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Living Out the Nature of Jesus

28 Sep
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When Jesus taught his disciples about who was the greatest in the Kingdom of God, he was teaching them about his Father, whom he came to reveal (John 1:18).[1] No one knows Jesus but the Father, and because Jesus is the exact representation of the Father (Hebrews 1:3), no one knows the Father but Jesus, and they to whom Jesus is pleased to reveal him (Matthew 11:27). Therefore, Jesus’ teaching about the greatest in the Kingdom is a teaching about the nature of God.

What a contrast between what Jesus taught and what his people often teach. Jesus taught the disciples to be more like God—be an image of him, while often Christianity teaches us to obey moral principles. How is this different from the world? While it may be true that Christian principles are more morally sound than those of the world, the world often will practice a self-induced morality that would cause others to admire those who practice such a way of life. Those who are Christ’s, on the other hand, live by the Spirit of God dwelling within them (Galatians 5:22-24). It is the Spirit that puts to death or stops fleshy lusts, and we are motivated by the inspiration of God not the provocation of man (Galatians 5:25-26). The world has no such spirit (Romans 8:9).

Often TV-evangelism seeks to provoke men to live the life of faith with the hope of rewards, such as riches, success in what one does, good loving families etc. While there is nothing wrong with being rich, successful or having good loving families, one doesn’t expect these things simply because we trust in God. All Christians are not rich; all Christians are not successful; all Christians do not have loving families, and I can go on and on. Jesus was not rich in this world’s goods, and neither was he successful in this world’s eyes—the cross is evidence of that. Moreover, his family didn’t believe in him (John 7:5), but rather believed he was a little crazy for saying and doing the things he did (Mark 3:21, 31).

The logical conclusion is that this world believes to live by God’s nature is to be beside oneself. The world considers success the fruit of 24/7 labor, but God views success as one who lives to help others reach their goals. The world values power over others, but it would never go around bragging about being called to be another’s slave. Yet, it is God’s nature to live for and serve us, his creation. The world builds empires and thinks such are great. God called Abraham and thought that was great (Genesis 18:18).

We don’t even get to pick the best or nicest people to serve! After all, God loves and serves each of us, and I, for one, know for a fact I am not one of the world’s best or nicest of people. I am often contrary; I make a lot of mistakes, and I hurt a lot of people, sometimes deliberately so. When Jesus came into the world, the world, although it was created by him, did not know its Creator. He came into his own nation—the very nation he had begun through Abraham—yet, neither would they receive him (cp. John 1:10-11). Therefore, those who do receive Jesus as their Lord cannot take the Kingdom of God as their own through the power of inheritance (blood), nor do we desire it naturally (Isaiah 53:2), nor can we achieve it through the power of our will (24/7 labor). On the contrary, the Kingdom of God (the authority or right to become the children of God) is given to us through the grace of God (cp. John 1:12-13; cp. Luke 12:32).

In the world success cannot be achieved without being politically correct. It is the doctrine of this world—all gods are the same, no faith is better than another, etc. In theory (if not in practice) all are totally equal in the eyes of the world. If we object to this by living a different way, we shall be challenged, sometimes disciplined, but refusal to comply will be thought of as unloving, disloyal, and at times unlawful. Yet, the word of God tells us that only the Lord is God (1Kings 8:60), and living by his nature or Spirit gives life (Romans 8:10-11). It is through living by the nature or Spirit of God (Galatians 5:25) that we know we are God’s children (Romans 8:14-16), and the world is simply ignorant of such a Spirit (Romans 8:9).

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[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about the person of Jesus is based upon the book: The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin. They are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Gayle wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read about Jesus.

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11 Comments

Posted by on September 28, 2015 in Jesus

 

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11 responses to “Living Out the Nature of Jesus

  1. Christadelphians

    November 27, 2015 at 08:01

    (Colosians 1:15,16) “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created  …  ”

    verse 16 — “all things were created by him and for him”. The passage in question, therefore, can read: “Who delivered us from the dominion of darkness, and changed us for [not into] the kingdom of the Son of his love.” This reading is supported by a later reference, ”  …  These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God  …  ” (Col 4:11). The companions of the Apostle were workers “unto,” not “in” the kingdom. (“Unto” is translated from the same Greek preposition “eis.”) This argument ought to be appreciated by the Church of Christ since their expositors in emphasizing the forgiveness of sins in baptism, stress that “eis” means “for” or “in order to” in (Ac 2:38).

