Thursday, July 26, 2012
Jesus: Sinless or Preserved? Part 2
So then, was Jesus God? Orthodox Christianity answers with a resounding “yes” from the distant halls of antiquity. Yet it matters little how many or how few say whether something is true or not; truth is found in Scripture as the Holy Spirit reveals it and it is there that we find the person and nature of Christ as inspired language describes Him.
I will not list all of the verses in Scripture that imply (or clearly state) that Jesus was God. I shall list three of the strongest arguments, and if you seek more please follow my link where I have taken some time to gather a smattering of verses that strongly argue for the deity of Jesus Christ from the Old and New Testament.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” John 1:1.
“[Jesus] being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,” Philippians 2:6.
“[We are] looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” Titus 2:13.
The witness of Scripture is clear that Jesus Christ is God. From what we have deduced from our first post, God is holy, incapable of sin and incapable of change. Would the circumstance of becoming a man change this? Recall Hebrews 13:8 and reread it thoughtfully. If Christ was capable of sin then His whole purpose for coming was in vain. The argument that Jesus had the Holy Spirit upon Him from the womb is in fact extra-Biblical; it is not stated in the gospels but asserted to prop a theology that is unfortunately flawed at its core. Christ lived and performed His miracles as a man dependant on the Father, but when Paul writes that Christ “made Himself of no reputation” (Philippians 2:7) he never meant that Jesus ceased being God. Furthermore we find that John the Baptist was “filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15), but that did not preserve John from sinning; John confessed his need of Jesus to save him, Matthew 3:14.
David writes that he was conceived in sin, Psalm 51:5. The sin nature that Adam received by transgressing God’s command was inherited from father to son beginning with Adam, who had first been made in the likeness of God, Genesis 1:27; 5:1. After the Fall we read that Eve bore Adam a son after his own image, in his own likeness, Genesis 5:3. Adam, having sinned and inherited the curse of sin, passed on his inheritance to his children. We can only be renewed in God's image when we are saved by the gospel of Jesus Christ, Colossians 3:10. If Jesus had been born conventionally the curse of sin would have been His as well; that is one reason why our Lord had to be born of a virgin, so He could be free from sin. But does the Bible say that He was free from sin? Let us find out.
“[Jesus said] I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me,” John 14:30.
“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin,” Romans 8:3. I pause here briefly to draw attention to the word “likeness.” The Greek word Paul is inspired to employ is “homoioma” and it means resemblance. The primary stress of this word is on outward similarity with nothing being considered regarding the inward reality. In other words, there is a superficial likeness that only goes, quite literally, skin deep. Philippians 2:8 and Hebrews 2:14 compliment this concept. Christ was fully a man, but He was also God Almighty.
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin,” Hebrews 4:15. The word “tempted” in the Greek is “peirazo” and can mean to test. It is noted that such testing causes the recipient to appear as they have always been. In other words the temptation reveals the inner nature of the person. Christ our Lord was tempted, but without sin, for there was no sin nature for outward temptation to lay hold of.
“For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens,” Hebrews 7:26.
“[We are redeemed] with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot,” 1st Peter 1:19.
“And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin,” 1st John 3:5. Read again John 14:30 for Jesus’ similar statement.
I pray that this brief review of our Lord’s character and nature rectifies this peculiar, unnecessary and blasphemous doctrine about the perseveration of our Lord. We have been called to contend for the truth against competing world views and likewise from aberrant views within the pale of Christendom. My prayer is only that such brothers and sisters in Christ accept this admonition in the spirit it is written and gain wisdom to become stronger, more fruitful servants of Christ.