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No matter is more important than this. The wrong Christ does not save! (Acts 1:11, II Corinthians 11:4, 13, II John 9-10, Acts 2:36-37). Let us then consider these things.
1) Jesus claimed categorically (John 5:19-23) that He did whatever the Father did in the same way (actually, just the same way, we find in the Greek). Since God dwells in light to which no one can approach (1 Timothy 6:16 - unapproachable) and is Almighty (Genesis 17:1, Revelation 1:8), then it is clear that no one else can reach near His power and position (cf. Isaiah 43:13, 14:27). What He reveals in grace is one thing; what could be achieved to compare, this is another! (Cf. Psalm 89:6, 113:3-6, Isaiah 40:13,25-26, Micah 7:15-20.) Nothing !
What then ? It follows that Christ who claims that whatever the Father does, He does in this same way, is either lying or God's equal. If anyone who can do all another person can do in the same way is the equal of that person, how much more is this so with God, whom none can touch or even approach to in His infinity of brilliance! As the truth, He does not lie; He is God's equal. That testimony is profoundly sure, and surely profound.
In particular, Christ could, and -
Colossians 1:16 - did create all things co-authoring them
with the Father. If all things, as Paul states, are created by HIM,
and He were a mere creature, then He would have to have created
to do indeed, when you are (by this particular heresy) not there in
order to do it! That is the positive aspect. Now negatively, we find a
word from the apostle John (1:3) in his gospel: Without Him was nothing
made that was made. Nothing without
was made! This means...
is it made ? Then Christ made it. Not one created thing was made except with the action of Christ's person. Since He has to be there so to act, He could not be a created thing. This is the same as saying He is eternal, preceding the incarnation in His existential correlation with God the Father for ever.
Unless He is eternal, both the apostles John and Paul are false. We however are here engaged in interpreting scripture, not in contradicting it: we shall leave that to the devil, whose essential work it is... This then is what it teaches: The eternity of Christ's person. That is necessary too since He has the same honour as the Father, and this time it is Himself directly who says so... Yet how could He have (John 5:23) the same honour if He does not possess the same attributes of honour and is called the truth... how indeed, if He does not possess the same place, power and authority ? He is no fraud; and God states that He will not share his glory with another (Isaiah 42:8: "I am the Lord, that is My name, and My glory I will not give to another", cf. 48:11). Is it not to give His glory to another if He gives Him the same honour as belongs to His own infinite and eternal self ? If not, then words have no meaning. Thus Christ is God. He is not a diminutive god, a lesser majesty: He has the same honour.
2) That too is the apostle Thomas' conviction. Paul states that the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20). We can not dismiss Thomas' statement: and Thomas said to Him, my Lord and my God! (literally: the Lord of me and the God of me cf. John l3:13, Matthew 7:22). Indeed, if Thomas were wrong, why then did Jesus Christ not correct him ?
In fact, the person who rejects Thomas' testimony of Christ would make Christ guilty of blasphemy for allowing what would then be Thomas' blasphemy to remain, and not rejecting the claim that He, Jesus Christ was The God, as Thomas said, and alleged (John 20:28).
To such a rejecter, this must be said: You would then make both Jesus and Thomas wrong in order to hold your view. In that case, Jesus would not thereby become wrong: You however would be attacking Jesus Christ. There is nothing special about that; Judas did it and the High priest did it, in the arena of the crucifixion. It is frequently done by misled church authority...
Now that does not begin to make Him wrong; instead it merely makes such people, not Christians. This is in the false prophet category already examined in Section 3 supra. Christ makes His identity crucial for the very foundation of the church, as shown (Matthew 16), and believing His words crucial to believing in Him (John 12:47-50); so that by their fruits in the actual context, we indeed know them. These are not His; they war with Him. Let us then resume our imaginary conversation with such a person, who combats this claim of Christ, this testimony of Thomas.
But should one believe you and your works, one would continue, rather than credit the Person and works of Christ ? Are your works greater than His, comparable to His ? This would be foolish indeed, and moreover, an attack on the greatest of all men, in terms of works, which in fact, would make it presumptuous as well!
