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The Wednesday Word – Jesus, God over All

Romans 9:5. “Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is God over all, blessed for ever. Amen” (ESV)

God became a man. He became a member of the human race. He became flesh and blood.

Stunning!

Although He became human, He remained entirely and thoroughly the Lord God from Heaven.

Even more stunning!

He was and is the Mighty God, the eternal, self-existent one who was and is and is to come.

He is ‘over all.’

That means,

There is no one above Him.

He is over all angels.

He is above all created beings.

He governs all.

What exceedingly good news! It was the Lord of Glory Himself who came to redeem us. We were helpless, and God Himself loved us enough to come to the rescue.

The God of the Arians (Jehovah Witnesses and others) didn’t love us enough to come here to save us. He, according to their teaching, created and sent someone else to do the job for him.

Perhaps their god didn’t want to get his hands dirty? Or maybe it was because he didn’t like the idea of pain, suffering, rejection and humiliation? Or perhaps he was occupied with more pressing matters? But whatever the reason, he, according to them, stayed in Heaven and sent a substitute to represent Him. He can, therefore, be likened to a man who while walking over a bridge with his son spies someone drowning in the river below. His heart is so smitten with concern that he asks his son to jump over the side to rescue and save the drowning man. But, not so the God of the Bible! He laid down the vestiges of royalty, wrapped himself with humanity and came here Himself to rescue and save us from the river of death by bearing our sins on the cross. Jesus was man’s substitute, not God’s. As Bonar said,

‘Turn your eye to the cross and see these two things, – the Crucifiers and the Crucified——-See the Crucified. It is God himself; incarnate love. It is the God who made you, suffering, dying for the ungodly. Can you suspect his grace? Can you cherish evil thoughts of him? Can you ask anything farther to awaken in you the fullest and most unreserved confidence? Will you misinterpret that agony and death by saying that they do not mean grace, or that the grace which they mean is not for you? Call to mind that which is written, – “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us” 1 John 3:16.

Horatius Bonar: Christ Died for the Ungodly.

In the scheme which denies Christ’s Deity, we are presented with a god who was either unwilling or unable to come here himself and rescue us. We must then ask, had their god become too frail to undertake the mission? Did he need someone more energetic and youthful to complete the task? Candidly speaking, this business of God creating some super-angel to do His redeeming work leaves God looking somewhat suspect in His commitment to us. Frankly, I’m not impressed with a god who wouldn’t come here Himself to rescue me! A god who stayed in heaven while I was utterly ruined cannot melt my heart. A god who delegates my redemption to another cannot command my loyalty. On this matter, I take my stand with Luther who said,

“Wherefore, he that preaches a God to me that died not for me the death on the cross, that God will I not receive.”

Martin Luther: Smalcald Articles.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: Offices of Christ: Conclusion- Book Fifth

Book Fifth

CONCLUSION

“What think ye of Christ?” We may now, with great propriety, consider this question solemnly addressed to us. We have contemplated the person, states, and offices of Christ. What impression does the contemplation leave in our minds? What emotions has it produced? Have the words of the prophets been fulfilled in our case: “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him”? Or, can we say, “He is the chief among ten thousands, and altogether lovely”? According as Christ appears in our view, the evidence of our spiritual state is favorable or unfavorable; and by this test, we may try our hope of acceptance through him, and of reigning with him for ever.

In the ordinary experience of mankind, the affections are attracted most strongly by objects near at hand. To the imagination, distance may lend enchantment; but the affections of the heart play around the fireside, and fix their firmest hold on those with whom we converse most familiarly. In accordance with this tendency of our nature, the son of God attracted the hearts of men, by dwelling among them, and exhibiting himself in familiar intercourse with them, and in the endearing relations well known in human society. We see him, as the affectionate brother and friend, weeping in the sorrows of others, and alleviating their sufferings by words and acts of kindness. The tenderness with which, when hanging on the cross, he committed his mother to the care of his beloved disciple, is an example of filial love, which cannot be contemplated with an unmoved heart. In the simple narratives of his life, which have been given for our instruction, we trace his course in his daily walk as a man among men, going about doing good, and the traits of character exhibited in this familiar intercourse, call forth our love. The heavens have now received him out of our sight, but we know that, in fulfillment of his promise, he is always with us; and we are taught to regard him, not only as near at hand, but also as sympathizing with our infirmities, having been tempted in all points as we are. In the humanity of Jesus, we see the loveliness of the divine perfections familiarly and intelligibly exhibited.

