Imitation or Identification 

Scriptural Demands

Have you considered the demands made in Scripture and tried to fulfil them yourself? If you have, you’ll know that scriptural requirements are impossible and unattainable. Scriptural demands placed on a believer are grievous, unbelievable and disheartening.

Scriptural Standards

However hard we try to measure up to Scriptural standards we end up saying, "Oh, wretched man that I am! what a miserable person I am.. who will deliver me from this body of death?" Romans 7:24 And Paul wasn’t the first, nor will he be the last to despair at Scripture’s impossibilities.

Unattainable Standards

Why should God erect such unattainable standards from His blood-bought children? No normal or abnormal human being could possibly accomplish His requirements. Why? In heaven's name, why does God demand such unachievable standards? Why, when they only tantalise and torture the one that desires to do God’s will? Why does God cause such great torment to the soul and struggle of the conscience? For God knows that the requirements of Scripture outstrip man’s best capabilities.

Righteous Requirements

Christ’s demands are indeed impossible and far exceed man’s natural abilities. His standards are beyond the reach of flesh and we discover our efforts to be hopeless. He has set an unreachable goal in achieving the righteous requirements of Christ. We desperately try to imitate Christ’s perfect life but tumble flat on our faces.

Impossible Task

The ideal that Scripture places before our eyes, seems to tantalise and tease. It is a seemingly ideal life that is so often generously laid before the believer!! A life of quiet and calm; a life of hope and fulfilment: a life of peace and rejoicing... a life of unbroken fellowship with the Lord; a life of love and joy and hope; a life nestling in the bosom of the Father; a life where darkness has melted away; a life where sorrows of the night have softened into joy of an eternal morning. What do you think of the demands that Scripture places forever before your eyes?

Ideal and Actual

Such a model etches a rude distinction between the ideal and the actual.  A life of noise and clamour; a life of darkness and disease; a life of pain and despair; a life of where the Lord seems distant; a life lacking love, joy and peace; a life of sorrows and sin; of sickness and sadness; deterioration and death. What do you think of the ideal life so generously laid out before the believer! Get real! you want to say to those who seemingly consider this a possibility.

Distorted Doctrines

Some have jumped on the bandwagon and distorted it into 'prosperity’ teaching:- “name it and claim it” – ‘blab it and grab it’ – doctrines of demons. Truth is taken, twisted, and tortured into a myriad of perversions denying God’s word. Some have distorted scripture with a positive thinking, humanistic philosophy, leaving broken lives; crushed hopes and shattered dreams that lie in their wake.

The Christ-Life

But as so often in life we sometimes miss the forest for the trees. We concentrate on the demands of Scripture, but miss what God is trying to teach us. But we are not to try to copy what Christ did – but how He lived. We can never emulate the things Christ did – but we can follow the way He lived. We are not to imitate His life but to participate IN His life – in the Christ-life.

Dependence on God

The whole of Christ’s life was lived in dependence upon the Spirit. The whole of His life was submitted to the will of the Father. Throughout His life, Christ chose to walk the way of obedience to God. Throughout His life, He listened to the Spirit and walked in spirit and in truth.

Huegel’s Thoughts

Huegel put it this way... We have been proceeding on a false basis. We have conceived of the Christian life as an imitation of Christ. It is not an imitation of Christ but a participation of Christ.

Taylor’s Illumination

Hudson Taylor, that great pioneer of recent times, illuminates this reality. After months, even years of deep darkness and soul struggle to realise more life, more holiness, more power in his soul, I finally come in utter self-despair to “rest upon the Faithful One.” The sweetest part, (if one may say of one part being sweeter than another) the sweetest part is the rest which full identification with Christ brings.

Sufficient Grace

I am no longer anxious about anything. It makes no matter where He places me or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me. For the easiest positions He must give me grace, and in the most difficult, His grace is sufficient. So if God places me in great perplexity – must He not give me much guidance? In difficulty – much grace? In circumstances of great pressure and trial – much strength? As to work, mine was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult... but the weight and strain are all gone. His resources are mine, for He is mine. All this springs from the believer’s oneness with Christ.

Bible verses: Romans 7:24
Topics: Identification

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