Monday, January 20, 2014

Pastoral Pings ~ From Scum-bucket to Transforming Glory

          One of the things I am very good at is putting myself down (hey, I actually complimented myself, kinda). Let’s just say it has been an easy habit to learn. However, there is a very deceptive way in which we can find ourselves justifying this self-deprecation with the use of Scripture, as though God wants us to live in perpetual acknowledgement of our worm-like identity. For some, there is something inside us that is far too quick to say our “Amen!” to misguided descriptions like, man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm!”[1]

          On the other hand, God is always working to show me that the way we are described while we are sinners is different from the way we are described after we are saved (“sinner” before; “saint” after). The way God would describe my good works while I am trusting in my good works is in terms that should make me feel ashamed that I would imagine coming into his presence wearing such filthy rags.[2] The way he describes me once I come to him in his Son, clothed with the white robes of Jesus’ righteousness,[3] is a far different, and far better story.

          God encouraged me this morning with another reminder of his perspective of our growth in Christ. I have a tendency to think of myself as scum that is slowly being transformed to one day (a long time from now) finally begin to feel like I am becoming a little bit like Jesus. However, such a belief is an insult to what God has already done for me in my justification by grace through faith. I am already righteous in his sight, and I am to honor him by thinking of myself as righteous (not this self-deprecation that is really based on me instead of God).

          Since God sees me as righteous already, the way he describes my growth in Christ is as "being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another" (II Corinthians 3:18). While only faith could believe this, God wants me to think of myself as being in one state of glory already (clearly referring to what he has accomplished through our justification by faith), and to see that he is changing us every day from one degree of glory to another.

          In our justification, God has already brought us into a degree of glory, for we are righteous in the imputed righteousness of his Son. So, our daily changes are from that glory that is the work of God's grace, to another degree of glory that is the work of God's grace.

          The bottom line is that, because I am in God’s Son, he sees glory transforming into greater glory. One day this daily increase from one degree of glory to another will result in me being finally and fully glorified in Christlikeness.[4] Today he wants me to feel the joy that he already sees me that way in his Son, and clearly wants me to have the joy of seeing myself that way as well. I hope that, by sharing this, you will be drawn to know the joy of this glorious work of God’s transforming grace by faith in Jesus Christ.

          From my heart,


© 2014 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Job 25:6 ~ although the account that Bildad spoke these words is inspired, the words BIldad spoke clearly were not. However, David’s words in Psalm 8 were inspired of God, and clearly the preferred way a child of God should think of ourselves: When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8)
[2] We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
[3] Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— (Philippians 3)
[4] See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (I John 3)

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