It sometimes happens, in the experience of mankind, that persons of extraordinary merit remain for a time in obscurity, and that those who have been most intimate with them have been taken by surprise, when the unsuspected greatness of their character has been disclose. Writers of fiction know how to interest the feelings, by presenting great personages under disguise, and unveiling them at a fit moment, to produce impression. But incidents, infinitely transcending all fiction, are found in the true history of Jesus Christ, in which the concealed majesty of his divinity broke forth, and caused surpassing astonishment. The humble sleeper in the boat on the Lake of Tiberias, comes forth from his slumbers, and stills the raging water; and the beholders of the miracle exclaim: “What manner of man is this?” The weary traveller arrives at Bethany, and claims to be the resurrection and the life, and demonstrates the truth of his claim, by calling the dead Lazarus from the tomb. As a condemned malefactor, he hangs on the cross, and expires with such exhibitions of divinity, that the astonished Roman centurion cried: “Truly this man was the Son of God.” We have contemplated the divinity of Jesus Christ, not merely in these transient outbursts which occurred while he was on earth, but in the full demonstration which has been given since he ascended to heaven, and the impression on our hearts ought to be strong and abiding. The disciples who attended on his personal ministry loved and honored him; but when they saw him ascend to heaven, being more deeply impressed with his divinity, they worshipped him. Let us devoutly join in rendering him divine honor.

We read with interest the history of men who have passed through great changes in their condition, and who, in every condition, have displayed great and noble qualities. But no changes of condition possible to men, can equal those which the Son of God has undergone. Once rich in his original glory, he became so poor that he had not where to lay his head: and from his depth of poverty, he has been exalted to supreme dominion, and made proprietor and ruler of all worlds. Through these changes he has ever exhibited such moral perfections as have been most pleasing to God. In whatever condition we view him, let us delight in him, as did his Father.

The offices which Christ sustains toward us, are such as have been in highest repute among men. Prophets, priests, and kings have always been accounted worthy of honor. We should give the highest honor to Christ, who, as a prophet, is superior to Moses; as a priest, superior to Aaron; and as a king, the Lord of David. These offices, as exercised by Christ, deserve our honor, not only because of their excellence, but also because of their adaptedness to us. We are, by nature, ignorant, guilty, and depraved. As ignorant, we need Christ, the prophet, to teach us; as guilty, we need Christ, the priest, to make atonement for us; and as depraved, we need Christ, the king, to rule over us, and bring all our rebellious passions into subjection. These offices of Christ are also adapted to the graces which distinguish and adorn the Christian character. The chief of these, as enumerated by Paul, are faith, hope, and love; in the exercise of faith, we receive the truth, revealed by Christ, the prophet; in the exercise of hope, we follow Christ, the priest, who has entered into the holiest of all, to appear before God for us; and we submit to Christ, the king, in the exercise of love, which is the fulfilling of the law, the principle and sum of all holy obedience.

In the theology of the ancient Christians, Christ held a central and vital place. If we take away from the epistles of Paul all that is said about Christ, what mutilation shall we make? If, when we have opened anywhere to read, as at 1 Cor. ch. i., we expunge Christ, what have we left? Paul, while in ignorance and unbelief, thought that he did God service, by persecuting Jesus of Nazareth. But when his eyes were opened, to see that the despised Nazarene, whom his nation had crucified, was the Lord of Glory, when he learned that in him are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, unsearchable riches, and the fulness of grace, the heart of the persecutor was changed, and he became devoted to the service of him whom he had sought to destroy. Henceforth, he counted all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Has our knowledge of Christ produced a like effect on us? If our hearts are in unison with that of the great Apostle, we are prepared to say, from the inmost soul, “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel,” a gospel of which Christ is not the centre and the sum, “let him be accursed.”[1] “If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be an anathema maranatha.”[2]

In our investigation of religious truth, we have found four sources of knowledge: our own moral feelings, the moral feelings and judgments of others, the course of nature, and the book of divine revelation. The first three of these can give us no knowledge of Jesus Christ and his great salvation. For this knowledge we are wholly indebted to the Bible. Yet, when we have learned our lost and helpless state by nature, the scheme of salvation which the Bible reveals is so perfectly adapted to our condition, that it brings with it its own evidence of having originated in the wisdom of God.

When Paul preached the gospel of salvation, he know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. He gloried in nothing, save the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have tarried long in our meditations on the doctrine concerning Jesus Christ; and, before we dismiss the subject, it may be profitable to linger yet a little time at the cross, that we may again survey its glory, and feel its soul-subduing power.

In the cross of Christ, all the divine perfections are gloriously and harmoniously displayed. Infinite love, inviolable truth, and inflexible justice are all seen, in their brightest and most beautifully mingled colors. The heavens declare the glory of God; but the glory of the cross outshines the wonders of the skies. God’s moral perfections are here displayed, which are the highest glory of his character.

The cross of Christ is our only hope of life everlasting. On him who hangs there, our iniquities were laid, and from his wounds flows the blood that cleanses from all sin. Our faith views the bleeding victim, and peacefully relies on the great atoning sacrifice. It views mercy streaming from the cross; and to the cross it comes to obtain every needed blessing.