The case for the rejecter of Thomas' testimony however is worse. Christ not only did not 'correct' Thomas (a man in the Old Testament died for just touching the ark, and here would be a man allowing another man to call Him The God!); instead Christ even accepted it as right, making it indeed an example and criterion for others through the ages! saying (John 20:29):
Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.If therefore you reject what Thomas ascribed to Jesus Christ, you are quite simply not one of those who have believed; for what Thomas said signified 'believing': for Christ said so. If then you reject it, you reject Christ from His own lips! Savour it well... lt is only fair to point it out. Naturally, this way leads only to a well-deserved hell, through the rejection of the only haven who conducts to heaven (John 3:18-19,36, 14:6).
3) Jesus said:
"Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58).Now 'I am' is, in Exodus 3:14, the name God takes in order to allow Moses to tell the Jews in Egypt who He is. It is His signature, His identification, His specification; if you will, His code. That distinctive name which shows apart from all others, who He is, and is so used to identify Him, is the very one which Christ takes to Himself - John 8:58. If Jesus were not God, that would be giving God's glory to another... and the resurrection of Lazarus proceeds on the basis of such honour and glory to Christ (John 11:42,48, 10:30-33), just as, indeed, His own resurrection attests His divine acceptance and authentication (Romans 1:4).
Never does Christ reject such ascriptions to Himself. Indeed, If He were not God, the statement of John 8:58, made on this occasion directly by Himself, would be an act of spiritual piracy, so to take His glory! However He could do this in perfect harmony because it was not the glory of another: God is triune .
In terms of this repeated principle that God will not give His glory to another, we notice the same result in Revelation 1. Here God takes the name of Alpha and Omega, and then Christ at once proceeds to use an identical name (Revelation 1:8,17-18, cf. Revelation 22:12-13,16,20, 21:6, Isaiah 44:6). As such, God declares He is The Almighty (Revelation l:8). Thus where God identifies Himself distinctively, it is by the name which Jesus also takes, in these basic cases of divine signature with His name.
Now the scripture forbids the taking of the name of the Lord in vain (Exodus 20:7, emphasising the enormity of the offence). Indeed, in that Christ appropriates this divine name of the One who will not give His glory to another, He takes also that of the Almighty: and indeed, we find this is the One who said:
"All power is given unto Me in heaven and earth" (Matthew 28). There can be only one almighty, for if there were two such beings, one would limit the other, of necessity. If however Father and Son are one God, as Christ declares (John 14:9, 8:29,42,58, 5:18, 10:30), then there is one Almighty who, alpha and omega, is expressed both as Son and Father.
4) This of course is what the Bible states. Thus Philippians 2:6 declares Christ was in the form of God. How could someone who is not God be in His form, tell me! If God is a Spirit (and Christ said so in John 4), then to be in His form can only be in His manner of being. That too is made clear by what follows: Christ took the form of a man. He was then the thing that God is and became the thing that man is, changing form as stated, without losing identity (John 8:58).
Philippians is statedly about form. Indeed, this Philippians passage states that Christ being in the form of God, did not think it a thing to be grasped at to be equal with God, but humbled Himself. This too Hebrews 1:5,8 explicitly states:
For to which of the angels did he ever say, you are My Son... but to the Son he says, your throne, O God, is for ever and ever.Now note:
i) this is said while the author of Hebrews is contrasting Christ with the highest created beings, to do Him justice...
ii) the Son is called God as a form of address (Hebrews 1:8), there being only one such (see also point 5), infra and Ephesians 4:4).
iii) To Him, further, there is here attributed an eternal throne, in terms taken from the Old Testament, relative to the God to whom alone are men directed to give their trust, there being no other God, divine ruler or everlasting majesty (Isaiah 40:25, 43:10-13, 44:6,8,24, 45:5,12,17,21-25, 46:9-10, 51:5-13, Daniel 7:13-14, Revelation 22:12-17, 1:17, Psalm 96:5-13, 2:6-12, 148:13, 72:18, Jeremiah 17:5-13, 10:10-12).
