Jesus, the exact representation of God's nature
Hebrews 1 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
God’s Final Word in His Son
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
5 For to which of the angels
did He ever say, “You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You”? And again, “I will be a Father to Him
And He shall be a Son to Me”? 6 And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” 7 And of the angels He says, “Who makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.”
8 But of the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. 9 “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness above Your companions.” 10 And, “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands; 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they all will become old like a garment, 12 And like a mantle You will roll them up; Like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.”
13 But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies A footstool for Your feet”? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
The writer of Hebrews says: God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature. According to this Jesus is the embodiment of what the Father says to the world, He is the continuation of what the Father has spoken through the prophets. Jesus also was present at and participated in creation. Jesus has been appointed the heir of all things. Psalm 103: 19 says: The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all. Jesus is equal to the Father, He rules over all. The last part of that paragraph, He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, is something I hear frequently today. People will say that Jesus being the exact representation of God’s nature means that the nature of God is love, which of course is true, but love is only a part of God’s nature. The text itself has already described Jesus as creator, sovereign, radiant in glory and the continuation of what God has spoken through His word.
In John 1:1-5,14, it says: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it…And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. So again we see that Jesus is the embodiment of God’s word. We see that Jesus, with the Father, is the creator of all things. We also see that Jesus is Light and that He is full of grace and truth.
We need to recognize that God is eternal. He is omnipotent, all powerful. He is omniscient, all knowing. He is omnipresent, everywhere. He is infinite, truly inconceivable by our finite minds and indescribable by human words. How then do we think we can sum up all that He is in one word, love. This is particularly true within the limits of the English language where we use this same word love to describe how we feel about our spouses, our children, our families and the pizza from our favorite spot in town. At least in the Greek language, of the New Testament there were 6 different words for love: Eros, or sexual passion. The first kind of love was eros, named after the Greek god of fertility, and it represented the idea of sexual passion and desire. ... Philia, or deep friendship. ... Ludus, or playful love. ...Agape, or love for everyone. ...Pragma, or longstanding love. ...Philautia, or love of the self. Yet still, we cannot think that God is fully described or fully represented by the one characteristic of love.
In today’s text it says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness” Jesus, the embodiment, the exact representation of the character of God says this about lawlessness: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Indeed love is central and foundational to who God is and how we should be like Him. Jesus says: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40) Everything we do, everything we say depends on love. Love is the foundation upon which everything else is built and established. Yet 1 John 4:19 says: We love Him because He first loved us. Our love for God, our love with all of our heart, soul and mind, the first and great commandment, is only possible in response to the love that God has for us, the love He showed us. What does the love of God look like? If we are to describe the characteristic of love that God is, what does it look like? In John 3:16 Jesus says: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That’s what the love of God looks like. Jesus, the one who is without sin, battered and beaten, as the prophet Isaiah describes it in Isaiah 53:2-5: And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. That’s what the love of God looks like. That is the embodiment of God’s love. Jesus Christ crucified for our sins.
Many today describe God differently. They describe God’s love in human terms, with human words. 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, describes love. It says: Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered… bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. These are all things that people today will agree that love is. They often will add that love is tolerance, acceptance and inclusion of all things and of everyone, just as I did, they leave out an important part of love: love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. The truth is that our human perception of love cannot fully describe or comprehend God’s love. Jesus is: the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature. The indescribable, incomprehensible love of Christ is only a part of the exact representation of the nature of God.
I think perhaps Dr. S. M. Lockridge best describes the exact representation of the character of God. Listen www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffzB_HK9sNU