In the cross, the believer finds the strongest motive to holiness. As we stand before it, and view the exhibition of the Saviour’s love, we resolve to live to him who died for us. The world ceases to charm. We become crucified to the world, and the world crucified to us. Sin appears infinitely hateful. We regard it as the accursed thing which caused the death of our beloved Lord; and we grow strong in the purpose to wage against it an exterminating war. By all the Saviour’s agonies, we vow to have no peace with it for ever. The cross is the place for penitential tears. We look on him whom we have pierced, and mourn. Our hearts bleed at the sight of the bleeding sufferer, murdered by our sins; and we resolve that the murderers shall die. The cross is a holy place, where we learn to be like Christ, to hate sin as he hated it, and to delight in the law of God which was in his heart. In the presence of the cross, we feel that omnipotent grace has hold of our heart; and we surrender to dying love.

The wisdom of man did not devise the wonderful plan of salvation. As well might we suppose that it directed the great Creator, when he spread abroad the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. But as in the heavens and earth human reason may see the power and wisdom of God, so, to the Christian heart, Christ crucified is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. The doctrine of the cross needs no other demonstration of its divine origin, than its power to sanctify the heart, and bring it into willing and joyful subjection to Christ.

[1] Gal. i. 8.

[2] 1 Cor. xvi. 22.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: Offices of Christ: King- Book Fifth- Chapter 3- Section 3

Book Fifth

CHAPTER III.

SECTION III.–KING.

JESUS CHRIST, AS THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN, EXERCISES KINGLY AUTHORITY OVER ALL CREATURES, TO THE GLORY OF GOD, AND THE GOOD OF HIS PEOPLE.[64]

The superscription which Pilate placed on the cross, was, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” This writing expressed a truth of which its author was not aware. Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, foretold by the Hebrew prophets, and expected by the nation as the king who would rule over them, and raise them to great prosperity.

The Hebrew word Messiah, to which the Greek word Christ corresponds, signifies the Anointed. When kings and priests were introduced into office among the Israelites, it was usual to anoint them with oil. We have one example, in which a prophet was set apart to his work, by the same ceremony.[65] Jesus was the Anointed, because he sustained all these offices; and, although he was not introduced into either of them, by a literal anointing with oil, he had the unction of the Holy Spirit, of which the literal unction with oil was a type. The words of Isaiah read by him in the synagogue of Nazareth, were applied to himself: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach,”[66] &c. Here the anointing must be understood as referring to his prophetical office. The same reference seems to have been made with taunt and derision by the individual who smote Jesus, and said: “Prophesy, thou Christ, who is he that smote thee?”[67] In this taunt, it was implied, that the Christ was expected to be a prophet. But from the common use of anointing, we are led to refer the term Christ rather to the priestly and kingly offices, with which Jesus was invested. The most common reference, is to his kingly office. He was reported to Pilate, as making himself “Christ, a king.”[68] In expecting their Messiah, the Jews looked for a king, who was to rule over them and deliver them from their enemies. Many of the prophecies concerning the Christ, relate to his reign as king over Israel: and when he, before the Jewish council, claimed to be the Christ, he referred to the future manifestation of his kingly power and glory, “Hereafter shall the Son of Man sit on the right hand of the power of God.”[69]

A proof that Jesus was the promised Messiah, is found in the fact, that the prophecies were fulfilled in him. The time and place of his birth, and the tribe and family from which he was to spring, were particularly foretold; and the events corresponded to the predictions. Many prophecies of events in his life, sufferings, death, burial, and resurrection, were exactly fulfilled. Jesus appealed with confidence to the Scriptures, for proof of his claims: “Search the Scriptures; for they are they that testify of me.”[70]And the apostles said: “To him give all the prophets witness.”[71]

Further proof that Jesus was the Christ, is furnished by the testimony of John the Baptist,[72] by the voice of the Father at his baptism,[73] and at his transfiguration in the mount;[74] by his works, to which he often appealed in proof of his claim; and by his claim before the Jewish council, and before Pilate, and which was sustained by his miracles, and ultimately by his resurrection from the dead.

To all these proofs it may be added, that the Jews have found no other Messiah. They have confidently expected one, and the time for his coming has long passed. Either Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah foretold, or the prophecies were false, and the religion of which they were a part was not from God. Jesus Christ, as the Supreme God, had, of original right, sovereign authority over all creatures. But when the Word was made flesh, he took on him the form of a servant; and, for a time, appeared divested of divine power and glory. But, after having humbled himself, and completed the service for which his humiliation was necessary, it pleased God to reward that service by exalting him to supreme authority over all creatures. “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”[75]

A peculiarity of Christ’s dominion as Mediator, is, that it is exercised by him in human nature. Why it was the pleasure of God to exalt human nature to a dignity so high, it is impossible for us fully to comprehend. We see in it the complete defeat of Satan, the apostate angel, who aimed to bring our inferior nature entirely under his power. He triumphed over the first Adam: but the second Adam has triumphed over him, and will bring him into complete subjection, with all the hostile powers that he has set in array; and will, in the very nature over which Satan triumphed, bring them into subjection under his feet. This dominion over principalities and powers Jesus Christ exercises, with a reference to the good of his people, redeemed from among men. To secure this benefit, the exercise of his dominion in human nature doubtless contributes. The redeemed are one with him, as he is one with the Father. That wonderful prayer is fulfilled, “that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.”[76] They are admitted to a communion with God, far more intimate and glorious than could otherwise be enjoyed; and are exalted to such honor, that they are said to reign with Christ. This dignity is nowhere ascribed to angels. Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. This exercise of divine authority, through the human nature of Jesus Christ, will manifest the glory of God in its richest displays; and angels and men will here learn, through eternal ages, the perfections of the divine nature, and will for ever admire and adore, with ineffable joy.

