A Received Worth

Prodigal son by Rembrandt (drawing, 1642)

“But it is, I think, a gross exaggeration to picture the saving of a soul as being, normally, at all like the development from seed to flower. The very words repentance, regeneration, the New Man, suggest something very different. Some tendencies in each natural man may have to be simply rejected. Our Lord speaks of eyes being plucked out and hands lopped off- a frankly Procrustean method of adaptation. The reason we recoil from this is that we have in our day started by getting the whole picture upside down. Starting with the doctrine that every individuality is ‘of infinite value’ we then picture God as a kind of employment committee whose business it is to find suitable careers for souls, square holes for square pegs. In fact, however, the value of the individual does not lie in him. He is capable of receiving value. He receives it by union with Christ. There is no question of finding for him a place in the living temple which will do justice to his inherent value and give scope to his natural idiosyncrasy. The place was there first. The man was created for it. He will not be himself till he is there. We shall be true and everlasting and really divine persons only in heaven, just as we are, even now, coloured bodies only in the light.”– C.S Lewis, Membership

There is, in fact, worth in humanity by virtue of their humanness. Each human being, from our perspective, deserves life because of their human worth and value. But this value cannot be a supreme value. It cannot be God-like worth in the glorious and holy sense of the word. For the “worth” of an individual is marred by the sin within. This human worth is everywhere tainted by thoughts of rebellion, by rejection of the God-head, by a will that desires to dominate the cosmos. God does not save humans because they are worth something. He saves them to bestow worth upon them. A Christian’s supreme value and worth, then, lies not in that he was created but that he has been recreated, that he has been born again. He has been unified with Christ. In Christ he has been so joined to the God-man by virtue of the Spirit so that all that Christ is, he is, though the Christian still retains his createdness, whereas Christ is eternal. The Christian is still termed “created”, less than God. But is Christ valuable? Then the Christian is valuable and will be valuable. Is Christ righteous? Then the Christian is righteous and will be righteous. Is Christ the Son of God? Then the Christian is a son of God. Is Christ adored by the Father? Then the Christian is adored by the Father. Per our union with Christ, the Christian gains ultimate worth and value, not in his/her self, but from without, from Christ, Himself. This worth is unshakable as Christ is unshakeable, it is everlasting, for Christ is everlasting. The Christian finds his ultimate worth and value in Jesus Christ, as he is unified with Him and plugged into the spot which he was made for within the body of Christ. He was made for this spot, this service, and he was predestined to it before light illuminated the darkness, the stars began to shine, before the world began to turn. This received worth is of ultimate and supreme value, for it is the worth of Christ.

“Blessed be the God and Father of Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”– Ephesians 1:3-10

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