Accordingly, in this Son of
God are they exhorted to put their trust (Psalm 2:12). In
Hebrews 1, after this reference to Thy throne O God, in terms of
Christ, the Father is brought in (1:8-9, cf. 2:3-4). When interpreting
the word of God, as here, it is useless to use human reasonings as if they
were of equal value to the word: the Son is God and there is one God
and His throne is for ever and ever. That is explicit, indeed forcefully
put, in Hebrews for example. Not that reasoning is bad; but there
is need for extreme care that it does not in fact become mere imagination,
or worse, contradiction, a sort of smouldering and squirming... as if to
say that the one called God and so addressed, there being one
only God, is not God. That is flat contradiction and
constitutes unbelief, as we have seen. What is written is God's choice;
others are free to reject it, but only as unbelievers!
5) There is one God as we learn from the ten commandments (Exodus 20:1-7), Psalm 96, and Ephesians 4:4, Malachi 2:10, Isaiah and Ephesians 4:4, Malachi 2:10. That is the reason for worship being limited to one: there is no other; and God is ''jealous'' of His name; for other name there is none. It is delusion to act as if there were, insupportable, dysfunctional straying from fact and reality. (Cf. p. 547 infra.)
Since this is so, how could one claim that Jesus in John 1:1 is 'a god', when there is, in fact no other! In Isaiah 45:22-25, God is advising that there is no other 'El' and no other 'Elohim': that is in the area of God, the supernatural God, of which He is speaking (cf. 19) infra), there is factually exactly one. Thus Jesus as the word was with God as God (cf. Genesis 17:1,18:1-2, Ps. 45:1-6, Isaiah 48:16).
Giving out various names to signify His power and Being, God uses them all and says: There is no other God. How could Christ then be another of what there is only one ? This fact seems regularly to be lost sight of by the antichristian lobby, whether in Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians, weak Liberal theologians or other vaguely or ostensibly sympathetic bodies, relative to what is called Jesus Christ. Reconstructing Him does not alter Him, except mentally, and that only in the mind of the god-maker, or those deluded by such a person; and a reconstructed Christ is merely one more step to fatal delusion.
Relative to the one God who is there, we are told that the word of this God was with Him, in the beginning (John 1:1). That is not at all surprising to the ears of the believer of the Bible, as something to be affirmed of the unvarying God (James 1:17, Malachi 3:6), in whom is not a shadow of intrinsic variation.
This God whose is speech now, never was speechless! or... wordless, had no divine aphasia, was never immature. Any other thought soon becomes an inane and gratuitous assault on the stature of God Himself. No, Father and Son both are declared alpha and omega, and relative to alpha, the pre-time eternity, there was the word, with God. He did not develop speech power; it did not evolve in the changeless God. From the scripture we therefore learn, and this of necessity, that there is one being but more than one person, at whom time stops.
It is in closest and most apparent parallel with Genesis 1 that the apostle John in John 1 (cf. Colossians 1:16) declares these realities of God before the world was. This is the world which Christ should co-create, so that exhaustively nothing made, being made, was there without His being there already to make it. He Himself always preceded (both logically and chronologically) anything that can be called 'made'.
Any action of making, artisanship, bringing into being, sees the Person of Jesus Christ there already and as crafting the thing to come. He outdistances anything made, and so is not Himself made. Otherwise He would have to get to work without being there, to make Himself. Such is the childishness to which obstinate unbelief is reduced, if some approach to scripture is desired... in muted rebellion. No, in fact, Christ of whom Micah (5:l-3) states that His goings are from everlasting, is there at the very alpha. Nothing preceding Him, as with His Father, He takes the name 'alpha'. Do what you will, you cannot precede Him, in the same sense as His Father takes the same designation, in the same place and for the same reason. But let us return from Revelation 1:8,17-18 , to John 1.
The Word was With God and the Word was God, says this same John 1:1; and as God does not change: what He was, He also is, in His personal qualities. Thus following His change of form to man, Christ indicated He would resume (John 17:5) the glory He had left (17:24-5); and left in order to become a man in form (Philippians 2:6-7). The word was the unchanging God and became man (John 1:1-14). In that form, His name is Jesus Christ.
6) In full accord with this, Paul in Colossians 2:9 tells us all, that in Christ dwells all the fulness of the Godhead corporeally, or in bodily form. This one who had assumed the human bodily form could 'contain' eternity, indeed all the fulness of the Godhead: He whose goings were from everlasting did not shrink, merely assuming His humble and eminently serviceable form, in the majesty of His wisdom and the magnificence of His passion, seeking the lost (Luke 19:9), serving as Saviour (1 John 4:14). If part is left out, how is there fulness ? But if no part be left out, then is the Creator's power there, then is the divine nature there, then is the eternity there in that form.
