Monday, September 21, 2009

Stand for the Rule of Faith, P 3

So far I've explored just a bit of what is involved in saying "I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth." The Rule of Faith, as finalized in the Apostles' Creed, further states, "And in Jesus Christ his only begotten Son our Lord." Of course, more follows to flesh out who this Jesus is, but today I will only tackle this much.

In this short sentence there is implied the full humanity and the full deity of Jesus of Nazareth. It took the ancient church about five hundred years to unpack what it means to speak of Jesus Christ. Yet the question Jesus asked the disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" continues to be the pressing question of eternity for everyone. Who is Jesus?

Some say he was a good teacher of morality who by his words and his actions modeled for everyone how to face life, death, and injustice. Some say he was a prophet, perhaps the greatest of prophets. In ancient times some thought he was truly God but that he only appeared to be a man. All his human life was a mere illusion for our benefit. Others have said he was a man uniquely in touch with the divine in all of us. Some have said that, as to his deity, he was the first of God's created beings who then took on human form to lead us back to God. None of these do justice to who Jesus of Nazareth is.

Christians need to stand for Jesus of Nazareth as he is revealed in the New Testament--as one who is fully human on the one hand, and one who is the eternally begotten Son of God (the second Person of the Trinity) on the other. Only one who is both God and man meets all the necessary qualifications to be an adequate Savior for a sinful, fallen humanity. Only one who is fully God can keep the law perfectly and offer to the Father a perfect, sinless sacrifice. Only one who is fully human can freely choose to stand in the place of fallen sinners and receive the punishment we should have received for our sins.

As we work our way through this major section on Jesus Christ over the next few days we will explore in more detail what it means to stand for Jesus of Nazareth.

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