On the Christian Message

Christians proclaim the unthinkable. We believe that God became a man, the man Jesus Christ. God, who cannot suffer and die, becomes a man so that he can do the incomprehensible: the God-man dies.

In his Son Jesus Christ, the God of life and holiness faces the reality of death and sin.

What kind of God are we talking about here? He becomes a man not merely so that we might better understand his teachings, but that he might bring reconciliation. He dies that he might overcome sin and death.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you see just how scandalous God’s love is for His people?

Resources

Kelly Kapic, God So Loved, He Gave71.

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20 thoughts on “On the Christian Message

  1. You wrote: “Christians proclaim the unthinkable. We believe that God became a man, the man Jesus Christ.” That is not right, not all Christians do think that. Only trinitarian Christians do think Jesus is God, Most often because they do not believe a man can be righteous or doing the Will of God. Jesus was tempted more than once (remember God cannot be tempted) but did not fall. He stayed clean and only wanted to the will of god, not his own will. In case Jesus would have been god , would he not have done his own will as well?

    1. All Christians do believe Jesus is God. You can’t be a Christian and not believe that because Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is what saves and justifies us (see Romans 3:21-26). The sacrifice necessary must be perfect, sinless. Jesus as God is that perfect, sinless sacrifice.

      Jesus, as God, is tempted. The idea you are thinking about is that we are not to tempt God. That doesn’t mean God can’t be tempted. It simple means we are not to tempt God (Deut 6:16; Matt 4:7).

      Here is a good summary of Jesus as God: http://www.gotquestions.org/is-Jesus-God.html

      Also, the church from 300 ad has agreed Jesus is God. See the Nicene Creed.

      1. Why can a person not being a Christian, which is a follower of Christ when he does not believe Jesus is God. Those who do accept Jesus for what he is and do follow his teachings are more right followers or better followers of Christ than those who follow the dogma’s created by man.

        Those non-trinitarians give more honour to what Jesus did on the stake than those who say he is God. We, who consider Jesus to be a prophet and master teacher who managed to do the Will of God and not his wil, recognise the value of Christ his death much more than those who think Jesus is God, because God can not die, but we do think Jesus really did die for our sins and even for the sins of those who do not want to accept who Jesus is.
        You just mentions where a part of Church went wrong by agreeing to go accord with the Roman gods and values to keep its power. The Constantine infiltration and demand to agree with the pagan gods got a trinity in existence.

        What about Jesus himself not claiming to be God and saying he could not do anything without his heavenly Father who is greater than him?

        What about Luke 3:21-23;Isaiah 7:14; John 8:40,44,45; 14:28; 20:17;1 Corinthians 11:3; 15:28?

        And in case Jesus is God but also man how can you worship Him as Spirit when Jesus himself said he was no spirit and proofed it by showing his wounds?

        Did God than tell several lies, a.o. when Jesus said he did not know when he would return? Because God knows everything.

        1. Those who only see Jesus as a good teacher one pointing them to a certain way of living have missed the point of Jesus’ coming. Jesus didn’t come to show us the way to live. He came because He is The Way. The only way to have a right relationship with the Father is through Jesus. Through His atoning sacrifice. Jesus’ death paid the penalty for our sins. As He hung on the cross on Calvary, the Father’s wrath was poured out on Him in our place. All those who believe Jesus died in our place and absorbed God’s wrath thus propitiating His anger and wrath towards us will be saved. Romans 3:21-26 is a good section to meditate on regarding Jesus’ atoning, propitiating, and redeeming death.

      2. “I and the Father are one,” Jesus was not saying he was God like you and the Farisees assumed. He was telling them like still today any boss of a company or director of an institutions says the same a people in a family that they are “one”, which means being “one in spirit”, ‘on the same wavelength’. You saying that He and the Father are of one nature and essence makes that we should also be God because we and Christ should also become one, and with the armour of Christ we also should become united with God. But surely that shall not make us God.