Eternity is God-specific, something conspicuously clear in scripture: all the gods of the heathen being idols (Psalm 96; cf. Psalm 90:2, Isaiah 45:6). Therefore, this decisively distinctive eternity could no more be absent, than a head on a normal human body, if all fulness were in that form of Jesus Christ.
The position is this: the scope of God in the form of a body. If then anything that God is were omitted, as distinct from the form He adopts, the scripture would be lying; and scripturally, any who speaks to the contrary, is deemed lying. The fulness of the Godhead being present corporeally, then the eternity of God has in Christ its full expression, inexpurgatable. According, Christ indicates, "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58).
7) This eternal being has accordingly baptism into Him, carried out in one name, in which three inhere. How would baptism be carried out in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19), if one of these were God, and the rest not ? What blasphemy that would be! Something in ONE name is to be done (and God will not allow His name to be used in vain - Exodus 20:7). One of those involved in that name would be be sinless, pure, infinite God; and IN that same name would appear a sinful or limited, immeasurably inferior person or persons ? This is, for any who holds it, a fundamental failure to understand who God is, and how He takes care of His name, to discern His distinct identity and the name that goes inseparably with it. Indeed, will God share His glory with another ? He says not (Isaiah 42:8, 48:11). "How should My name be profaned!" He exclaims. The baptism is done into this one name, that of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Since this is what He says about His name, on the one hand, and His glory on the other, it is simply a matter of believing it and accepting the Trinity; or rejecting the Bible. The choice is simple, and it should be faced openly and clearly. It is not the names of these three, but the name; there is one name, and this Christ bears with the Father and the Holy Spirit, as the scripture shows.
8) Similarly, how would Christ state that to see Him is to see the Father, if not God? Would that not be blasphemy if He were not God ? Could I see you and say that I have seen the Father ? No, because of i) sin, ii) your limits and iii) your being a creature.
God has none of these things; nor would you, like Him, dwell in light unapproachable. The statement (John 14:9) indeed would be inane if Christ were not God; and that of course would be an attack on Jesus Christ. That is where such a way ends, scripturally. His understanding is infinite (Psalm 147:5).
One in this case attacks Christ, or, like Thomas, instead believes Him, saying the God of me and the Lord of me. In so doing, following this prescribed and commended paradigm, one is attesting what Jesus Christ called 'believing' in Him. Christ in fact made what Thomas said a verbal criterion or necessary part of believing. Thomas had seen and believed: blessed were they who would not see and yet would believe, He affirmed. Thus if Thomas' word be rejected, Christ is rejected, for He adopted and applied it as crucial to and indicative of faith in Him.
It is time to begin to see how often a person must reject what Christ and the Bible say, in order to reject the fact that He is, quite simply, the deity. Once is enough where the word of God is concerned; but this is multiplied, on the left hand and on the right. Indeed, we could apply what Christ said to the case where someone does not provide the testimony of Thomas ( which like that of Peter in Matthew 16 exposed a crucial element, one indispensable to faith ... there His status, here its connotation being in view).
It would go something like this:
Not blessed are you, for you have not seen and have not believed !
Thomas, challenged, attested the way, and Christ identified it as right. Someone not receiving Christ as the God (the Bible, one recalls, admitting but one, repeatedly and stringently) is then identifying this (what Thomas said to Christ) as wrong! Such a person and Jesus Christ, therefore, are at war (as indeed is such person against the doctrine of Paul and John).
Now Christ said that if anyone wanted to do the will of God, he would know the doctrine, whether it was true or not; and Paul (Romans 16:17) made separation necessary from those who derange, depart from Biblical doctrine. It is, then, cleavage.
Thomas had now not merely received Christ as his Lord ("You call me Lord, and you do well, for so I am..."- John 13:13, the Greek being literally 'the master and the Lord'). He also had acknowledged the crucial criterion: My Lord, and my God, the God of me. It is personal, all-embracive, unequivocal, absolute : all- comprehensive as to status and stature... and that, said Christ of Thomas' words, signified believing.
