The word “character” in Greek is exactly the same as in English. Originally it was the name given to a sculptor’s tool—the forming chisel used in the development of the Greek statuary. Gradually the word broadened in its meaning to include not only the tool used, but the tooling process, the formation or shaping of the sculptures. Gradually also it came to signify the peculiarities or characteristics of a piece of sculpture. The word today in its English usage had reached a still higher plane and associates itself with the Divine character, which is the perfect example, and with humanity as it possesses more or less of the Divine characteristics.
When St. Paul writes in Hebrews 1:3 of Christ’s being the “express image” of the Father’s person, the phrase “express image,” in the Greek is the word character.
How beautiful the thought that our Lord Jesus, through whom the Father has spoken to mankind, explaining his Justice and his Love and his provision for our reconciliation—this one was the express image, the character-likeness of the heavenly Father, full of grace and truth! Nor does it seem strange to us that the Father, in inviting a “little flock” to joint-heirship with the Redeemer in glory, honor and immortality, has decreed, foreordained, that the acceptable ones, the “elect,” must all be conformed to the likeness of his dear Son, who was the character likeness of himself.
Truly there will be a wonderful family likeness in this Divine family—the Father, the Son, and the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife!
Who is sufficient for these things?
Who is worthy of such exaltation?
Surely those who would attain it must:
lay aside every weight, every besetting sin, and
in the great work of
mastering self and developing character—
the one kind of character which God can approve and reward.
As the sculptor must first have an ideal in his mind before he can follow it and hew the image from the rough stone, so must we recognize the true ideal of life and then follow it with all our hearts, with unwavering will.
How important, then, that we have proper ideals before our minds; that we have a purpose in life; that it be a noble purpose of high standard!
Herein is the value of the doctrines of Christ, the teachings of the Scriptures. They set before God’s people the truest and noblest ideal and thus assist the pupils in the school of Christ in attaining higher and grander results than would be otherwise possible for them.
It has been said that every man is the sculptor of his own career. To a large extent this is true, but with the Christian it is different. He gives himself to the Lord and the Lord undertakes to work in him “both to will and to do his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
Again, as it is written, “We are his workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10).
True the Lord does not do the work in us without our co-operation; but in our case he is the Principal or Superintendent and we are the assistants co-working with God for the attainment of that which he has set before us as his ideal, his design for us.
The glorious pictures set before us in the inspired Word—of participation in the Divine nature and sharers, joint-heirs with our Lord and Redeemer—are so transcendently bright that they overwhelm us; nor are we able to realize their details except as, more and more, we become transformed by the renewing of our MINDS,
by the Spirit of the Truth.