In His Likeness
AS I GREW up in the church, I was exposed to the words ‘Vicar of Christ’ as a title given to a church leader. This word ‘Vicar’ meant nothing to me, I thought it was just another title that man bestowed upon himself to gain position. After I gave my life to the Lord, I began to want to understand these words more. I looked up this phrase ‘Vicar of Christ’ and realized it meant that the presence or the authority of Christ had been transferred to the man who held this title. This man would be considered a substitute Christ. Well, I was appalled by the presumption of such a title. I argued terribly, ranting and raving that it was not necessary for a man to fulfill such an office since Christ was still here and the Holy Spirit was in us to glorify the name of Jesus. It is in His power we walk out our faith. I could not have been more mistaken. As I looked more closely at the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles, I found that it was God’s intention that all of us attain the status of Vicar of Christ: that we live, move and have our being reflecting clearly the love of God just as Christ did.
Jesus Christ has ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. He has sent us another Comforter who has taken up residence in us, just as He did in Jesus. As believers, we are specifically the substitute for Christ on the earth. He and the Father have made their home in us, just as Jesus promised when He said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:23)
Paul understood this when he told us: “ For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:11-16)
As Jesus’ replacements on the earth, the works we build on his foundation should be a continuation of his works. What He did we should do, in fact we should do greater things. Not just one or two of us, but all of us. The love He gave we should give, the wisdom He had we should have. The life He lived should be replicated in us as we strive to enter by the narrow door and as we are filled with the very spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. It was Jesus who said, “Love one another, even as I have loved you” (John 13:34). This standard is far above what is considered normal love. This love forfeits its own comforts, its own rights, even its own life for the benefit of someone else. In this world we should all endeavor to be a Vicar or replacement for Christ on the earth.
In this book I will look at many examples of what it means to live a life that is in His likeness. By letting go of preconceptions and wrong thinking, I hope we can reach a real understanding of how Jesus intended us to live.