At war with Jesus Christ ? That is the result of any such divergence as would create of Christ a creature, a mirage-god which, like all the gods of the heathen, would be, as Psalm 96 shows, an idol; a member of a god-class that does not exist, an unreal god - a divinity that is not God.
Assaulting scriptures like ricocheting machine gun bullets, such an unbeliever would find collision with numbers of Isaiah's references, such as this: "To whom will you liken Me!" (Isaiah 40:25), God challenges. Again, in Psalm 89:6,8, we find none in the heavens can be compared to God. Yet Hebrews 1 makes Christ not only comparable with God, but His exact image! (1:3); indeed declares Him, ''brightness of His glory'' and notes the Psalm (45) in which He, the Messiah, is called God, elohim, a name exclusive to deity as such, the Eternal. Again, says Isaiah (43:10-11), before God there was no god formed, nothing that could be called god was there, there was no vestige of divine characteristic; and neither shall there be after Him.
Yet Christ is called God.
Again, God declares there is no other Saviour but Himself (Isaiah 43:11), but not only is Christ at this very level called Saviour, but we are told - "There is no other name by which men may be saved" (Acts 4:12). Christ can take not only what is exclusive to God, but have it as exclusive to Himself.
If that, were He not God, would not be taking the name of God in vain, it would simply not be possible to do so; but the commandment is equipped with penalty in Exodus 20... Further, the prophet declares in God's name: "I am the first and I am also the last: besides Me there is no God" (Isaiah 44:6, 48:12), giving meaning and pith to 'the first and the last', 'the alpha and omega' or 'the beginning and the end' name shared by Father and Son in Revelation 1:8,17-18 2:8, 21:6, 22:13. It is a God specific, used in a majestically declarative situation, where God excludes any other from His name! Moreover, in heaven itself as we see, is found no other god, el or elohim: indeed, "A just God and a saviour: there is none besides Me..." (45:21), declares that one and only God.
Nothing could be more comprehensive and complete. Therefore I would urge, indeed entreat any who may be forsaking or have forsaken the scriptural testimony that as to the only God there is, Christ bears this status: rather forsake war with Him, rather make peace quickly, for it is your life. It is this same Jesus Christ (who as the truth does not vary) who said, of men trusting in their own works and applying to Him, but not by faith:
Whoever falls on this stone will be broken: but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder (Matthew 21:44).And this stone ? It is to Himself that He refers, upbraiding the professionally unbelieving religionists: "The stone which the builders rejected has become the headstone of the corner" (Matthew 21:42). Indeed it was in this context of His rejection and coming work as Judge that He made His announcement about grinding to powder, itself reminiscent of the Messianic Psalm 2 (*1), which, predicting His coming and the authorities' rejection of Him, noted His establishment in the midst of assault, and declared His victory: warning the judges and the rebellious that He would rule with immovable power, in the day set.
Why should the truth be rejected, except that it be not loved! (cf. John 14:21-23).
Relative to the whole realm of divinity,
there is no other rock! Psalm 62:2,6 tells us of the devotional
uniqueness and solitary character of the Lord as my Rock; Deuteronomy
32:2-3,15-21,30-31, speaks of His operational singularity as their Rock.
from Him is man begotten; only He can scatter consistently the enemy
so that there is no comparison between other (alleged) 'rocks' and
Him who is the Rock. As to those who put their trust in other 'rocks',
other gods: their gods are demons (Deuteronomy 32:17), new boy gods
(v.17), recent arrivals, pre-fabs from the factory of the misguided and
mischievous mentality of man. In fact, God declares, it amounts to provoking
"Me to jealousy with
what is not God."
So too, is there one Rock actually and factually, as II Samuel 22:32
"For who is God,
except the Lord ? and who is a rock, except our God ?"
Divinity-wise, rock-wise, there is one; multiplication does not deform God, for He stays what He is - I am; but it does defame Him. It is like using the name of a given famous doctor, and yet not visiting his premises but going, in the mind, to some other door.
It is useless folly, self-deception, not availing with God, except as hideous blasphemy. In passing, it is well to note that the Roman Catholic idea, to arrogate the Rock status to the Pope, doctrinally merely adds impertinence to deception, and idolatry to defamation! A specific of God, to whom no other is given access, in which He is unique and inviolable, if grasped by another, it seized by an idol, or for it.