    First of all have we not to question about which world the apostle Paul is talking? The Jew who knew his scriptures very well and came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, got to see that a new world was created by his fellowbrother Jeshua (Jesus Christ)

    1. The Messianic prophecy in (Psalm 89:27) indicates that the assertion, that “Jehovah” created his Son as his first creative act, is unscriptural. From other writings we also do know that Jesus is the son of God and not God Himself. In this passage is said that God will make Jesus god His “firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth” which proves that Christ was not the first-born prior to the creation narrative in Gen. 1 and 2, but rather Christ was not to be made first-born until many years after the Psalmist penned his words. (The Messianic character of the Psalm is indicated by comparing the following: vs.(#Ps 89:26) cf. (#2Sa 7:14; He 1:5) and (#Ps 89:35-37) cf. (#Ps 72:1-8).

    2. “The firstborn of all creation” is qualified in (#Col 1:18) to be “the firstborn from the dead.” Frequently an apparently absolute declaration is limited in application. Consider the following examples in which “all” is clearly to be understood in a restricted sense:
    a. “  …  there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” (#Lu 2:1). The “all” refers to the Roman world, not the areas of South, Central and North America.
    b. “All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers  …  ” (#Joh 10:8). The “all” does not refer to John the Baptist and other prophets.
    c. See also (#Ge 3:20) (“all living” did not include the beasts); (#Ge 6:13) (“all flesh” did not include Noah and the creatures taken into the ark.)

    3. The creation of which Christ is the first-born is the “creation” of new men and woman, and not the creation of light, dry land, etc. of Genesis. “Create” and “creation” are used of the work of Christ in this regenerative sense. Consider the following:
    a. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (#Eph 2:10) cf. (#Eph 4:23,24).
    b. “  …  for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.” (#Eph 2:15).
    c. See also (#Col 3:9,10) (RSV); (#Gal 6:15; Jas 1:18; 2Co 5:17).

    4. The inspired Apostle, employing the Old Testament background of the first-born, is ascribing to Christ his position, rank, and status in the divine purpose. The following is a summary of this background:
    a. The first-born succeeded his father as head. (#2Ch 21:2,3).
    b. He received a double portion of the inheritance. (#De 21:17).
    c. A younger son could be elevated to the position of first-born if there were personal unworthiness in the eldest. (#1Ch 5:1).

    Adam lost this privilege because of his personal unworthiness, but the last Adam became perfect, through things which he suffered, and inherited the “double portion.” He became the “firstfruits of them that slept” — the “firstborn among many brethren” — “the head of the body, the church  …  that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (#Col 1:18; 1Co 15:20; Ro 8:29).

    5. “Who is the image of the invisible God.” This is an obvious allusion to (#Ge 1:26), “Let us make man in our image.” Christ who was “full of grace and truth” demonstrated that he was the “image of the invisible God” by his faithfulness to death. In him both earthly and heavenly creatures are “created” because in him they have a new function in the divine purpose. The angels who “minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation” (#Heb 1:14) have been instructed to pay him homage — “let the angels of God worship him.” (#Heb 1:6).

    6. Colossians 1, rather than supporting the trinitarian doctrine, is opposed to it. Consider the following:
    a. If Christ is the “image of the invisible God” (#Col 1:15), then he is a replica, not the original.
    b. Christ is the “firstborn of every creature.” (#Col 1:15). “Firstborn” implies a beginning, therefore Christ is not the “Eternal” Son of God of the trinitarians and was not one of a treeheaded godship creating the heavens and earth.

     
    • Eddie

      November 27, 2015 at 09:48

      Greetings, but I have to wonder if I am conducting a discussion with a computer or a real person. Except for a single small paragraph, the entire “comment” above is a cut and paste from HERE, from **reply #4**. The only thing done differently is that your first paragraph above was transposed from the end of your “comment” I found in the link.

      Here is what I’ll do. I’ll leave your comments as they are on my website for one month. If I don’t receive a sincere and honest reply from you by the end of December, I’ll delete your link and your “comments” with a notation by me that the comments weren’t from a person who sincerely desired to discuss the word of God.

      Now, for the record, I made reference in my original reply to you to two scriptures: Colossians 1:15-16 and John 1:1-3. Colossians shows that all things were created in, through, and for the one who became Jesus. Moreover, John 1:1-3 clearly states that the one who became flesh (John 1:14) was God and in the beginning with God, and all things were created through him, and without him **not one thing** was created.

      That’s my argument. Respond to it sincerely and honestly. If you don’t, or if I receive one more cut and past from you, I’ll delete all your links to your website that appear on mine. I trust you understand that I am serious. You have one month.