Another peculiarity of this dominion, is, that it opens a new dispensation to rebellious men. When the angels, that kept not their first estate, sinned against God, they were driven from his presence, and condemned to hopeless woe. No mediator was provided for them; and no gospel of salvation was ever proclaimed in their ears. Such an administration of divine authority, as gives hope of pardon to offenders, was unknown in the government of the world until man sinned; and this administration constitutes a distinguishing feature of Christ’s mediatorial reign. Hence, he is the Mediator between God and men, and not between God and angels; and hence the Mediator is emphatically called “the man Christ Jesus.”[77] On earth, the Son of Man had power to forgive sins;[78] and in heaven he sits on a throne of grace, to which we are permitted and invited to come, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need. When God displayed his glory to Moses, and proclaimed his name in the hearing of that favored servant, his forgiving mercy had a conspicuous place in the revelation: “The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering,”[79] &c. so, in heaven, where his full glory is seen, the dispensation of his mercy from the throne of grace on which the exalted Mediator sits, constitutes the most lovely and attractive exhibition of the divine glory that the happy worshippers are permitted to behold.

Of the two peculiarities which have been mentioned as distinguishing the mediatorial dominion of Christ, the first could not exist until the humanity of Christ was exalted to the throne. Then the mediatorial reign, in its full development, commenced, when the Father said, “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”[80] But the second peculiarity existed in an incomplete administration of this mediatorial reign, which was exercised from the time of man’s fall. Before the efficacious sacrifice for sin was made, in which the humanity of Christ became its virtue, pardons were bestowed on believers, from the days of Abel. It is now made known to us, that these pardons were engaged, as the surety for sinners, to do the work which he has since performed: and the inquiries of angels, and the faith of Old Testament saints, were all directed forward to the coming of Christ, for explanation of that mysterious dispensation by which rebels obtained mercy.

Jesus Christ is head over all things to the Church. He exercises his supreme authority for the benefit of his people, for whose sake he sanctified himself to undertake the work of mediation. He is head over principalities and powers; and angels honor and obey him, and are sent forth as ministering spirits, to minister to the heirs of salvation. He is Lord over all the earth; and regulates every agent and every event in the world, so that “all things work together for good to them that love God.” If Christ is ours, all things are ours; for all things are in his hands, and he holds them for the benefit of his people.

In the few words which Jesus spoke respecting his kingdom, when he stood before Pilate, the most important instruction is conveyed. We cannot too much admire the wisdom with which he accurately described, in so few words, the kingdom that he came to establish: “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight.”[81] The kings of the earth maintain their authority by force. The coerced obedience which they procure, is often reluctantly rendered. The proper subjects of Christ’s kingdom are a willing people,[82] who voluntarily give themselves up to his authority, and serve him with delight. In extending his kingdom he has not allowed carnal weapons to be used; but such only as are powerful, through God, to bring the heart into subjection: “Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.”[83] He who receives the truth, hears the voice of the king, and acknowledges his authority. To believe the truth, is to obey the Gospel; and this is to be subject to Christ as king. The Jews had expected the Messiah to set up a kingdom, which would be like the kingdoms of the earth, and surpass them in glory. The disciples of Jesus entertained similar views; and hence arose the request to sit on his right hand, and on his left, in his kingdom. Hence, too, arose their despondency when they saw him crucified. They had thought that it was he who was to restore the kingdom to Israel;[84] and his death darkened their prospects, and cut off their hopes. The faith of the expiring thief recognised the expiring Jesus as king; and prayed, “Lord, remember me, when thou comest into thy kingdom:”[85] but the mourning disciples of Jesus could not see the bright prospect of his kingdom, through the darkness of the grave. Yet, the death of Jesus was necessary to the establishment of his kingdom: “For obedience unto death, he was crowned with glory and honor.”[86] And the dying love of Christ is the constraining power which brings the heart into subjection to his authority.

