Friday, July 26, 2019

"The Gift of Condescension"

Psalm 18.35 Amplified Bible

“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand has held me up; Your gentleness and condescension have made me great.”

There is an infinite universe of difference between the Creator and His creation. It is impossible for the creation to make contact with the Creator unless the Creator wills it to be. You and I are His creation and can do nothing to inspire, force, earn, or persuade a Divine-human encounter. That we have even the tiniest hope of making a connection with heaven’s realm is a gift from the Creator... the gift of condescension.

Condescension goes only one way, from the greater to the lesser, from the All-Powerful to the helpless, from the Creator to His creation. True condescension is an act of love and starts from the top down. God created us and then condescended to our level because He loved His creation. You and I were loved into existence and made in the image of God.

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God
He created him; male and female He created them.”
Genesis 1.27 NASU

We look like God. We bear His image and for that reason, if for no other, we have great value. Francis Schaeffer in The Mark of the Christian says:

“All men [people] bear the image of God. They have value, not because they are redeemed, but because they are God's creation in God's image.”[1]

In an unselfish act of glorious condescension, the Creator gave us access to Himself for all eternity. The Bible describes it like this:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory,…”
John 1.1, 14a NASU

Jesus Christ, who was in the beginning with God and, in some mysterious way, was Himself God, became a man and “dwelt among us.” The Creator touched His creation with Jesus and thereby granted eternal access to Himself. He condescended to the point of our temporal-ness and welcomed us into His eternal-ness.

Because I have value I must confer value to all other human beings. I must love all others as myself because we share the same origin and have the same identity. If you look inside of any one of us you’ll find the same manufacturer’s  tag: “Made in Heaven.” We all began in the mind of God who formed us all from the same clay having drawn us all from the same clump of earth for the same eternal purpose… to enjoy relationship with our Maker.

“All men [people] are our neighbors, and we are to love them as ourselves. We are to do this on the basis of creation, even if they are not redeemed, for all men [people] have value because they are made in the image of God. Therefore they are to be loved even at great cost.”[2]

According to the Bible, God’s “condescension... made me great.” This greatness applies to His entire creation. Today I will try to treat everyone in my little corner of the world with the dignity and love and ‘greatness’ we all deserve because of God’s gracious gift of condescension.

[1] The Mark of the Christian, Francis A. Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press, 1970, pp. 8.

[2] Ibid., p. 9.

Michelangelo painted God imparting life to Adam in the early 1500's giving it center stage on the ceiling of the Vatican's Cappella Sistina (Sistine Chapel).

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