God is the only Rock (Isaiah 44:8, Psalm 62:2); and as Christ is that Rock manifest: "Christ was that Rock" in ancient times following the Jews (1 Corinthians 10:4), and is the Rock now (1 Corinthians 3:11); misuse does not bruise the Rock, but the handler. Depreciate that rock, and only judgment remains. Why ? It is because His mercy is then defiled! Thus the 'grinding to powder'. He is the rejected Headstone (Matthew 21:42), and it is this which will grind. In the context of this utterance, Matthew 21:44, we see Christ had just told the parable of the tenants who would not give their fruits to the beloved Son of the owner, refusing to recognise him; and in Matthew 7 similarly, Christ spoke of Himself in terms of rock, rejecting at the time of judgment, those whose claims are their works.
Colossians 1:19-23 in fact tells us that Christ having made peace through the blood of the Cross, it was the Father's will for Him that He might reconcile all things to Himself. Many - and conceivably some readers, may not come. It is sad; but the offer has come!
The blood of the cross... is the death of the One who made Himself a curse that we (if we accept Him as is and for what he has done, authenticate Him and receive Him), might be redeemed from the curse we deserve ourselves (Galatians 3:10-13). It is in fact a kindness (Titus 2:11, 3:14-15): to be rejected - when no other way is there - only to just damnation (John 3:18-19). We therefore appeal to you, if you do not yet know and receive this only Saviour and true and only Lord, this one God, to come to Him as He is, to the "I am" (John 8:58) who is Jesus Christ, the word made flesh, that, "having been justified by His grace", you "should be made heirs" (Titus 3:7), with no condemnation (John 5:24).
9) In Isaiah 48:16, God is speaking, and declares (v.2) that as to the God of Israel, the Lord is His name. Continuing to speak, He says in v.16: "I have have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, has sent Me."
Here God is sending the Lord. Thus, as the Lord is God, as has just been stated, God-the-sender is sending God-the-sent. There are two personalities here seen, in the trinity.
10) The same is seen in Zechariah 11:12. God is speaking, talking of feeding the flock of the slaughter (v.7) and of appointing this one or that, and of having no more pity on the inhabitants of the land (v.6): then He indicates that a sale is to occur, of which He is the object, and that 30 pieces of silver will be the value set upon Him.
In 12:10, He continues that "They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him..." Thus is the House of David, appalled at an act in which they not only had the opportunity to sell one who is God; but did it! (You will now perhaps recall that the Bible in Exodus 20 and in Isaiah 45 repeatedly declares that as to the entity called God, there is just one. Never does the Bible vary from this, and that of course is one reason why John 1:1 is telling us that as to the only one God, Jesus is this.)
Thus Zechariah, then, notes an historical incident in which God is sold at a designate price and pierced in such a way that this specific matter is later mourned. This argues incarnation, since a Spirit is unpierceable. In Zechariah 2:8, we see God talking and stating that He is sent after the glory to the earth. That is, He is sent by God the Father to 'display the glory of God upon the heathen' (as Keil expresses it, in his commentary on Zechariah, cf. Ezekiel 36:23- "and I will sanctify My great name among the nations..."). This has dimensions of pity, portraying power and reality to all who will receive it, but also of judgment where all option is past. (Cf. Zechariah 2:9,11.)
Incidentally, the pierced God is seen also in Psalm 22, where they ''look upon Me whom they have pierced,'' and He, the focus of this great... Jewish national tragedy, is seen indeed as a man.
That is what Philippians 2 expressly teaches, as we saw. He was in such a form, that of God, that being equal to this God was not something to be grasped for. It was because He was in God's form (it is written) that God's glory was not something to be grasped for. At the top, there is nowhere higher to go; but, it says, He humbled Himself and took the form of a servant.
11) It should by now begin to occur to the alert student that humbling in form does not have no consequences. That would make it quite meaningless.
Thus there are results such as these: in this form, (as of course the Messiah, Hebrew for 'Christ'), Christ could thirst (unthinkable for God in His normal form), could suffer excruciating spiritual and physical pain crying to His Father, "Why hast thou forsaken Me!" as the Psalm 2 predicted He would. That was the experiential price of paying for sin. Impossible for God in His own form ... He could also refer to His Father as greater than He, for how would He have humbled Himself if in all respects, He remained as high as before ? That is not even worth serious thought! It is obvious.