Wrong views respecting the nature of the Messiah’s kingdom, have been productive of much evil. The princes of this world crucified the Lord of glory, because they could not recognize him in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, who came into the world to bear witness to the truth, and not to introduce his kingdom with the pomp which the carnal mind is pleased with. And Christ has been crucified afresh, and put to open shame, by his professed followers, because of their wrong notions respecting his kingdom. A visible ecclesiastical organization, distinguished by the observance of external forms, has claimed to be the kingdom of Christ; and its power has been extended and wielded by means far different from those which Jesus authorized. To banish this corrupt Christianity from the earth, correct views respecting the kingdom of Christ must prevail.

The Messiah was to rule in the midst of his enemies; and his iron sceptre was to break in pieces, as a potter’s vessel,[87] all who are disobedient, and do not obey the truth: but those who obey the truth are “the children of the kingdom:” and to them the benefits and blessings of his reign belong. In this restricted sense, none but regenerate persons enter into his kingdom.[88] We are translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son,[89] when we receive his truth into our hearts. In this sense, no profession of religion, and no observance of external forms, can bring any one into the kingdom of Christ. The tares may resemble the wheat: but the tares are the children of the wicked one; and the good seed only are the children of the kingdom;[90] and when the Son of Man shall gather out of his kingdom whatever is offensive to him, the tares will, equally with the briars and thorns, be rejected, as not belonging properly to his kingdom, and doomed to be burned. Let it then be distinctly understood, that the kingdom of Christ is not a great visible organization, consisting of good men and bad, who are bound together by some ecclesiastical tie. He rules over all; but he accounts all as the enemies of his reign who do not obey the truth: and the hypocrite and formalist have no more part in his kingdom than Herod and Pontius Pilate.

Some obscurity has arisen in the interpretation of Scriptures in which the word kingdom occurs, from supposing that it always refers to the territory of subjects that are under the government of a king. Kingdom is king dominion, king jurisdiction. The primary idea is kingly authority. In this primary sense it is used in Luke xix. 12: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom.” See also Rev. xvii. 12. This radical idea the word retains everywhere; but it becomes so modified by the connection in which it is used, as to refer to the time, place, or circumstances in which kingly authority is exercised; to the persons over whom it is exercised; and, sometimes, to the benefits resulting from its exercise. An example of this last use is found in Rom. xiv. 17: “The kingdom of God is righteousness peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” The phrases, “kingdom of heaven,” “kingdom of God,” “kingdom of Christ,” “kingdom of God’s dear Son, ” are used with reference to the reign of the Messiah. They denote God’s exercise of kingly authority in the person of the Messiah; and this radical idea, as before stated, becomes modified by the connection in which the phrases are used. When parables are introduced with the words “The kingdom of God is like,” we are to understand that some fact or truth connected with the reign of the Messiah is illustrated by the parable. It will be impossible to make sense of many passages, if the term be understood always to signify the subjects over whom Christ reigns. How, in this signification of the term, can the kingdom be like a merchantman,[91] a net,[92] a treasure?[93] “The kingdom of heaven is like to a man which sowed good seed in his field.”[94] Here, no comparison can be intended between the subjects of Christ’s reign and the man that sowed the seed. But the parable illustrates important truth commented with the reign of the Messiah. It teaches that the world, represented by the field, is under his dominion; that, for a time, the good and bad are permitted to remain together; but that a separation will finally be made, and the blessings of his reign will be enjoyed by those only who are “the good seed,” sown by himself, and who only are “the children of the kingdom.”

The mediatorial reign of Christ will include the judgment of the great day. It is said, “We must all stand at the judgment seat of Christ;” and also, in describing the sentences pronounced, “Then shall the king say,” &c. Then they who condemned and crucified Christ the king, and all who would not have him to reign over them, shall stand at his tribunal. The decisions of that day will be made according to the relation which each individual has borne to Christ. What men have done to the least of his disciples, he will regard as done to him; and, according to the dispositions so evinced, will be every man’s final doom.

Will the mediatorial reign of Christ continue after the transactions of the great day? An important change will doubtless then take place in the manner of his reign. All his enemies will have been subdued, all his ransomed people brought home, and his last act of pardoning mercy performed. Yet, we are informed that the glory of God and the Lamb will be the light of the New Jerusalem;[95] that the Lamb will be in the midst of the throne; and that he will feed the redeemed, and lead them to the fountains of living water.[96] From these representations, we appear authorized to conclude that Christ will remain the medium of communication through which the saints will for ever approach God, and receive glory and bliss from him. The language of Paul in 1 Cor. xv. 25, is not inconsistent with this opinion: “He must reign, until he hath put all enemies under his feet.” When it is said, “Until the law, sin was in the world,[97] we are not to conclude that sin was not in the world afterwards: so, when it is said, “He must reign until,” &c., we must not infer that he will not reign after this time. It will not accord with his own representation of the subject, if, when those who would not have him to reign over them, shall have been slain before his face,[98] he himself shall cease to reign. When it is said, “then shall the Son be subject to the Father,”[99] we are not to understand that this subjection excludes the idea of reigning; otherwise it would be implied that his previous reign had not been in subjection to the Father. Christ now reigns in subjection to the Father; but the harmony of his administration with the will and perfections of God, cannot fully appear while rebels go at large under his government; but when all enemies have been subdued, the harmony of his administration with the government of God, absolutely considered, will be made apparent. The coincidence of the two modes of government will be fully manifested. This will be the time of the restitution of all things.[100] He must reign until his enemies are subdued; and the heavens must receive him until the time of the restitution of all things; but he will not, then, either forsake heaven or cease to reign.

