn about God’s love, lies and truth.
- Day 5: Read 1 John 5. What do you learn about belief, victory, truth and lies?
As you reflect on God’s Word this week, prayerfully answer the following questions.
- Have you noticed that Satan hasn’t changed his tactics? What are ways that he tries to get you to doubt what God has said? Why is God’s Word so important when it comes to Satan’s tactics?
- What are ways that your heart has deceived you? Do you have an illusion of yourself that is not true? How can this feed spiritual pride or insecurity? Why is God’s Word so important when it comes to self deception?
“Keep me broken, keep me watching at the cross where Thou hast died.”