        John 8:58 you say is another example. Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth … before Abraham was born, I am!” Jews who heard this statement responded by taking up stones to kill Him for blasphemy, as the Mosaic Law commanded (Leviticus 24:16). Jesus wanted them to remind how God had made a promise at the beginnign of the world, in the Garden of Eden. There god provided a man to come to save the world and to make an end to the sin of man its consequences, namely the death. By Jesus Christ we can now gain life when we do accept him as son of God, what you as a trinitarian do not seem to do fully.
        The expression Jesus used is till used in many languages and in many countries, like mine. Though many of us have already seen Abraham, I assure you I am not over the many thousands of years, but can hope I have come to the years of knowledge or that many of those people older than 50 have come to wisdom.
        Because God knows everything and made his promise of a saviour at the beginning of times Jesus gave a good expression of him being the one Whom God was talking about at the beginning of the world.

        1. Jesus was indeed saying that He and the Father are One and the same.

          Also, Jesus was saying that He eternally existed before Abraham, meaning He was alive before Abraham even existed. In fact, He has been alive for all eternity because Jesus has eternally existed in a Trinitarian relationship with the Father and Spirit from all eternity.

      3. “The Word [Jesus] was God” is not exactly what is written in the original where stands: “In the beginning existed the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was a god.” (The Monotessaron)
        It holds in that “Before the world was created, the Word already existed; It was with God, and It was the same as God.” The word is not a person but is a Speaking, and in this instance the Voice of God Which made His Will into being; The apostle John tries to see Jesus as the New Creation and therefore build up his book as the Genesis, showing that God spoke and the world came into being, but so also by God His promise Jesus came into being. As such “the Word became flesh” (John 1:1, 14). Jesus was promised to the virgin Mary, was placed in her womb, and got born. That he really was a son of man is indicated on several places in the Scriptures. Jesus himself also proofed he was a man of flesh and blood and said his disciple had not to worry when they saw him after he had risen from the dead, and showed them his wounds to proof he was no spirit, though God is Spirit. These verses clearly indicate that Jesus is God in the flesh.

        You yourself got to see Acts 20:28 which tells us, “Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” and say rightly “Who bought the church with His own blood? Jesus Christ.” but when Jesus is God the Spirit, like you say, this does not coincide with what you are pointing out. (Is it not?)
        You continue to say “And this same verse declares that God purchased His church with His own blood.” But than you make a U-turn and suddenly say ” Therefore, Jesus is God!”How can there be a “therefore” when you just gave proof he cannot be a spirit but was a man of flesh and blood?

        1. I think you are missing that Jesus is both God and Man at the same time. Whether God is a spirit or not that makes no difference. Jesus is both God and Man. Whatever that entails, He is.

    1. God’s plans and ways are above ours (Isaiah 55:6-9). I cannot pretend to know why God does what He does. I do know He Himself made a way for us to experience salvation. Even before Jesus came, the Lord was patient and merciful with us. Patient and merciful because His plan to send His Son to die for our sins was in action. See Ephesians 1:3-10 where it talks about God’s plan to redeem us in Christ was set in motion before the foundation of the world.

  2. You say: “Jesus’ death paid the penalty for our sins.” But God cannot die. Furhter you say ” As He hung on the cross on Calvary, the Father’s wrath was poured out on Him in our place.” so your saying His wrath came unto iImself and He also asked Himself why He had left Himself? How can you abandon yourself?

    Non trinitarian Christians do believe that Jesus really died to take away the penalty of death by sin. You yourself find Romans 3:21-26 a good section to meditate on regarding Jesus’ atoning, propitiating, and redeeming death, though you seem not to believe in Jesus the son of man nor the son of God but take him to be god the son, a huge difference, is it not?

    1. Yes, God Himself did die, but not in a modalistic way. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct persons, they are separate but one.