[64] Num. xxxiv. 17; Ps. ii. 6; Isaiah xxxii. 1; Zech. ix. 9; Matt. xxi. 5; John xviii. 36; Matt. xxv. 34; Heb. ii. 9; Rev. v. 13; 1 Tim. vi. 15; Rev. xvii. 14; xix. 16; Eph. i. 20–23; v. 23; Phil. ii. 9, 10.

[65] 1 Kings xix. 16.

[66] Isaiah lxi.1.

[67] Matt. xxvi. 68.

[68] Luke xxiii. 2.

[69] Luke xxii. 69.

[70] John v. 39.

[71] Acts x. 43.

[72] John iii. 28.

[73] Matt. iii. 17.

[74] Matt. xvii. 5.

[75] Matt. xxviii. 18.

[76] John xvii. 21.

[77] 1 Tim. ii. 5.

[78] Matt. ix. 6.

[79] Ex. xxxiv. 6.

[80] Ps. cx. 1.

[81] John xviii. 36.

[82] Ps. cx. 3.

[83] John xviii. 37.

[84] Luke xxiv. 21; Acts i. 6.

[85] Luke xxiii. 42.

[86] Phil. ii. 8, 9; Heb. ii. 9.

[87] Ps. ii. 9.

[88] John iii. 5.

[89] Col. i. 13.

[90] Matt. xiii. 38.

[91] Matt. xiii. 45.

[92] Matt. xiii. 47.

[93] Matt. xiii. 44.

[94] Matt. xiii. 45.

[95] Rev. xxi 23.

[96] Rev. vii. 17.

[97] Rom. v. 13.

[98] Luke xix. 27.

[99] 1 Cor. xv. 28.

[100] Acts iii. 21.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: States of Christ: Exaltation- Book Fifth-Chapter 2- Section 3

February 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Book Fifth

CHAPTER II.

SECTION III.–EXALTATION.

THE SON OF GOD, IN HUMAN NATURE, WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD, ASCENDED TO HEAVEN, AND WAS INVESTED WITH SUPREME DOMINION OVER ALL CREATURES.[20]

The facts of Christ’s exaltation, like those of his humiliation, are related in the Scripture narrative, and referred to in various parts of the sacred volume.

The exaltation, like the humiliation, produced no real change in his divine nature. It affected the manifestation of it, and also wrought a real change in the condition of the human nature. This nature is now perfectly happy. Jesus has received the joy that was set before him;[21] and saints, who are to be happy with him for ever, are said to “enter into the joy of their Lord.”[22] On this nature rests, also, the full glory of the Godhead, “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”[23] As through him the brightest manifestations of the divine glory are made to intelligent creatures, so through him they receive the commands of supreme authority. “He is head of principalities and powers.” “He raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principalities and powers, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.”[24]

The glory to which Christ has been exalted, is not a subject of idle speculation, in which we have no interest. In his address to his Father, he said, in allusion to his disciples, “The glory which thou hast given me, I have given them.”[25] Hence, while we suffer with Christ,[26] and for Christ, in this world, we may rejoice in the hope of being glorified with him.

[20] Matt. xxviii.; Mark xvi.; Luke xxiv.; John xx.; Acts i. 11; vii. 56; ix. 4; 1 Cor. xv. 4-8; Phil. ii. 9, 10, 11.

[21] Heb. xii. 2.

[22] Matt. xxv. 21.

[23] 2 Cor. iv. 6.

[24] Eph. i. 20, 21.

[25] John xvii. 22.

[26] Rom. viii. 17.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: States of Christ- Humiliation- Book Fifth- Chapter 2- Section 2

February 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Book Fifth

CHAPTER II.

SECTION II.–HUMILIATION.

THE SON OF GOD ASSUMED HUMAN NATURE, AND IN THAT NATURE LIVED A LIFE OF TOIL AND SORROW, AND DIED AN IGNOMINIOUS AND PAINFUL DEATH.[12]

The full history of this wonderful humiliation, is given by the four Evangelist; and is often referred to in the New Testament, and sometimes in the prophetic declarations of the Old.

