Jesus was here in the world and was the light of the world. He had a human body and in that body lived a life that glorified God. That was an exemplary life. Such a life, and such a life only, is to the glory of God. We must fashion our life after his if we would spend life as we should. To know how Jesus lived is to know how we should live. Every life that is in the likeness of Christ's life is accepted of God. No other life can be. While Christ was here in the body, he was in the express image of the Father. The true, holy character of God was revealed through Jesus' human life to a lost and sinning world. God had done all he could to reveal his true character to man by laws, ceremonies, and ordinances; but these were only the shadow of the true life that was to be the light of the world. Christ was both God and man. Having a physical form, which is visible, he could set the holiness of God in plain view before the world. If you would know the true life, look to Jesus.
But his life could be perfect only as it was given in sacrifice for man. His life was holy because it was a life sacrificed to God. No life can be possessed by God and used to his glory, that is not sacrificed to him. Jesus gave himself as an offering and sacrifice to God for us (Eph.5:2). This left him without a body or human life through which to demonstrate moral principle to the world. But now comes the command to man, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Rom.12:1. God would have this human life of ours offered up in sacrifice, so that we are no more ours but his. When we do so, there will be a change, a great and wonderful change. That life will no longer be worldly or in the course of ordinary earthly-minded men. It will be a transformed life, a life in which God can live and do his will. Through the sacrifice of Christ, God will take the sacrificed life of man and possess it by his Spirit and again demonstrate moral principle to the world. O man, that is your calling in life. You are the vehicle to convey the perfections of God to an unbelieving world. Only an empty vessel for God to fill with himself and use to his glory.
O man, consider thyself, and know thyself, the purpose for which thou wert created, and the place which thou dost occupy in creation. Thou art no mean creature. Thou art highest of all. God condescends to walk and talk with thee. He upholds thee in his hand. Angels minister to thee. When thou passest through the waters, God himself will be with thee so that they shall not overflow thee, and when thou walkest through the fire, he will walk with thee so that the flame shall not kindle upon thee; because thou art precious in his sight and honorable, and he has set his love upon thee. Thou art so precious to him that he gave his only begotten Son to die to ransom thee.
In the vast created universe, what place does man occupy? He stands out as a creature that bears the stamp of the divine image, a creature that is endowed with eternity. The heavens shall pass away, but man shall be forever. He was made capable of holding communion with the Creator. He occupies the relationship with God as child with parent. Being made in the likeness of God, he steps out upon the stage of the mighty universe to play the highest and noblest part in the entire drama of created existences. The songs of the morning stars as they sing together, pouring their anthems into the ears of God, are not such sweet music as is the voice of praise and adoration from the holy soul of man.
Man was created for the very highest purpose in the mind of God. He is chosen to represent the divine character. On the stage men and women represent certain characters. Man upon the great stage of life is selected to represent the holy character of God. Oh, that he might play his part well! He who occupies the highest and most responsible part in this wonderful play of the universe will sink to the lowest shame and disgrace if he fails. The eyes of earth, heaven, and hell were turned upon man as he stepped out to play his part. A garden eastward in Eden was selected as the ground of exhibition. It was whispered throughout the corridors of the universe, "Will he succeed? Will he play his part well?" Ah, the sad story! He failed and he fell, bringing a world into shame and disgrace, causing angels to weep and God to repent that he had ever made him.
But heaven's love was set upon him, and God sought a way whereby the fallen man could be lifted from his low, degraded plane to the high position he once occupied. After searching heaven through, God found but one way for man's redemption, but one price to pay. Would he pay it? He called his Son, his only Son, and pointed out to him the fallen condition of man, and how He was robbed of glory and devils were rejoicing. The Father said to his Son, "Only thy entering into that lower world in the likeness of sinful flesh and suffering and dying can redeem man." The Son replied, "I will go. I will suffer. I will lay down my life that man may be restored to his former position, so that he can again take up the part he was to play." The price was paid; the plan of man's redemption was effected; the divine image was again stamped upon the man, so that in Christ Jesus he could again come out and in his life's play reveal the character of God to the world.
Reader, this brings us down to your day and mine. We have our part to play in life. That part is to display the divine perfections. Through Christ this is possible. Oh, what responsibility! Will we play our part well? Again the eyes of earth, heaven, and hell are turned upon us. The apostle says, "We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men." 1 Cor.4:9. "Men" includes both good and bad; likewise the term "angels" includes both good and bad angels. So, as I have said, earth, heaven, and hell are spectators. To live life as it should be lived is to act out our part upon the stage of life in such a way as to honor God and demonstrate his character before this mighty host of spectators.
Such is man. Through him the righteous character of God is made visible to the world. God himself is invisible; but since he comes into our heart and life, and since our life is physical and visible, his holiness becomes visible in our holy living. This is how to live. He who lives on a lower plane than perfect holiness is not living to God's requirements.
God did not redeem man at such a great price merely for man's sake. He redeemed him for his own glory. Redeemed man is God's purchased possession, that 'he should show forth the virtues of him who hath called him out of darkness into his marvelous light' (see marginal reading of 1 Pet.2:9). Here again we learn that the mission of man is to show forth in his daily life the true, holy virtues of his Maker and Redeemer. This should be the first business of our life -- living solely, purposely, and earnestly for God. We are beings in whom God dwells and through whom God is to display his own holy perfections. This is wonderful; this is weighty. There is, I repeat, great responsibility on man. But unless he feels it, he will never fill to the full the measure of life. Oh, how delighted is the loving heart of God to find in this world a being in whom he can dwell and through whom he can reveal his own beautiful life! Shall we yield ourselves to him? Shall we invite him into our hearts? Shall we consecrate our lives to him that he may hide our life in his life? Yes, dear Lord, we are thine, wholly thine, now and forever. Take full possession; live in us; reign in our hearts; use every faculty of our beings to thy own glory. Thy will be done in us and with us as it is done in heaven.
Jesus will gather his holy angels before him and address them thus: "Do you behold Brother -- ? He is a pilgrim and stranger down there in the earth. He is my child. I have washed him in my blood and clothed him with the beautiful garments of salvation. His heart is pure and full of love. He is dead to sin and the world. He loves my will, and his daily meat and drink is to do it. He loves my Word and has hid it in his heart. He keeps all my commandments. He seeks my glory. He often communes with me. He is fervent in spirit and zealous in good works. His good deeds and prayers I bottle up here in heaven, See that beautiful mansion yonder with its gates of gold and walls of jasper, its floors of transparent glass, its corridors of chalcedony, and colonades of topaz and beryl. That mansion is to be his home when his pilgrimage in that under-world is done. By his holy walk and devoted life he is now confessing me before men, and I take great delight in telling you that he is my child and in confessing him before you and my Father on his throne. Just as I have said in my Word, he that will confess me before men, him will I confess before my Father and the holy angels."
Redeemed man is a light in the world. In the darkness of this world he is a dispeller of gloom. His life shines, shedding its peaceful rays of light wherever he goes.
Man's life, when meeting the fullest purpose of God, is used as a magnifying-glass through which others may look and see the beauties of divine perfections. Alas! it is to be lamented that the life of many who profess to be followers of Jesus is such that it blurs the perfections of God.
In concluding this chapter, let me give you a few rules for daily living -- rules which, if followed, will make your life a conveyancer of light, peace, and holiness from God to the world.
Live such a life that the pure and devoted will be pleased to have you come again.
Live so near to God that every man that meets you is made a little better by having met you.
Live such a life each day that the world can see in you the true way of life.
Be such a light that others can see the way to walk.