       
    • Christadelphians

      November 28, 2015 at 01:53

      You gave up the link to our own site were we as a human being also give answers to persons like we did to you. An d when we do have to give the same reply regularly nobody can hinder us to have our answers prepared and also using a computer program to enter the Bible quotes. Probably you to use a program to enter the bible texts in your articles. We can not imagine you typing over and over again the different Bible verses.

      the apostle is talking about the New World and not the Old World. Jesus is the beginning, the first one of the New World, and without him there is nothing created in the New World.

       
    • Eddie

      November 28, 2015 at 09:30

      Greetings and thank you for your prompt and honest reply.

      Concerning citations from the Bible, yes we all do that, and it is either common knowledge that we are quoting the text or we put the citation is quotes and perhaps even offset it from the rest of our writing. We also do such things when quoting others form their own works etc. Your previous reply, however, not only did not address my specific question or comment, nearly the whole thing was a cut-and-paste from your website. You didn’t refer to that particular citation on your website, you didn’t put it in quotes, nor did you offset it from the single paragraph that was not a cut-and-past. Let me ask you this: do you really consider such a thing **honest** when conducting a discussion?

      Concerning the discussion at hand, you mention above the apostle is writing about the New World rather than the Old World. I take this to mean John 1:1-3 (according to you) is not speaking of Genesis 1, but, rather, writes about the new creation mentioned in some of Paul’s letters.

      I don’t agree, for at least two reasons. First, John **never** speaks openly of a new creation. To understand John 1:1-3 in such a manner would be an interpretation one couldn’t prove from the Gospel of John. Secondly, the context of John 1 shows he is speaking in John 1:1-3 about the original creation. For example, to conclude that the **beginning** (John 1:1-2) is something yet in the future contradicts the grammar in the phrases in which the word is placed: “In the beginning WAS the Word…” and “The same WAS in the beginning with God.” Moreover, the Gospel writer continues in John 1:6-9, speaking of John the Baptist, he testified that the Light which “lights every man” (i.e. gives every man consciousness, awareness) — this Light was coming into the world (our world). Then in John 1:10 the Gospel writer claims the Word of John 1:1 and Light of John 1:7-8 was actually in the world, and the world in which he was in was made by him, but this world in which the Word (or the Light) was in “knew him not!”

      If the Gospel writer is speaking of the New World, how is it the those in the New World don’t know Jesus who is the Word made flesh (John 1:14)?

      Concerning Colossians 1:16 which is speaking of the one who became Jesus (verse-15), the texts claims that **all things** both visible and invisible, both in heaven and in earth were created in, through and for the one who became Jesus. I don’t see this new world you point to as being the focus here. Perhaps you could elaborate.

      Concerning the preexistence of Jesus, have you never read Philippians 2:5-8? Speaking of Jesus (verse-5), Paul writes that the one who became Jesus didn’t think it improper to think himself equal with God (verse-6). Nevertheless, he didn’t clutch that equality, but made himself unequal by taking upon himself the form of man (Philippians 2:7; cf. John 1:14). In other words, the one who became Jesus had existed in the form of God (which I take to be Light), but he unclothed himself of the form of God and clothed himself in man’s form (flesh). Then, finding himself clothed in flesh, he became obedient even to the point of dying on the cross (verse-8). How do you account for this seemingly clear teaching, if Jesus didn’t exist prior to his human birth?

       
    • Christadelphians

      November 28, 2015 at 10:36

      Concerning the Word spoken by god it is used in the past tense because it happened in the past, namely in the Garden of Eden. It was there that the promise of the Saviour was made and as such the person (Jeshua) we know to day as Jesus Christ was there already in God’s Plan and in God’s mind as well as it was in the Book of life and death, like we were already then in that book of life and death, though we were not alive then nor were we already with God or with Christ or with any other being that shall be in paradise later.

       
    • Eddie

      November 28, 2015 at 11:09

      Your understanding seems to be contradicted by Paul who, when referring to the gentiles in their pre-believer condition, says they were “afar off” (cf. Ephesians 2:17). Moreover, when preaching to Jews in their own pre-believing condition, they were considered “near”. Therefore, how can **we** be both “near” and “afar off” when we are esteemed **with** God (or Christ, or one another)?

      Your evaluation of the text doesn’t make sense to me. Moreover, it doesn’t follow the clear reading of John 1, which seems to show the one who became Jesus (in the flesh), was coming into the world. Then in John 1:10 this same being who became flesh (John 1:14) came into the world which was created through him, but wasn’t known or recognized by its people. Your understanding doesn’t really address these issues.