In contemplating this mystery of “God manifest in the flesh,” we are not to suppose that the divine nature underwent any real change. God cannot cease to be God. The change was in the manifestation, and not in the nature. In this manifestation, even the angels were concerned, for it is a part of the mystery that “God manifest in the flesh” was “seen of angels;”[13] but so wonderful was this new mode of manifestation, that the angels could not readily know their God, in this humble form, as the babe of Bethlehem, and the man of sorrows. Hence, they needed a special command from the eternal throne, before they could render him divine worship: “When he bringeth the first-begotten into the world, he saith, `Let all the angels of God worship him.’ “[14] But this fact, it may be objected , shows it to have been a concealment, rather than a manifestation. This, to some extent, is true; but it is a concealment resembling that by which God showed himself to Moses in the cleft of the rock, concealing the beams of insufferable brightness, that the favored servant might see the back parts of his glory. So the angels, while they behold the Godhead veiled in human nature, obtain views of the divine glory, which would otherwise have been impossible. These are the things “into which the angels desire to look.”[15] “Unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the Church.”–by the redemption and salvation of the Church, through the humiliation and death of Christ,–“the manifold wisdom of God.”[16]

The lowest point of Christ’s humiliation, was his death by crucifixion, and his being held for a time under the power of death, as a prisoner in the grave. Some have thought that he descended into hell; but this opinion has arisen from misinterpretation of the Scripture, “It was said, Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell:”[17] but the word “hell” signifies in this place, as in many others, the unseen world, or the state of departed spirits. When it is said, “He went and preached unto the spirits in prison[18], the meaning is, that he, by his spirit, in the ministry of Noah, who was a preacher of righteousness, preached to the antediluvians, who, being disobedient, and rejecting the ministry, were swept away by the flood, and were, when these words were penned, spirits in prison.

The glorious benefits resulting to us from the deep humiliation of Christ, are intimated in the words of Paul: “that ye through his poverty might be rich.”[19] The extent of the riches which we shall acquire by this poverty, eternity must disclose.

[12] I Tim. iii. 16

[13] Phil. ii. 6.

[14] Heb. i. 6.

[15] 1 Pet. i. 12.

[16] Eph. iii. 10.

[17] Ps. xvi. 10.

[18] I Pet. iii. 19.

[19] 2 Cor. viii. 9.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: The Person of Christ: Union of Natures- Book Fifth- Chapter 1- Section 3

Book Fifth

CHAPTER I.

SECTION III.–UNION OF NATURES.

THE TWO NATURES OF JESUS CHRIST, THE DIVINE AND THE HUMAN, ARE UNITED IN ONE PERSON.[119]

The name Son of God, properly denotes his divine nature; and the name Son of Man, his human nature. He frequently called himself the Son of God; more frequently, the Son of Man. Both these names were used as denoting one and the same person. The whole use of them indicates this; but there are some passages which show it more clearly than others. After speaking of himself as the Son of God, he says the Father hath given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the son of man.[120] Here the same person is manifestly called the Son of God, and the Son of Man. In other cases, attributes or works which belong to one nature, are ascribed to his person, denoted by the name which is derived from the other nature. “No man hath ascended up to Heaven, but he that came down from Heaven, even the Son of Man, which is in Heaven.”[121] Here he is named from his human nature, the Son of Man; while omnipresence is ascribed to him, which belongs to his divine nature. Another example of like kind is, “The Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath.”[122] The superiority to the Sabbath belongs to his divine nature, but the name by which he is designated belongs to the human. On the other hand, he is called God, and the Lord of Glory, when his blood and his crucifixion, things pertaining to his human flesh, are the subjects of discourse. “They would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.”[123] “The Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”[124]

How two natures so widely different, should be so united, we cannot understand. In the union of the body the soul of man in one person, there is a similar fact which we are unable to comprehend; but if we should disbelieve it, we should reject the testimony of our own consciousness. We have, therefore, no plea for rejecting the doctrine now before us, on the ground of mysteriousness.

The union of the two natures does not confound the properties peculiar to each. The humanity is not deified, nor the divinity humanized. So, the body of man does not become spirit, by its union with the soul; nor does the soul become matter, by its union with the body.

The union of Christ’s divinity with his humanity, is a different thing from the indwelling of the Godhead in him. The Holy Ghost dwells in believers, so that their bodies are called his temple, but this union does not constitute them one person. So, though Jesus said, “The Father is in me, and I in him,” he addressed his Father, and spoke of him, as a distinct person. The same is true of the Holy Spirit which dwelt in him, being given to him without measure.

The personal union is more than a mere manifestation of the divine nature through the human. God manifests himself in the works of creation. But this manifestation is not a personal union; otherwise, the universe must be God.

This union is indissoluble. Jesus will ever be the Lamb in the midst of the throne,[125] and will ever appear, in his glorified humanity, to the worshipping saints, who, with adoring praise, will for ever sing, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power and riches, and wisdom and strength, and honor and glory and blessings.”[126]

[119] John iii. 13; Rom. i. 4; ix. 5; 1 Cor. ii. 8; Matt. i. 23.

[120] John v. 27.

[121] John iii. 13.

[122] Mark ii. 28.

[123] 1 Cor. ii. 8.

[124] Acts xx. 28.

[125] Rev. vii. 17.

