Friday, December 22, 2017

GOD THE WORD


God the Word ( a continuation of Jesus for the Layman)

Jesus is the Son of God. But is He God the Son? After He was resurrected and before He had ascended back to the Father Jesus said these words to His disciples, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The term “Holy Ghost” is simply another way of saying “Holy Spirit.” We speak of the Father as being the first Person in the Godhead (or “Trinity”[1]), the Son as the second Person, and the Spirit being the third Person. The Son, the second or middle Person in the Trinity is also called the Word.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1:1-3;14.

So we see then that it was not the Father or the Spirit who became a human being. It was only the Son or Word who became a human being. He was like us in every way apart from our sin. However, keep in mind that the Word never stopped being God. The eternal Son of God simply clothed Himself in flesh, as in body, soul and spirit. When Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary,[2] who was a virgin at the time, it was the Creator entering His creation as a human being.

The humanity of Jesus, like any other human being, began at the very moment of His conception. That is when the Word became flesh. However, He never stopped being the eternal Word of God. God the Son is the eternal Son of God the Father from all eternity. But Jesus only began to exist in time at the precise moment of His conception in Mary’s womb. Jesus, therefore, is God and Man in one Divine Person forever. In other words, because Jesus has two natures, the divine and the human, God and Man meet and were forever reconciled in Him when God resurrected Him from the dead. Jesus can never ever die again!

The Good News, for that is what “Gospel” means, is about the triune God reconciling us to Himself by, in and through His Son Jesus Christ. We love the simplicity of the Gospel whereby Jesus Christ is the Saviour of sinners – that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). But we also love the profundity of the Gospel – that it’s on account of Jesus being a Divine Person that His salvation is of infinite worth and His work on earth goes out into eternity.

Every Christmas when we sing Christmas carols Charles Wesley the hymnist reminds us that he got it right:

Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!
Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!”


Growing up in Balloch, Loch Lomond had its benefits. As youths we got to swim in Loch Lomond every “summer.” Yes, the water could be quite frigid at times! Not quite as exotic as say pearl diving we used to dive off Balloch Pier whenever the Maid of the Loch paddle steamer that docked there was out on one of its excursions. Instead of pearl containing clams we used to retrieve plates and glasses that had been thrown overboard.

Speaking of pearls, Jesus says, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” Matthew 7:6. Casting pearls before swine can refer to things like explaining the deeper things of God to those who won’t appreciate them. But, if you’ve read this far it can be assumed that you are interested in the deeper things of God. So let’s dive deeper, not for old dinner plates, but for precious pearls.

God made man in His own image and likeness. But this image and likeness of God is not exhaustive. Unlike man who is finite, God is infinite. Therefore, God is not the image and likeness of man – which would be to confuse or mix our created human nature with His eternally uncreated and unchanging Divine nature. God does not absorb anything in or of nature. Nor does creation absorb anything in or of God. God transcends matter.

The eternal Second Person of the Trinity, the Word, became flesh in time but continued unchanged as God. Christ’s incarnation, resurrection, and ascension prove that the divine and human are and will remain two distinct natures forever. Christ’s human nature with its passions (pain, anguish of soul, hunger, thirst etc.), are forever distinct from His Divine nature. Yet God knows these passions in the same way He knows good and evil (Genesis 3:22), but experiences none of these because He is without passions in and of Himself.

Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.[3] He is a Divine Person. Neither His divine nor human nature changed at His crucifixion. Jesus did not become a sinner on the cross. He became a sin-offering, and as such, received God’s out poured fiery wrath. But Jesus suffered only in His human nature which remained distinct from His divine nature.

Was God pleased, or angry with Christ on the cross? One might as well ask whether Christ was angry or pleased with Himself on the cross? That is the question! Was there a conflict between His two natures? Was His Divine nature angry at His human nature – as God poured out His anger upon Him as He bore our sins? And was His human nature angry at His divine nature for the suffering caused? All paradoxes between the Divine and human (even God and creation) are resolved by keeping the two natures of Christ distinct. Confuse them and both the nature of God and man begin to change: Man becomes God and God becomes man. But either way both disappear like the metaphorical snake that swallowed its own tail!

In Christ God (the Word) and man are one in unity but not in substance. The properties of both natures may be ascribed to the One Person, i.e., Jesus Christ. But the nature of His Divinity must not be ascribed to the nature of His humanity, nor vice versa. Thus the Man Jesus Christ’s anger (overturning tables etc.) may very well be an expression of what is understood to be God’s anger.

However, because all revelation of God is not exhaustive and is only analogous, one sees in the Man Christ Jesus’ anger more a revelation of God’s Holy nature than of any supposed human passion of anger. Christ’s anger is revelation of God’s holiness, not God’s anger. To say that God was both pleased and angry at the same time when Christ hung on the cross is to speak metaphorically of the holiness and righteousness of God. For God revealed who and what He is at the cross. But we must not confuse God’s anger or His pleasure with human passions. The nature of God who made the heavens, the earth, and all that are in them was not changed by His creation nor by Christ’s cross.

All creation is revelation of who and what God is: even Hell itself! All creation therefore, though solid and real, is a metaphor of God. Christ is the ultimate revelation of God, for He is the express image of His person. Christ’s human nature is what God would be like if He were clothed in flesh. His humanity is not God, but is united to God forever. God’s anger at Christ’s cross therefore is not revelation of an emotion of God akin to man’s anger, but rather it is the expression, the revelation of His pure and holy nature which is infinite in being.

Jesus is humanity fully clothed and in its right mind.


[1] The word Trinity is not found in the Bible, but we use it to describe the Godhead.
[2] Luke 1:34-35.
[3] Hebrew 13:8.

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