Again, when the Son on earth does not know when the time of the end is to be, these things being known only to the Father - that is, His return time leading in due course to the final removal of heaven and earth: He does not state He cannot know, merely that He does not; and of course He uses the Son of Man title, significant of His self-imposed limit of form. That is one more example that being in the form of man is being humbled.
It is not, indeed, that the information is not His by right... for He says, "All that the Father has is Mine" (John 16:15)... indeed, all things: it must therefore be simply that it was not expedient to draw on this while He, being Messiah, was a man. It was not part of His ministry, was indeed contrary to it, for if it were told, then they would learn what they should not know. Not holding back from them, therefore, equally, He did not draw on it Himself! Do you use your Cadillac on the battle-field, or have your chauffeur drive it into the trenches? (cf. Matthew 26:53-54). That, then, is how He can be and is repeatedly stated to be equal to the Father, and yet, in the form of a man, has the Father greater. As to status, as He states in John 5, He is equal, by the Father's own will; but as to state, form, as a man, He is in that form and while so, lesser. If it were not so, He would not have humbled Himself in form; but He did.
The main problem with the trinity attack is mere lack of thought and/or ignorance. So far from there being any problems whatsoever in the matter, research confirms how often it is taught, and how logical the whole matter is. It is a marvel of perfect consistency. That of course is one of the main features of the Bible on all its teachings, and one major point where it differs from all human philosophy: it agrees always with itself and with all truth. Indeed, the deeper one probes, as in looking at some perfectly cut gem, the more lustre one finds. This is the normal mark of authenticity.
What is it, which is so great, that He has done ? : that is pictured in great detail in vv.12-18, where the God who was to be pierced (point l0) above) is here seen being pierced and indeed, with his clothes made the subject of lots by other people, keen to possess them.
Isaiah 59:2: "Your iniquities have separated you from your God: and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear."
Thus in Psalm 22:1- where this cry to a God who is forsaking Him is made - and in history where Jesus Christ fulfilled this verbally - there is not only a matter of extreme interest, but of ready solution. If sin separates from God, and Christ was bearing sin (Isaiah 53 again pictures this grand gift of this Person in death, to accept as a redeemer, as a ransom, as a sacrifice, as a substitute for the sins of all to be delivered, and states that "He was bruised for our iniquities, and again, "the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all", all being those who - v.5 - are "healed" through him!) ... what then ?
Then, of necessity, Christ must be separated in some sense from His Father; otherwise, as true man, He would not be bearing what in fact separates. Here is the height of the atonement; and to ignore this is done at extreme peril to eternal life, for it comes near to 'treading under foot the blood of Christ' (cf. Hebrews 10:29). The case is similar to that expressed in Hebrews 6. To go so far and draw back is a danger not to be relished. The answer, however, to this cry of Christ is simply that it fulfils what other scriptures a) predict and b) require. Only deity could atone amply for man, to cover the scope, to bear the results, and to temper these results with mercy to pardon, indeed obliterative pardon of the guilt, a fact clear from Psalm 49:7,15 with Hosea 13:14, Micah 7:19, Psalm 103:12.
13) Have you taken this Christ as your substitutionary sacrifice or do you prefer to cry to God, one day, at being forsaken ? For Christ, being sinless, was resurrected and vindicated (Romans 1:4), declared to be the Son of God with power by the Spirit; but you, like all other men than Christ Himself, being a sinner, without Christ have no way back from the separation that sin brings (Acts 4:12). No other name is there, and as to this name, all that the Father has is His (John 16:15): eternity, omnipotence, divine nature, the role of creator... all. To see Him is, as such, to see the Father. There is nothing left. As His word, He expresses all. Reject Him as He is, and likewise there is nothing left; for all is His, and without Him there is simply no way (cf. John 14:6).
14) But what of the Spirit ? It is not a duplicate but a member of a trinity. As to that, note Hebrews 1, where Christ is the explicit image of God (cf. John 15:16). Whatever therefore is in God, or of God: it is His - Christ's: otherwise, He would not be the full image, but a part. The Spirit however ?
