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The Person and Work of Christ (part 1)

To combat heresy, the orthodox church had to define their beliefs. However, some beliefs cannot be adequately defined in words; resulting in half-truths. Therefore it is vital to examine Biblical teaching in order to arrive at the truth. The person and work of Christ can be explored under three headings:

1. Divinity and Sonship

2. The incarnation

3. Divinity and humanity in one Person

1. The Divinity and Sonship of Christ

The Bible provides ample evidence of the divinity of Christ. Concerning His pre-existence and deity, John states that the Word ('Logos') was with God "in the beginning ... and the Word was God." [1] Jesus Himself referred to the glory He had with the Father "before the world began," [2] and unequivocally stated that "before Abraham was born, I am." [3] His use of "I am" ('eimi') is a claim for absolute timeless existence, just as the Jehovah of the Old Testament is the eternally existent One. [4] As such then, He shared in the creation of the universe, [5] "and without Him was not anything made that was made." [6]

He entered the world coming from the Father, [7] from heaven, [8] and claimed that He and the Father "are one" in nature or essence, [9] so that those who have seen or known Him, have seen or known the Father. [10] Paul, in describing Him, states that He is "in very nature God," [11] "the image of the invisible God," [12] and in Him "all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form." [13] He is "the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being." [14] He was and is, in fact, Immanuel, "God with us," [15] and is referred to as God in many Scriptures. [16]

All the natural attributes of God are ascribed to Him: eternity, [17] omniscience, [18] omnipresence, [19] omnipotence, [20] immutability, [21] etc. Jesus claimed that "whatever the Father does the Son does also," [22] and demonstrated some of the works of God in His life while others are ascribed to Him: creation, [23] government, [24] raising the dead, [25] forgiving sins, [26] giving men eternal life, [27] judging the world, [28] and upholding all things. [29]

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As God's only Son ('monogenēs'), [30] the Father "sent" Him into the world [31] to do His will and to finish His work. [32] He came in His Father's name [33] and, because all He said and did was according to the Father's command, [34] His life on earth was a perfect revelation of the Father. [35] When He speaks of His Father as greater than Himself, [36] it is because in relation to the Father He has the nature of a Son. That this does not mean that He should be less than the Father in men's esteem and worship, can be seen in that "the Father has entrusted all judgement to the Son, that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father." In fact, "He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father." [37]

The Jews never referred to God as "my Father" unless they qualified the statement with "in heaven." This Jesus did not do. He first claimed a unique relation to the Father as "my Father" in His 13th year. [38] This was confirmed by the Father's voice from heaven at His baptism, "You are my Son, whom I love." [39] The order of the Greek words are, "As for you, you are my Son, the beloved One," which means literally, "as for you in contradistinction to all others," [40] i.e. Christ is addressed by the Father as His only beloved Son. At the transfiguration, the Father's voice from the clouds repeated virtually the same words. [41]

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During His trial, when the high priest asked Him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the blessed One?" His answer of "You say that I am," which to our ears may sound evasive, was the traditional form of reply to a serious question, and meant simply "yes." [42] Luke also reports the emphatic "I am" which identifies the divine Sonship with personal deity. [43] For this "blasphemy" He was condemned to death.

It is important to note that, although there is a human aspect of the Sonship of Christ ("You are my Son; today I have begotten you,") [44] He is eternally the Son of God. The modern idea that the 'Logos' became a Son only at the incarnation, is contradicted by Hebrews 1:8, "But to the Son He says: 'Your throne O God is forever and ever.'" John states that only "God the only begotten" has ever seen the Father, [45] and that He was sent by the Father into the world. [46] The precise meaning of the word "begotten" is a mystery, but it is best represented by the term "the eternal generation" of the Son, [47] to emphasize the fact that though "begotten," He has been the Son from all eternity

References:

1. John 1:1
2. John 17:5
3. John 8:58
4. Exodus 3:14
5. Psalms 33:6; Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 1:2
6. John 1:3
7. John 16:28
8. John 3:13
9. John 10:30
10. John 8:19; 14:9
11. Phillipians 2:6
12. Colossians 1:15
13. Colossians 1:19; 2:9
14. Hebrews 1:3
15. Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23
16. Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1; John 20:28
17. Revelation 1:10-11; 2:8
18. John 21:17; Matthew 11:27
19. Matthew 18:20; 28:20
20. Revelation 1:8
21. Hebrews 1:12; 13:8
22. John 5:19
23. John 1:3,10
24. 1 Corinthians 15:25
25. John 5:21; 6:39,40,44
26. Matthew 9:2-7
27. John 10:27-28
28. Acts 17:31; John 5:22,27
29. Hebrews 1:3
30. John 1:14,18; 3:16,18
31. John 5:23,30
32. John 4:34
33. John 5:43
34. John 17:6; 14:10
35. John 14:7
36. John 14:28
37. John 5:22-23
38. Luke 2:49
39. Mark 1:11; Matthew 3:17; Luke 3:22
40. Wuest, p.23
41. Mark 9:7; Matthew 17:5
42. Mark 14:62; Matthew 26:64
43. Luke 22:70
44. Psalms 2:7
45. John 1:18
46. 1 John 4:9
47. Origen - ancient 'church father'

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Douglas (ed.) J.D. New Bible Dictionary, Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1962.

2. Finney, C. The Heart of Truth, Minnesota, U.S.A.: Bethany Fellowship Inc., 1976.

3. Hammond, T.C. In Understanding be Men, Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1968.

4. Lewis C.S. Mere Christianity, Glasgow, G.B.: Collins Fount Paperbacks, 1944.

5. Lockyer, H. Everything Jesus Taught, San Francisco, U.S.A.: Harper & Row Pub., 1984.

6. Pearlman, M. Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible, Part 2, Tvl., R.S.A.: Gospel Publishing House, 1937.

7. Thompson, F.C. The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, Indiana, U.S.A.: B.B. Kirkbride Bible Co. Inc., 1983.

8. Vine, W.E. Vine's Expository Dictionary of N.T. Words, Massachusetts, U.S.A.: Hendrickson Publishers, ?

9. Wuest, K.S. Wuest's Word Studies (Mark), Michigan, U.S.A.: Eerdman's Pub. Co.,1950.

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Posted in: Bible by on September 7, 2010 @ 11:05 pm

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