Bible Teachings - Jesus and The Promises
The nature of Jesus Christ
No one would disagree that Jesus was the Son of God. He is called such many times in the New Testament. But was he God the Son? The answer to that question is vital to a correct understanding of God's gospel message.
Clearly God was intimately involved in the coming of Jesus into the world. Matthew's and Luke's gospel both tell us that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit power of God working on a young virgin. It was truly a miraculous birth. It was a unique event in the history of humanity. John's gospel says that Jesus was "the Word made flesh". God's Word was made, or became, flesh.
Now a word is the expression of a thought - in this case, God's thoughts. From the very beginning God has shown that His Word can perform wonders..
Hebrews 11: 3 " By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God , so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible."
Psalm 33: 6 " By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth ."
We cannot possibly fathom the mind of Almighty God from whose mouth the command to create came forth. He spoke the words, "Let there be light!" - and there was light. It was so for all the acts of creation. He willed it to be and it became! God's purpose was expressed and sent forth by His Spirit to bring to pass that which had been determined before hand.
The scriptures tells us that Jesus Christ was in the purpose of God before even the worlds were made. The coming of Jesus was not God's last ditch effort to exert His will over a world of sinners. It was planned before there ever was a man upon the earth. Jesus said it himself.
John 8:56 "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM ."
Did he exist before he was born? No..
1Peter 1:20 " He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you"
God promised the coming of His anointed One or Messiah to the fathers of Israel, but the realization of that promise had to wait 1000's of years. The Apostle Paul said in Acts.
Acts 13:32 "And we declare to you glad tidings; that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus."
Jesus Christ was first promised, then came into existence by God's power overshadowing Mary. She was told by the angel that.
Luke 1:35 ".the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God."
So Jesus was 'made of a woman' yet was the Son of God. He was to be called Emmanuel or 'God with us'. From his earliest days, Jesus had the choice of either rebelling against the will of his Father or submitting in willing obedience. As Paul writes in Philippians.
Philippians 2:5 "Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."
In what sense was Jesus "in the form of God" ? Christadelphians believe that Jesus was such by his miraculous birth and by his holy and sinless life. At his baptism Jesus was given the Holy Spirit power without measure. Immediately he was led into the wilderness to be tempted. How easily he could have succumbed with access to such power! He could have taken the world for himself there and then. But God required that Jesus suffer and die for the sins of the world, and how could this be accomplished by such shortcuts? It could not.
If Jesus had been God in heaven before he was born, how could Paul possibly say that Jesus "did not consider it robbery to be equal with God" ? He was already equal with God in that case! Jesus did not think equality with God something to be "grasped" (as some other translations say). God would exult His son once the work of salvation was accomplished. As Paul continues in Philippians.
Philippians 2: 9 "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Jesus suffered and died, not for his own glory but for the glory of God his Father - God the Father. There is only one God, and there is only one Son of God - the man Jesus.
Romans 5:15 ".the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many."
This great man, Christ Jesus, son of man and son of God, worshipped the Father and needed redemption from his body which in every respect except one was like all other men. He came into this world as a man with a nature inherited from the first man Adam. He was mortal and subject to death. Yet he was without sin as Hebrews tells us.
Hebrews 4:15 "[Jesus].was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin."
In the next chapter of Hebrews it says.
Hebrews 5:7 ".who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear"
Christ needed to be saved from death. The road was not easy, but the son of God found strength in the Word of his Father. By prayer and faith he overcame all that he might save all who seek to live "in Christ". We read before that Christ.
Philippians 2:8 ".humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."
Christ grew in strength as he fought those impulses to sin that came with his mortal body. He struggled and fought against sin in a body where, for all other men, sin had reigned supreme - and destroyed it. By that great victory we are given hope of eternal life. Baptism into Christ by a complete immersion in water is the first step on the road to eternal life. By baptism we identify ourselves with the only begotten Son of God. His resurrection then becomes our guarantee of life eternal, provided we remain faithful. As the Apostle says.
Romans 6:3 "do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him."
Death had dominion over him by virtue of his mortality, but no longer. Christ has ascended into heaven, sitting now at the right hand of the Father, awaiting the command to return again. We can turn to no other. The gospel message of Christ and his disciples was of the coming kingdom of God on earth, ruled over by Christ himself. It is essential that we read and live God's Word. The Apostle Peter said to those who asked him "what shall we do?".
Acts 2:38 "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins"
So we should give thanks to God who can give us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57). Think about it!