Notice that He, the Spirit, sometimes referred to as such, will guide into all truth. Nothing therefore is too hard for Him. He speaks as He hears and "not on His own authority" (John 16:13). (That reminds you of Christ in the form of a man - John 12:48-50.) As to the Spirit, blaspheming against Him is so significant as to exclude from salvation, preventing the application even of the salvation of Jesus Christ; it is therefore of the utmost height, a matter of total personal insult to deity.
Thus we read in Hebrews that those who trample under foot the blood of Christ are linked with those who have "insulted the Spirit of grace", and this is seen in fatal arenas. The highest penalty comes from the greatest transgression, and this, trampling under foot the blood of Christ and insulting the Spirit of grace leads to falling into the hands of the living God, a fearful thing as the epistle declares (Hebrews 10:29-31). Hence it is seen that the Spirit is personal, is expressive of God, and is so totally intimate to Him that an insult to the Spirit is the highest form of insult to God. He, the Spirit, is therefore at the level of equality with God.
Such a blasphemy appears linked with the derogation of the saving work of of Christ, while He is engaging in it; but it is a question when this phase is reached, and only God knows, who is love (cf. 11 Thessalonians 2:10-11, 1 Timothy 4:1-6, Matthew 12:22 ff.). When the person comes to Christ, it cannot have occurred, for "He who comes to Me, I shall in no way cast out!" (John 6:57); nor can His children commit this, since in them wells up a spring of water to eternal life, and they shall never thirst again (John 4:13-14).
This mercy of the Lord does nothing, however, to lessen the message we gain in this matter, on the Trinity; but rather the sacredness of the Spirit to His name is the more emphasised in the setting of this grace.
15) Again, let us now briefly recall that in Matthew 28, there is baptism in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, one name, one God. God, we saw, will not give His glory to another. There is a dynamic complementarity which does not divide.
16) In II Corinthians 13:14, moreover, and in a somewhat similar way, the three are linked as of one honour: "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, the communion of the Holy Spirit", Paul asks to be with them. This is all at the one level; and God has infinite height above all other things. Hence all these are at the one level, and as one is God, so are the others: a trinity being the divine mode of consisting.
17) "Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord of Hosts", is the word of God appearing in Zechariah 4:6. It is His Spirit. Since He is deity, so is His Spirit. We are made in His image (He being a Spirit - John 4, this is not geometrical but a matter of nature); and our spirit is our very essential being. So then is the Spirit of God of His essence; and hence divine. The spirit in us makes us what we are, men; so the spirit of God is inseparable from, and wholly at the level of God. These things hardly need saying, they are so basic and obvious; but lest any stumble, and because weakness can come at inopportune times, let it be said now.
18) "Now the Lord is that Spirit", says Paul in 11 Corinthians 3:17. There is a statement that the Lord may be wholly identified through the Spirit, has the ability wholly to represent Himself through the Spirit, who, therefore, is nothing less than He. When the Bible says the Lord is that Spirit, only contradiction can assert that the Spirit is not at the level of deity.
As to the basic introduction, therefore, and any genuine difficulties, nothing more should need to be said. Spiritual discernment is needed, and God gives it as we need it if we are His; for to the natural man, spiritual things are foolishness, says Paul, in 1 Corinthians 2:14. To lose that status, one must be born again, for without this, as we saw in John 3, a man cannot enter and in fact cannot even see the kingdom of God! Being born again is a work wrought by the Spirit (as Jesus there indicated), and this as He also showed, on the basis of the Son. Both these things were taught in John 3:1-16. It works on His being lifted up as a sin-bearing sacrifice, just as the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness, that those looking on this sign of sin transfixed, could be free.
Not being born again, not accepting the blood of Christ as the blood of Him who is pierced, even God in human form is to be not even a child in the kingdom of heaven. It is pre-natal. That is the force of Jesus' words to Nicodemus. He had to start. There was no question of continuing; for he had not even begun!
He, a teacher, had not begun his lessons. How ludicrous! How ridiculous! It is ridiculous to deal with Christian things without being saved, and adopted by God (Romans 8:14-15); except in this, going to the maternity hospital, as it were, to start. You can't go to university without some primary education, without for example being able at least to read!
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