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CHARACTER: PROTOTYPE PLUS PNEUMATIC FORCE


Jesus is the very imprint or prototype of God’s essential reality. The word used in the Greek here is pronounced "kah-rahk-TEER" (sometimes "kah-rahk-TAYR") and it is the word from which we get "character." In the original Greek usage, it meant an imprint or reproduction of what something or someone looked like. The image of an emperor or king was imprinted on coins to show by what authority the money had been minted and the stamp, die, or press that enabled the image to appear in the metal was the "character."


I remember working in a tool and die shop when I was in college. Aluminum in a roll would reel through these giant machines and great pneumatic engines would thrust a die down into the unformed metal—cutting, shaping, and bending the raw metal into the washers, gaskets, louvers, and grills we made for aircraft. Yes, even this guy in front of you was allowed to work the little punch press machine that made washers used in the Apollo space program. And yes, before you smart-alecks make a comment about what a crummy mechanic I am, they MIGHT have gone on the Apollo 11. But it was amazing! These machines would force the impress down upon the metal and out would come a product conformed to the design.


Now, bear with me. Character could also refer to a tooled prototype that served as a model for the Greek and Roman craftsman to build or sculpt something. By measuring their work against the character, the prototype, the essential design, they were able to build an accurate construction.


In the same way, it is only as we open our lives up to the influence of the PERSON of Jesus Christ that we are able to conceive of what God wants from us. He is the prototype of what God wants a person to be, the metric against which we are measured. So, when we fail, we are able to let our Creator (Jeremiah’s potter) as we know God in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit keep shaving off the problems to make us conform to the prototype, the character of Jesus.


But we can’t follow the prototype alone. We can’t manage the transformation needed to be what God wants us to be by ourselves. We need the pneumatic force of God’s Presence in the Holy Spirit to conform us to God’s Will. And when we allow that to happen, we actually begin to take on the shape of "sons" of God who are becoming and acting more according to the character of the Son of God.

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