John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
The Greek word for "word" (which identifies Jesus in this passage) is the word logos.
The logos (a concept borrowed from Greek philosophy depicting the meta-idea over creation) is God's wisdom, truth, rationality, message and reality.
Consequently, the logos in John 1 depicts the fact that Jesus is the beginning and ground of all reality and wisdom, indeed, the beginning and origin of all truth, the precondition for all knowledge and rationality. This is why Jesus said of Himself "I am ... the truth" (John 14:6b). This is also why Paul the apostle said that in Jesus are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (see Col. 2:3).
Applying the Logos to Ourselves and the Church
John 1:4 states about Jesus, "In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind." In other words, the logos is the only illumination in the midst of shadow that reveals the cure for the maladies and chaos in the world of humanity. Only the logos can bring order out of chaos!
Therefore, to the extent that you are grounded in Jesus as your logos—to that extent will you walk in reality and dispel the darkness and chaos in your life. Also, to the extent that the church follows Jesus, to that extent will we be a witness of the light of God to our surrounding community.
Since the Fall
Ephesians 4:17-18 teaches us that because of original sin, our hearts and minds have been darkened, which compromises our ability to discern truth: "Therefore this I say and testify in the Lord, that from now on you walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their minds, having their understanding darkened, excluded from the life of God through the ignorance that is within them, due to the hardness of their hearts."
Consequently, in this fallen state, we cannot fully discern the difference between reality and deception, between right and wrong, between darkness and light, and between Satan and God. Furthermore, Exodus 20: 3,4 teaches us that sin is passed down from one generation to the next; hence, sin is inherited and, as part of our nature, becomes a genetic, generational malady in our lives.
The result of all this is that are walking around with ghosts in and around us/which are the invisible people who shaped us from our past (including ancestors long dead) who have affected us for good or evil—as well as the subconscious shadows looming inside us that cause us to misfire and leave the path of righteousness (chances are you are replicating the habit patterns of your ancestors because sin becomes systemic and solidifies itself in our minds and genetic codes).
The solution: when we are born again, we inherit a Christ nature inside us that makes us a new creation not bound by the sins and ghosts of the past. 2 Peter 1:4 says "by which He has given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, so that through these things you might become partakers of the divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust."
Which is why Jesus said, "If you remain in My word [logos], then you are truly My disciples" (John 8;31), and "If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36). Furthermore, Scripture teaches us that Jesus created a new species of humanity—one new man who is in Christ "if any man is in Christ he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new" (2 Cor. 5:17).
Part of the Good News of the gospel is that the post-ascension Christ has inaugurated His kingdom—a new world order of peace—that we as the body of Christ are called to walk in as a prophetic sign to the world at large of the age to come, in which the created order will be restored back to its original design (see Acts 3:21).
Give God Opportunity to Transform You
In light of the above, Scripture commands us to have our minds renewed so we can discern the will of God for our life (see Rom. 12:1,2). This renewal positively alters our interpretive lens of life by grounding us in divine reality, which is daily activated by putting off the old man and putting on the new man.
Ephesians 4:23-24 says "put off the former way of life in the old nature, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new nature, which was created according to God in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4:22-24). Hence, this new creation in Christ restores believers back to the image of God.
At the end of the day, being Christlike is our highest calling and involves a process of spiritual formation that is triggered by granting God space in our life by practicing the spiritual disciplines of Scripture: meditation, fasting, prayer, sitting under Biblical teaching, corporate prayer, godly fellowship, friendship, along with the regular contemplative practice of silence and solitude.
This new year, make it your goal to become Christlike!
Romans 8:29 says "For or those whom He foreknew, He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers."
Any goal less than Christlikeness is substandard and ineffectual in the kingdom of God.
May this new year become the year we are changed from glory to glory by the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18).
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, interpreter of culture and activist/theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence nations. He is renowned for addressing current events through the lense of Scripture by applying biblical truths and offering cogent defenses to today's postmodern culture. He leads several organizations, including The United Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (uscal.us). He also has a blog on Charisma News called "The Pulse." To order one of his books or to subscribe to his weekly newsletter go to josephmattera.org.
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