       
    • Christadelphians

      November 28, 2015 at 10:46

      As we wrote Christ was the result of the word made flesh, not the originator of the divine plan. As he himself said, “I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” (John 8:42). In case Jesus would be God He would not send Himself but just come down Himself.
      May we remind you also of John 3:13 “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” were we do find a passage (one of the many in John’s gospel) which employs the Old Testament language of theophany (God appearing). A manifestation of divine power is referred to as “God coming down”. The completion of the theophany is God “going up” or ascending. (See Ge 11:5; 18:21; Ex 3:7, 8; 19:11, 18, 20; 34:5; Ps 18:9, 10; Isa 64:1).
      The Word that became flesh is a straightforward reference to Christ’s nature, not merely his birth (cp 1 John 4:2). God manifested Himself in the flesh of humanity (1 Timothy 3:16), not in stone (Exodus 34:6). When Jesus was of David’s seed (Romans 1:3) that he could only be some one having come after David and not before David. Jesus was under a curse (Galatians 3:13); being born of a woman, under the law (Galatians 4:4); and made “sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3); in the likeness of men, of no reputation (Philippians 2:7); and like his brethren (Hebrews 2:17).

      The conception of Jesus in the virgin womb is likened to the original “Creation” of Genesis; in fact, it is the beginning of the new, spiritual “creation”: cp (#Ge 1:2 (the Spirit of God hovering over the waters) like a mother bird brooding over her young: (#De 32:11 (cp Ex 19:4). The words portray the energy-giving presence of God – wrapping, protecting, and caressing the chaos of the unfinished earth as He prepared to complete His creation. And This Same Eenergy In Creative Process is described in (#Lu 1:35) (the Holy Spirit will.. overshadow you..): The language of Gabriel calls to mind that of Gen [cp #Ge 1:2), LXX]; the Spirit of God “overshadowing,” or “moving upon” the face of the waters to bring forth life, as a mother hen brooding over her eggs and then her chicks. A direct parallel to the natural creation; this is the beginning of the spiritual, or new, creation. It is a picture of vast creative power, yet nonetheless tenderness and love. It is a picture of a God who sustains all things by His omnip otence, who acts as and when He chooses, and no man can understand, much less question, His prerogative. But also it is a picture of a God who is a Father, who pities His children, who lavishes mercies unnumbered upon those who can never hope to repay Him. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us..” (Cp #Ex 40:35) : the cloud abode on the tent of the congregation, and the glory of Yahweh filled tabernacle.)

       
    • Eddie

      November 28, 2015 at 12:21

      Greetings, once again, and I wish to thank you for this discussion.

      As we wrote Christ was the result of the word made flesh, not the originator of the divine plan. As he himself said, “I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” (John 8:42). In case Jesus would be God He would not send Himself but just come down Himself.

      Your argument that if Jesus were God, he would not send himself but just come down isn’t really true. Both my wife and I are the parents of two girls, as the parent of both girls, my wife could “send” me (the other parent of both girls) to pick them up as such and such a location. Your presumption above doesn’t hold true.

      Concerning the originator of the divine plan, neither you nor I know how this was worked out. You are presuming issues that the Bible does not define for us. John 1:1 claims the one who became Jesus (John 1:14) was God (John 1:1). As God, just as we as parents, God can act collectively, decide collectively etc. So, John 8:42 doesn’t necessarily support your conclusion that Jesus cannot be God.

      May we remind you also of John 3:13 “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” were we do find a passage (one of the many in John’s gospel) which employs the Old Testament language of theophany (God appearing). A manifestation of divine power is referred to as “God coming down”. The completion of the theophany is God “going up” or ascending. (See Ge 11:5; 18:21; Ex 3:7, 8; 19:11, 18, 20; 34:5; Ps 18:9, 10; Isa 64:1).

      I do not see how your case for a theophany works against Jesus being God or that he existed prior to his human birth. John 3:13 claims that as the Son of Man “came down from heaven” and “ascended up to heaven.” As much as I am able to see, you have damaged your argument by bringing this Scripture to light.

      The Word that became flesh is a straightforward reference to Christ’s nature, not merely his birth (cp 1 John 4:2). God manifested Himself in the flesh of humanity (1 Timothy 3:16), not in stone (Exodus 34:6). When Jesus was of David’s seed (Romans 1:3) that he could only be some one having come after David and not before David. Jesus was under a curse (Galatians 3:13); being born of a woman, under the law (Galatians 4:4); and made “sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3); in the likeness of men, of no reputation (Philippians 2:7); and like his brethren (Hebrews 2:17).