      I do believe Jesus is the Son of Man, the Son of God, and He is God the Son. I believe this because Jesus is God and Man at once. He is 100% and 100% man.

        1. I mean not in a modalistic way because God is three distinct person, yet one at the same time. Modalism means that God changes modes, so that at one time He would be the Father, but He would not be the Son or the Spirit. Or He would be the Son, but not the Father or Spirit, etc. If God is a Trinitarian God, He doesn’t change modes. He is always God and is yet three distinct persons all at the same time.

  3. We looked at the verses you say: John 1:1-5; Revelation 19:3; 1 John 1:1. But no where can we find them speaking of the Trinity.

    “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him; and without him {1} was not anything made that hath been made. {1) Or [was not anything made. That which hath been made was life in him; and the life etc]} 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness {1} apprehended it not. {1) Or [overcame]; See Joh 12:35 (Gr)}” (John 1:1-5 ASV)

    A literal and clearer translation from the original Greek in English says: “In the beginning existed the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was a god.” (The Monotessaron)

    The apostle John lays the link to the promise made in the Garden of Eden. His writing does not speak about a three une god but speaks about The Word or the Speaking of God (i.e. not a person). For him it was clear that the promise made in the Garden of Eden had become a reality. In Jeshua (Jesus Christ) he saw the fulfilment of God His Wish and Promise made ages ago.

    “That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, and our hands handled, concerning the {1} Word of life {1) Or [word]; Compare Ac 5:20}” (1 John 1:1 ASV)

    For the apostle it was clear that the life was manifested in the coming of this man in the flesh. He and others have seen it (how Jesus matched the sayings of God from the time of the Garden of Eden, the time before Abraham) Not only was there the cousin of Jesus, the voice in the dessert, but there was also the voice in the air who let others know that this man in the river Jordan was God’s beloved son. Also where there many other apostles who bore witness, and declared unto many the life, the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us (1 John 1:2).

    We do not understand where you get it from that Revelation 19:3 is speaking of the Trinity.(?)

    “And a second time they {1} say, Hallelujah. And her smoke goeth up {2} for ever and ever. {1) Gr [have said] 2) Gr [unto the ages of the ages]}” (Revelation 19:3 ASV)

    For us it speaks about the man on the throne whose judgments are true and just. And according what we can find in the Holy Scriptures that shall not be God, but His son, Jesus Christ, who later shall hand over the Kingdom of God to his heavenly Father. This means he will not keep it for himself and gives clearly an idea that he is not God himself, because a person can not mediate between himself nor hand something over to himself what already belongs to himself.

    1. I think it is clear from the context in John that the Word or Logos John is referring to is Jesus. The reference from Revelation should be 19:13 where John calls Jesus the Word of God.

      Some other verses to look to are Matthew 28:19. There the Trinity is mentioned. Also at Jesus baptism all members of the Trinity are present (Matthew 3:16-17). Also, in Genesis 1:26, the text says, “Let Us make man in Our Image, after Our likeness.” And then in verse 27 it says So God created man in his own image.” The shift from plural to singular tells me that God is both one and three at the same time. The other two references tell me who the complete Godhead is: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

      1. The Gesesis part you are mentioning is God speaking in the plural Majestic like today every king, queen, governor of a state, leader of a company or institution, parent would speak. When we speak in the name of a company nobody is going to consider all the members to be one and the same person nor would consider the person speaking in the plural majestic to be more than one person, even if his company or the ‘group’ he is speaking of exist only of one or more persons.
        For example when or king says “We king of Belgium” we all know he is only one person and only one king.

        1. I don’t see that as a reasonable explanation. It is clear the strategy of the author is to show you there is more than one person involved in the creative process. And I believe he shows that through the shift from singular to plural to singular.

          I recommend you pick up these three books if you are truly interested in learning more about a Trinitarian Protestants perspective: (1) Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves. (2) God the Holy Trinity edited by Timothy George. (3) The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything by Fred Sanders.

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