I thought I would share the notes to a lesson I taught on the Person of Jesus. All too often Christians lack understanding in our Saviour so it is my hope that some will be stretched a bit by these notes.
Jesus and His Purpose
Springs of Refreshing Fellowship Church
1932 Gwynn Oak Ave
Woodlawn, MD 21207
Elder William James Carter, The 1st
18 April 2013
© The Christian Perspective
Jesus and His Purpose
The Deity of Jesus
Many of those that claim to be Christians today have very little knowledge of who Christ is and His purpose. It is for this reason this lesson will delve into the deity of Christ and His purpose. John 1:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
The first thing that should be noted in this verse is the term “in the beginning.” It is similar term that was used in Genesis 1:1. The term does not refer to the starting point of time rather is refers to the beginning of recorded time. The idea here is that the text is pointing to the eternality of Jesus. It shows that Jesus existed before time was recorded by man. Even more importantly not only did Jesus exist before recorded time but He enjoys a status of pre-existence.
The pre-existence of Christ lend considerable credibility to His Deity. Jesus removes a little of His veil in John 8:58 with the words:
“Before Abraham was I am.”
This interesting choice of words shows that Jesus not only existed before Abraham but that He remains eternal. At no point does His existence or deity cease to be. The fact that the Jesus remains before Abraham is testament that He continues to exist in eternity past. Only deity can exist in such a fashion as to be in the past and present simultaneously.
The next aspect to be examined is the term “Word.” One partial definition of “Word is: “the ultimate revelation of Jesus Christ in the incarnate Word of God”. By this Jesus is personified as being the very image of God. This is what makes the term “Immanuel” significant. Immanuel means “God with us” and the Word being presents the very picture of an ever-present God becomes clear.
Verse one continues by showing that the Word was with God. This is a clear indication of two distinct personalities. Jesus, the Word, existed and continues to exist with God the Father. The term with is not simply positional rather it is relational. It shows an unbreaking union in the Godhead. Additionally this union is not just a strong relationship but that the Godhead is in full agreement insofar as all is concerned. There is no disagreement between the members of the Godhead.
The ending of verse one points not only to the Deity of Jesus but also to the very fact that Jesus is God. He is just as much as God as the Father is. This fact is NOT a form of polytheism rather is shows the multifaceted God mentioned in Genesis 1:1. While we may lack understanding how one God can be present in three Persons we must understand that clarity to the matter will be part of a victorious end to this life.
The incarnation of Jesus is not a coincidental or happenstance matter. God planned this from the time of the fall of man in the Garden. As such many prophecies concerning the virgin birth of Jesus were made throughout the Old Testament. One prominent prophecy is found in Isaiah 7:14:
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
This prophecy came to pass as Mary gave birth to the Messiah (Luke 2:6-7). It is important to note that Jesus was conceived while Mary remained a virgin. This is significant because Jesus did not come from the seed and blood of man. Remember that it is the father’s blood that is in offspring. Because Jesus is the Son of God he could not be tainted with the blood of man. This is the reason He had to come through a pure vessel not tainted by man’s sinful blood.
Because of His incarnation many see Jesus as being man only. However that is far from true. However Jesus could not come to earth in the fullness of His glory. He had to lay aside some of His attributes in order to accomplish His task. Philippians 2:7 points to this fact:
“But stripped Himself [of all privileges and [a]rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being” (Amplified Bible).
The term for this action is called “kenosis” which means that Jesus “surrendered no attribute of His Deity, but that He did voluntarily restrict their independent use in keeping with His purpose of living among men and their limitations.” He did not stop being God but emptied Himself by:
- Veiling His divine glory – no man could look on God in the fullness of His glory and live
- Subjecting Himself to human limitations – Jesus was fully man in that He lived in the shell of a man having to be limited as man is.
- Giving up independent use of comparative attributes – Jesus willing laid aside His omniscience, omnipresence and omnipresence. These attributes were still available to Him but He chose to surrender the use of these attributes so that He could identify with man.
Even with this pouring out Jesus remained Devine even though He lived as a man. With this Jesus was one hundred percent God and one hundred percent man. It is for this reason that Christ has been called the God- Man. It is the union of God and man which is called the hypostatic union. At no time was Jesus less God nor did He ever become less man. He was “Immanuel” or God with us. There are a number of reasons this union is significant but for the sake of this lesson only three will be discussed. Those reasons are that:
- The union is evidence of the eternal priesthood of Christ – Hebrews 9:11
- The prophetic office of Christ is evidenced in the union – Matthew 21:11
- The kingly office of Christ requires both the Divine and human – Revelation 15:3
Because Jesus was and remains one hundred percent God, while incarnate, He had within Him no ability to sin. Multiple texts point to the sinless life of the God-man. Among them are:
- Hebrews 4:14 -15: Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
- I Peter 2:21-22: For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
- I John 3:5: And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
While Jesus performed many works prior to His crucifixion is task at large was really simple. That task was to perform the will of His Father. John 5:30:
“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”
This statement by Jesus is indicative of the obedience Jesus. It shows His complete and total submission to the Father. Jesus did not come to do anything apart from the Father. Remember that He and the Father are one and as such it is impossible for One to operate without the absolute consent of the Other. But what is the will of the Father? In order to fully understand the will of God there must be an understanding of the nature of man before sin corrupted him. The first man initially:
- Was sinless because he was created without sin.
- Communed regularly with God.’
- Had an intimate relationship with God.
The fall of man caused a divide that God was not desirous of. From that time He put into action a plan to restore man to his rightful relationship. Part of that plan is put in to play by redemption.
Redemption – To redeem mean to buy back. When man sinned the process of death began. The death was not merely physical death rather the death was separation from God. With this meant that man no longer belonged to God but that God had to pay a price in order to restore man back to his pre-sin state.
I Corinthians 7:23:
“Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.”
Before redemption man is a servant to not only other men but also to sin. Those who are not redeemed are basically owned by sin because of their service to sin.
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
I Peter 1:18-19:
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
Reconcile – To reconcile a thing is to restore it to a former state. Formally God enjoyed an unhindered relationship with man. There was nothing that could cause a divide other than disobedience. From the time of the fall the Godhead sought to restore that relationship.
II Corinthians 5:18-19:
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby”
Salvation- Salvation is deliverance from the power of sin. It was sin that caused the divide between man and God and the eradication of the power of sin presents the ability for a restored relationship.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
“For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour”