Tag Archives: worship

…….on the ‘Duality’ of the Nature of Jesus Christ…. and the’ Triune’ Nature of Godhead!

‘In the Blessed Trinity one Divine Nature subsists in three divine Hypostases (or Persons), who possess a real and identical nature in common; whereas in Christ two distinct and complete natures, one divine, the other human, subsist in one Hypostasis, i. e., the Divine Person of the Logos.

Or, to put it somewhat differently, the Blessed Trinity forms a real Trinity of Persons in an absolute Unity of Nature, whereas in Christ there is a duality of Natures in an absolute Unity of Person.

This twofold element in the constitution of the Godman is clearly stated in the ‘Athanasian Creed’

 

“For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man ; God, of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the substance of His mother, born in the world ; perfect God, and perfect Man : of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting; equal to the Father, as touching His Godhead: and inferior to the Father, as touching His Manhood. Who although He be God and Man: yet He is not two, but one Christ; one; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh: but by taking of the Manhood into God; one altogether; not by confusion of substance : but by unity of Person.”

‘CHRISTOLOGY’   A DOGMATIC TREATISE ON THE INCARNATION’

by THE REVEREND JOSEPH POHLE, PH.D., D.D.1916

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……the Mystery of God: of both the Father and the Son…..the best is yet to come!

We in Western Christianity are inclined to presume that the Christian Religion and the Church, over the last 2000 years have God and Jesus Christ, all figured out!

That we already understand all the implications and relevance of His Incarnation into humanity as the Son of God, His vicarious Death on the Cross, His Resurrection, Ascension and Glorification into the Divine Godhead as the Son of Man.

Has this mindset not perhaps caused Christianity to stagnate and the Gospel to lose its relevance? 

Yet, if the ridiculous presumption that mankind has nothing more to learn, and has already obtained complete knowledge and understanding were to be applied to any other field of study or area of life outside of Religion, it would be seen as utter foolishness, perhaps the epitome of human pride!

If the staggering,  leaping and literally ‘mind blowing’  recent advances made in technology, communication , medicine and science is anything to go by, man’s capacity for intelligent perception and his intellectual ability to  interpret God’s created universe is far from exhausted.

If this ongoing and progressive revelation applies to man’s understanding of God’s creation, isn’t it then the height of audacity to presume that man’s religious mind has already figured out the Creator Himself?

What about the most dramatic and significant events in human history? Do we presume to fully appreciate and understand their spiritual and practical implications?

Do we really fully grasp and appreciate the fact that God humiliated Himself and became a mere man in order to redeem man?

What does it mean that the Light of the World has already come into the earth, and that He is in fact the Light that enlightens every man, not just some?

What are the implications of the fact that God was personally present in Jesus Christ on the Cross at Calvary, reconciling the entire Cosmos to Him?

What is the significance for the entire human race, that one of our own; the man Jesus of Nazareth, bodily ascended into Heaven, and was absorbed and glorified within the Godhead. And that forever and eternity, within God, there now exists, in the ‘power of an indestructible life’ a living human being, as the only mediator between God and all of mankind!

I have become persuaded that despite the efforts of some of the greatest minds, the huge scholastic efforts of many over the centuries, and despite the vast body of knowledge available within Christianity, we have not yet fathomed the depth of the Mystery of God: both of the Father and of the Son!

Before Jesus came, no human had ever seen God. Humanity knew about the existence of God, but could and did not know or even slightly comprehend the nature of God. Our 2000 year history and what we know about God thus far, is but a mere blip on the radar screen of an Eternal God.

Perhaps, the Church, those in Christian Religion and the World at large, have up to now mostly had limited knowledge ‘about’ God and ‘about’ Christ. We have mostly perceived and venerated the Living God as the God of the Christians only, and Jesus Christ as merely the Saviour and Icon of the Christian Church.

We have yet to fully grasp the grand vision of Jesus Christ as the Cosmic and Universal Lord and Saviour of all mankind! 

Jesus Christ was God’s Self-disclosure to all humanity!

I say we have not yet scratched the surface of the knowledge and wisdom of God as revealed in Jesus Christ!

I believe the best is yet to come!


……you want the ‘good news’ or the ‘bad news’ first?

