Monday, August 30, 2010

This is Who We Are: What a Baptist Is and Believes - God the Son

Summarizing the doctrine of Jesus Christ on one page is like eating an entire elephant in three bites with Elijah’s Mickey Mouse fork.  Its impossible.  The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 gives us with a good summary of all that we mean when we speak of the 2nd person of the Trinity.

Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.

Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.

The Confession of Faith describes the nature of Christ as eternal, incarnational, virgin born, fully human yet sinless, obedient to His Father, and fully divine.  It goes on to describe the work of Christ as substitutionary, redemptive, resurrected, ascended, active, and will one day return.  Take any of these doctrines and an entire book can (and has) been written on it.

The nature of Christ is complex but fundamental to our understanding of the  Savior.  Jesus is fully God unified and yet at the same time distinct from the Father (welcome to the mystery of the Trinity).  He has always existed and has always be one with the Father and yet not the Father.  Furthermore, Jesus is fully human who left His throne in glory (see Philippians 2) to take on human flesh through the miraculous conception of virginity.  Mary’s virginity prevented Christ from inheriting Adam’s sin and yet at the same time allowed Him, the God-man, to take on human flesh.  It is imperative that we embrace both His humanity and His divinity.

Regarding His work, Christ stands as our mediator and Savior.  He died a substitutionary death whereby our sins were placed upon Him suffering the penalty of our sins.  And Christ was also resurrected in righteousness whereby His righteousness is imputated (to use a heavy theological word) onto us.  This means that God not only declares us as righteous, but at the same times makes us righteous.

Are you lost?  Are you confused?  How far are you on that elephant?  The doctrine of Christ is heavy and yet profound.  Who He is and what He has done has perplexed and brought salvation to billions throughout the years.  Because He is human, we know how to live and suffer.  We are not alone.  Our Savior has suffered and lived like us.  Because He is God, we have confidence in His promises.  Because He died a substitutionary death, we know that our sins have been nailed and forgiven at the cross.  Because He has been resurrected, we know that we are being made righteous and will be raised with Him in glory (1 Corinthians 15).  It is because of Him we have direct access to the Father, able suffer with hope and perseverance, live with understanding and are guided by His example.  We give as He gave.  We forgive as He has forgiven.  We love as He still loves.  We sacrifice as he sacrificed.  We serve as he served.  We suffer as He suffered.  We pray as He prayed.  We submit to the Father as He did. 

The doctrine of Christ matters and it matters greatly.  Get this wrong and you will get everything else wrong.  Focus on Christ and never take your eyes off of Him.  His nature and work are the reasons we live, breath, and stand justified before the Father. 

For more:
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - Introduction
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - Scripture
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - God
This is Who We Are  What a Baptist Is and Believes - God the Father

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