The Vicarious Life
As believers we are compelled and commanded to live as Christ lived and become more and more like Him every day. The process is called sanctification and it means that through a growing relationship with Jesus we take on a much more holy life that is empowered by Him. Paul wrote about the initial change that takes place at the time of salvation like this 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Yes…..when we receive Christ we are changed. Changed into what? A new person that is supposed to look more and more like Jesus. We live vicariously through Jesus. We do that if we are “in” Christ. There is a newness in our outlook about life, our approach to life, and our attitude about life. Everything about our life is about Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Some might call that the fanatical life and some would be right. A man has always been pursuing a god and God has always been pursuing a man.
I remember when the Beatles came to the US (yes, I am that old) and watching mostly girls, and some guys faint as they walked by. As a child, I thought, “what causes them to be affected so much?” In reality, they were treating the Beatles like gods and living vicariously through them. In their imagination, they thought the Beatles would like to be around them and become good friends with them and that would give them great life purpose. But in the true scheme of things the Beatles could care less about getting involved in their petty lives and took the money and ran. Which makes sense. They are not gods. They are human beings who are flawed. Whenever you put somebody who is a celebrity up on a high pedestal and expect them to come through for you, they fail miserably because all of their greatness is built around smoke and lights and your imagination. Jesus, on the other hand, is a pure truth; pure love; pure honesty; purity in all areas of all life. Can you grasp that? PURE. Yet, we don’t have to idolize him from afar. He is a friend who is right here, right now, and accessible. We are called and compelled to worship Him, but we worship Him in Spirit and truth. John 4:23 23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
When we worship anything other than Jesus, then we are compromising our faith and the relationship we have with our Savior. We live a vicarious life and the satisfaction of that desire to have someone be our God and worship Him is made complete through Jesus. God made it super personal by sending His one and only Son to make all of this possible, and that love alone should draw us to Christ. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 18:16 6 He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. God reaches down to us through the death of His only Son, Jesus and makes our imaginative life a reality. No more dreaming, but living and seeking more and more of God in a very personal relationship. He allows us to live a vicarious life through Jesus His Son. The learned people of Paul’s day didn’t understand just what God did through the life of Jesus and as Paul spoke in the Areopagus Paul said this in Acts 17:22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’
We live in a world where many people are searching for a god to follow and worship and the one they are seeking will be an unknown god until we preach the message of hope to them. As it says in verse 27 God is not far from us. The next verse tells of the vicarious life of reality we can live in Christ. Not just imagination but truth. Verse 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Jesus isn’t some rock star that cannot be approached, but He is someone who can relate to everything that pertains to life, and even specifically our life. The writer of Hebrews said it this way in verse 5 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. This Jesus is the kind of Savior who when followed by thousands on the road stopped to hear the cry of those needing healing and took the time to minister to them specifically. Jesus still does the same every day with each of us.
Don ‘t waste worship on idols who will soon be gone. Worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and focus all your attention on Him. Seek Him and come to know Him and live vicariously through Him, the giver of eternal life.
The Pilgrimage continues…