BEARING CHRIST’S LIKENESS
“As thou art, so were they; each one resembled the children of a king” [Judges 8:18].
Gideon and his brothers bore a clear likeness to one another, something that may be remarked in many families. What is true in earthly families is certainly true of the spiritual family of Christ.
Between Christ and those joined to Him by grace, there is a likeness. It is the purpose of God to conform sinners to Christ’s image; thus, no one can be united with Christ and not resemble Him, who is the elder brother in the household of faith.
It is striking to note that Gideon’s brethren had a kingly look just as he had. It was this mark of loyalty that was their chief identifying mark. Being united with Christ and being changed into His image elevates and ennobles God’s people. They are set apart from the rest of men when brought into union with Him, and He stamps His own image upon them.
It was Gideon’s foes who spoke the words of this text, for they had noticed the resemblance between him and his brothers. The enemies of the Saviour will be able to tell this likeness when it truly exists. God’s people should pray for and pursue a likeness to Christ, even though it costs, as it did Gideon’s brothers.
Those who spoke the words of today’s text were themselves kings but of a different family and likeness, even Satan’s. Thus they hated Gideon and the members of his family and slaughtered them. Christ’s people, identified with Him in His likeness, will suffer for it, at times even unto death. His image in them is the devil’s target. But Christ owns them as Gideon owned his brothers, saying, “They were my brethren.” Christ knows that you suffer because His likeness is seen in you, and He will rise up to defend you. [John Greer].
Known for their legalism and conscience for ceremonial purity, the Pharisees saw themselves as guardians of law and tradition. Christ saw them as self-righteous frauds and hypocrites and warned His disciples against their teaching and lifestyle.
The origin of the sect dates back to the second century B.C. The Greeks, particularly the Seleucids, were dedicated to the spread of Hellenism. Within Palestine, there was tension between Jews willing to compromise and those who would rather die. Conservative Jews, called Hasidim, or devout ones, sought to protect the Scripture. Part of that protection resulted in erecting “fences” around the Word. Keeping within the fences would protect the sanctity of the law. Perhaps a noble motive, but it had devastating results.
The traditions became as authoritative as the law itself. This explains why the Pharisees were in constant confrontation with Christ and His disciples. When the disciples crossed their fences, the Pharisees judged them as transgressors of the law. [Footprints of Faith]
We urge our people, especially the seniors, to be very careful about financial fraud. In the past two years, the writer has had over 240 calls for duct cleaning services. It is a fraud.
The latest one is supposedly from UPS telling you they tried to deliver a package, but there was no one home, so please rearrange a new time and, by the way, there is a small payment involved ($2.20). You can pay the fee by inserting your credit card number. If you do, it will cost you a lot more! It, too, is a fraud. Never use your credit card for a payment other than to a reputable company. But these fraudsters are even experts at copying the company logos. If in doubt, phone the real company, and you will probably find they did not send anything. The old adage is good, “If in doubt, don’t.”
THE NEED TO READ SOUND LITERATURE
“If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, error will be; if God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy; if the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt licentious literature will; if the power of the gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy, and misrule, degradation, and misery, corruption, and darkness, will reign without mitigation or end.” [Daniel Webster, American statesman, 1823].
That day is surely upon us. The answer is simple. Read good, solid Christian literature. You, your family, and your country will be the benefactors.
“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” [1 Timothy 4:13].