THE SON AND ABSOLUTE PERFECTION
“Let Us make man in our Image, after Our likeness." Gen. 1:26
The coming of Jesus of Nazareth into heaven was the arrival of such a One as had never before been there. The coming to heaven of Abel was the coming of the first human being, and so far as it is competent to measure the interest of heaven by earthly interest in the things of God, it may be reverently declared that it was a great occasion when this first soul representing a new race, and, more marvelous still, representing a fallen race, appeared in the unsullied light of the home of the unfallen. He came by faith, ransomed by love, at the cost of sacrifice. As the Scripture declares that "the angels desire to look into" (1 Peter 1:12) these things, this must indeed have been a mystery of life and love demanding their close attention, and not perhaps, even fathomed by them, until the explanation of the mystery of sacrifice enfolded in the more inspiring mystery of love, was wrought out upon the Cross of Calvary. It is more than probable that Abel, and all who succeeded him, had to wait the fullness of the earthly time for the explanation of the method of their acceptance with God. They passed into the dwelling-place of Infinite Love, upon the basis of their faith in God, so far as they were concerned. In the Divine economy they were received upon the basis of God's faith in His Son. The Father trusted the Son to accomplish His purpose in the fullness of time, and upon the foundation of that confidence of God in Himself, the sinner was admitted to heaven.
On Ascension Day something still more marvelous occurred. The Man of Nazareth, the First of the new race, the last Adam, passed into the Divine presence in the right of His own perfect humanity. In His coming, He asked for no mercy. No mediator opened the door of heaven for Him. He proceeded along the line of the outworking of the infinite order to consummation, basing His claim to reception upon the even and inexorable justice of God. He passed from earth to heaven, and stood unafraid in the white light of the Eternal Purity. In all the record of the race there has been no other like unto this Jesus of Nazareth.
The greatest of Old Testament characters are seen overshadowed by their own sin and failure and the men of the New have no claim or merit, except that which is imputed to them, and out wrought through them, by the Spirit as He reveals to their understanding, and realizes in their character, the perfections of the Christ. Jesus stands in heaven, having perfectly realized the original thought of God which found expression in the first covenant of creation, “Let Us make man in our Image, after Our likeness." (Gen. 1:26) Both in character and in conduct do men learn the meaning of that Divine thought as they know the Man of Nazareth.
Perhaps the most inspirational description of perfect character is that which Paul uses in writing to Timothy, when he says "God gave us . . . a spirit . . . of power and love and discipline." (2 Tim. 1:7) This exactly describes the character of Christ—the spirit of POWER, the spirit of LOVE, the spirit of DISCIPLINE. It should be noted here that discipline does not signify self-control, so much as power of ruling others. It is the spirit of order, of authority. This indeed is PERFECTION OF CHARACTER. Out of this sprung His PERFECTION OF CONDUCT. The whole conduct of His life was the outward expression of this perfect character whether at the feast, or the funeral; whether with the scholars, or the simple; whether with the adults, or the children; whether in loneliness on the mountain height, or amid the crowds that surged around Him, He was forever acting in response to the impulse of the spirit of POWER, the spirit of LOVE, and the spirit of DISCIPLINE. At last this Man Whose creed was TRUTH, Whose character was TRUE, and Whose conduct was TRIUMPHANT, was received into heaven upon the basis of His own ABSOLUTE PERFECTION.