      Again, your argument is not sound. You claim support from 1John 4:2 that John 1:14 concerns Jesus’ nature rather than his birth. Yet, John 1:6-9 says the Word of John 1:1 and the Light of John 1:9 was coming into the world. Then John 1:10 specifically claims that this was accomplished, the Word who was God (John 1:1) was in the world that he created (clothed in flesh (John 1:14; cf. Philippians 2:7-8).

      Concerning Jesus being David’s seed, according to Psalm 110, David claimed that the Lord said unto my (David’s) Lord: “sit on my right hand…” (Psalm 110:1). How is Jesus David’s Lord, unless Jesus existed in David’s day? Moreover, David speaks of this One as then sitting at the right hand of God who would sometime in the future strike out at the kings of the earth (Psalm 110:5). It seems to me that David recognized his descendent as the very one who then ruled the world from the throne of God.

      The conception of Jesus in the virgin womb is likened to the original “Creation” of Genesis; in fact, it is the beginning of the new, spiritual “creation”: cp (#Ge 1:2 (the Spirit of God hovering over the waters) like a mother bird brooding over her young: (#De 32:11 (cp Ex 19:4). The words portray the energy-giving presence of God – wrapping, protecting, and caressing the chaos of the unfinished earth as He prepared to complete His creation. And This Same Eenergy In Creative Process is described in (#Lu 1:35) (the Holy Spirit will.. overshadow you..): The language of Gabriel calls to mind that of Gen [cp #Ge 1:2), LXX]; the Spirit of God “overshadowing,” or “moving upon” the face of the waters to bring forth life, as a mother hen brooding over her eggs and then her chicks. A direct parallel to the natural creation; this is the beginning of the spiritual, or new, creation. It is a picture of vast creative power, yet nonetheless tenderness and love. It is a picture of a God who sustains all things by His omnip otence, who acts as and when He chooses, and no man can understand, much less question, His prerogative. But also it is a picture of a God who is a Father, who pities His children, who lavishes mercies unnumbered upon those who can never hope to repay Him. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us..” (Cp #Ex 40:35) : the cloud abode on the tent of the congregation, and the glory of Yahweh filled tabernacle.)

      I am uncertain about what point you wish to make here. However, concerning the virgin birth, I don’t see the beginning of the new creation occurring at the birth of Jesus, but at his resurrection. All things are become new for those who trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection. His human birth allowed him to redeem mankind, to become the sin (offering) for us (2Corinthians 5:21). Thus, providing our way out of Adam and into the new Adam (Christ) as shown to us by Paul in 1Corinthians 15.

       
  2. Christadelphians

    November 20, 2015 at 11:28

    Where do you get it from that Jesus would have created the world? And what do you mean with: “When Jesus came into the world, the world, although it was created by him, did not know its Creator.”
    Jesus very well knew Who created the earth and even worshipped that Divine Creator Who Jesus recognised as the Only One True God of gods Who is greater than him (Jesus).

     
    • Eddie

      November 21, 2015 at 08:23

      Greetings, and thank you for reading and for your comment. I enjoy discussing the word of God with folks who like doing the same. :-)

      I believe we have a misunderstanding. I used the Scripture, Matthew 11:27 showing that no one knows Jesus but the Father and no one knows the Father but Jesus–and he to whom Jesus is pleased to reveal him. The Scriptures clearly say **only** Jesus knows the Father, so I don’t know how you came up with the idea that I claimed Jesus didn’t know God.

      Concerning the idea that Jesus created the world, have you never read Colossians 1:16? Paul was speaking of Jesus (verse-15) who is the visible image of the invisible God and firstborn of every creature. Then he goes on to say of Jesus that all things were created **in** him and **through** him and **for** him. I liken this verse to my desire to have a family. I created my family **in** my wife, **through** my wife and **for** my wife. This is what this verse seems to be saying concerning the Father and the One who became Jesus, and it agrees with John 1:1-3 where the Scripture says that the Word was with God and the Word was God. This Word was in the beginning with God and all things were made **through** the Word and without the Word nothing was made.

      Those are the Scriptures: John 1:1-3 and Colossians 1:15-16. It really looks like God created the worlds through the One who became Jesus, and we, i.e. humanity who are God’s images (Genesis 1:26-27), bring our families into the world in the same manner. The one creates what he is able to create **in** and **through** the other. The other brings the baby (their ‘creation’) into the world.

      Well that’s my story, and I base it upon the Scriptures I mentioned above. Now, if you would be so kind, tell me yours and don’t be shy about using the Scriptures to back up your claims.

      Lord bless you in your efforts to please him.

       

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