[126] Rev.. v. 12.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: The Person of Christ: Humanity- Book Fifth- Chapter 1- Section 1

Book Fifth

CHAPTER I.

THE PERSON OF CHRIST.

SECTION 1.–HUMANITY.

JESUS CHRIST WAS A MAN.[1]

The manner of Christ’s conception was peculiar. Without a human father, he was conceived in the womb of his virgin mother, by the power of the Holy Ghost. How far the son of Mary, conceived in this peculiar manner, resembled the sons born of other mothers, in the ordinary mode of generation, and how far he differed from them, we cannot certainly know from the circumstances of his conception. The divine power, which formed a man out of the dust of the ground, could also form a man in the womb of the virgin: but whether this extraordinary production should be a man, or a being of some other order, depended entirely on the will of God. For the knowledge of what Jesus Christ was, we are wholly indebted to the testimony concerning him given in the sacred Scriptures.

The testimony of the inspired Word on this point is very explicit. Whatever else Jesus Christ may have been, he was certainly a man; for so innumerable passages of Scripture declare. “Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved;”[2] “One mediator, the man Christ Jesus.”[3]

Jesus Christ had a human body. His was not a mere shadowy form of humanity; for, even after his resurrection, he said to his disciples, “Handle me and see me, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”[4] It was a real body that bore the weight of the cross, and was afterwards nailed to it. It was a real body that was pierced by the spear; and real blood and water issued from the wound. It was a real body that was embalmed with spices and laid in the tomb; and that afterwards rose from the dead. This body was human. It had the appearance and organs common to human bodies; was sustained by food, was subject to hunger and weariness, and needed the rest of sleep, like the bodies of other men.

Jesus Christ had a human soul. If the divine nature had dwelt in his body as a mere tabernacle of flesh, and supplies to it the place of a human soul, it could not have been said that “Jesus increased in wisdom.”[5] The mere material fabric could have no wisdom, and the wisdom of the divine nature was not susceptible of increase. Nor was it some created spirit of angelic or super-angelic nature that animated his body. He was made in all things like his brethren;[6] and he would not have been a brother, one of the family, made like the rest, if the spirit that dwelt in his human flesh had not also been human. Without this he would not have been a man. If he had not possessed a soul, he could not have said, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful;”[7] nor could it have been said, “When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.”[8] And if his soul had not been human, it would not have been a suitable offering for the sin of human beings. He took not on him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham.[9] He must be made like those whose law-place he assumed, and for whom he made himself a sacrifice.

The soul of Christ was unlike the souls of ordinary men, in being without the taint of sin. The mention of this exception proves more strongly the likeness in other respects. “He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”[10] Had the divine nature served as the soul of Christ, a statement of this exception would have been needless and inappropriate. Christ could be a man without being depraved; for Adam was a man before he fell. In the comparison between Christ and Adam as public heads, Adam is called the first man, and Christ the second man.[11] The humanity of the latter is as real as that of the former.

In the working of miracles God has shown that he is able to suspend the laws of nature; and he could have suspended that law of nature by which depraved parents generate depraved children. Had it been his pleasure, Jesus Christ might have had a human father as well as a human mother; and have been, nevertheless, without sin; for with God all things are possible. But it was not the pleasure of God that he should be so born; and the reason for his conception by the power of the Holy Ghost, is given in the words of the angel to his virgin mother; “Therefore, that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”[12] Ordinary generation would have made him the son of man; but his generation was extraordinary, because he was also the son of God. The conception by the Holy Ghost did not give the offspring an intermediate nature between the divine and the human, such as the demigods of the heathen were supposed to possess. In that case, Christ, as the son of God, would have been the son of the Holy Ghost, and not of the Father. But the Holy Sprit was the agent in preparing the body in which the sacrifice was to be made; and such was the union between it and the divinity, that the name, Son of God, belonged to the entire person so constituted.

[1] John i. 14; Phil. ii. 7, 8; Heb. ii. 14–17; Mark ix. 12; 1 Tim. ii. 5; Matt. i. 18–25; Luke i. 28–35; Gal. iv. 4; Matt. iv. 2; xxi. 18; John iv. 6, 10; Math. viii. 24; xxi 18; Mark ix. 12; Isaiah liii. 3; John xi. 35; Luke xix. 41; Matt. xxvi. 37, 38; Luke xxii. 44; Matt. iv. 1; Mark i. 13; Luke iv. 2; Heb. ii. 18; iv. 15; Luke ii. 10, 52; Matt. iv. 11; Luke xxii. 43; Mark xv. 34.

[2] Acts ii. 22.

[3] 1 Tim. ii. 5.

[4] Luke xxiv. 39.

[5] Luke ii. 52.

[6] Heb. ii. 17.

[7] Mark xiv. 34.

[8] Isaiah liii. 10.

[9] Heb. ii. 16.

[10] Heb. iv. 15.

[11] 1 Cor. xv. 47.

[12] Luke i. 35.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology