The Expanded, Transformed & Restored Self

Christ has come to transform us, to restore us to the original image- bearer before the fall. And this involves expanding the collapsed "self" to include God, others and even enemies. The 2nd part of the Finding MySelf in God series.

Luke 10:25-37 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 And behold, a certain [a]lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among [b]thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, [c]when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Sermon Discussion Questions:

  • How has the fall caused is to constrict, collapse upon ourselves?

  • What effects does this have on us?

  • Why should we weep?

  • Why should we be angry?

  • How can we be transformed?

It is not benevolence which makes a man a Christian, for then all philanthropists would be Christians. Nor is it mere piety, in the sense of reverence for God, which makes a man a Christian, for then all devout Muslims and Jews would be Christians. Morality does not make us religious, but religion makes us moral. In like manner benevolence and piety (in the wide sense) do not make men Christians, but Christianity makes them benevolent and devout. A Christian is one who recognizes Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, as God manifested in the flesh, loving us and dying for our redemption; and who is so affected by a sense of the love of this incarnate God as to be constrained to make the will of Christ the rule of his obedience, and the glory of Christ the great end for which he lives. The man who does this perfectly, is a perfect Christian. The man who does it imperfectly, yet with the sincere desire to be entirely devoted to Christ, is a sincere Christian. On the other hand, the man who lives supremely for himself, or his family, for science, for the world, for mankind, whatever else he may be, is not a Christian. “Whosoever loveth father or mother, son or daughter, more than me”, saith our Lord “is not worthy of me”, Matthew 10:37. “He that hateth not his own life, cannot be my disciple”, Luke 14:26. The great question is, “What constitutes a Christian?” It is being so constrained by a sense of the love of our divine Lord to us, that we consecrate our lives to Him.

He lives for Him who died for him and rose again. This presents both the object and the ground of the Christian’s devotion. He lives for Him who died for him, and because He died for him. He is not a Christian who is simply unselfish, i.e. who lives for some object out of himself. He only is a Christian who lives for Christ.
— Charles Hodge, Commentary on 2 Corinthians.