The ‘bad news’ is that even if you were to live a million years, you will never ‘change’ or ‘improve’ yourself enough in order to become ‘acceptable’ to a Holy God!

The ‘good news’ is, that Jesus, the ‘Beloved’ has already included you in His unique and perfect relationship of ‘love and acceptance’ with God the Father!


…..a perfect recipe for religious frustration!

Many mistakenly assume the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be a call to ‘straighten out your life’ and to become ‘a better you’ with God’s help, and ‘then’ you will automatically become more ‘happy’ with yourself!

On the contrary, this erroneous understanding of the Gospel only leads to deepened frustration, increased unhappiness and disillusionment with yourself.. ..and with ‘that’ Gospel!


…..does God’s Grace require my lousy 1%?

There is something inherent in the human heart, that, although we can clearly see from Scripture that ‘salvation’ cannot be ‘earned’ nor ‘deserved’.

And that Jesus died and rose for the sins all of humanity, that make us to resist, and insist on some kind of human contribution to this Divine act of grace, even if its a lousy 1% contribution!

Strange isn’t it!


…..is our current understanding about Jesus the Christ slightly ‘off-centre’?

Most popular ‘theologizing’ about the mediation  between God and man, by Jesus the  Christ, and its implications for humanity,  seem to be bracketed between, and explained in reference to the Incarnation of the Son of God into humanity, and His subsequent Resurrection from the dead,and usually has its centre of gravity in His Crucifixion! 

I suspect, that it is indeed within the Glorification of the Son of Man, the very fact that one of us, the ‘man’ Jesus Christ was received, absorbed and enthroned within the Holy Trinity, as indeed ‘very’ God Himself, and as yet a human person, that the true centre of gravity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ should be sought …and found.

In so doing, will we not then tilt our slightly off -centre  interpretation of Who Jesus Christ really is, and what the Trinity has accomplished through His mediation, onto its true axes?

 


…are them darn ‘Grace Preachers’ only making the ‘Judgement of God’ cheap?!

The chief criticism by opponents of the ‘grace message’ is that “grace’ makes to little of man’s ‘sinfulness’, and doesn’t stress enough the ‘judgement’ of God, but only sees His ‘loving kindness’.

The very opposite is actually true!

Grace ‘judged’, that man’s ‘sinfulness’ was so totally unacceptable and beyond self-redemption, that a merciful act of ‘Divine intervention’ alone, could ever ‘save’ man from himself!

Understand this…and you will begin to grasp both the judgement and the grace of God!


Hell, Oh Hell….wherfore art thou?

Make no mistake, the so called concept of ‘hell’ is indeed a complex issue to decipher.

It has become over centuries of religious tradition and human speculation very much like  a neglected plot of land that has, over time, become an overgrown jungle of confusion.

The weeds of superstition, the thistles of ignorance and the thorns of religious mythology have gone to seed, and completely taken over, obscuring the truth!

Also totally distorting the original meaning of the words and concept that they contained, and  were conveyed, and the context in which they were used, and what they meant in the ear of the hearers.

The historical fact is that the four original words, Gehenna, Tartarus, Sheol, and Hades were summarily, incorrectly, and arbitrarily translated into the medieval English word ‘hell’ by the early Catholic translators of the Bible.

To blindly assume that the original use of those words as applied in their context imply the prevailing Christian doctrinal construct, understanding and meaning attached to ‘hell’, requires an enormous amount of intellectual dishonesty from us in the Church world today.


……do you know what Jesus is doing?

what would Jesus do‘WWJD’….’What would Jesus do” was a phrase that reached fad proportions in the 1990’s!

Millions of Christians were swept along with this noble idea, and joined the bandwagon!

“What would Jesus do” armbands and jewellery soon became the ‘in thing’ in contemporary Christianity! The distinguishing symbol of the ‘believer’ who was really ‘serious’ about ‘living for the Lord”!

Christian celebrities, sportsmen, ordinary lay believers and everyone from the ‘Who’s Who’ of the Church world, proudly displayed their open commitment, to not only be mere followers of Christ, but indeed even aspiring to, and at the same time inspiring others to also become faithfull  ‘imitators’ of Jesus.

Yet, like all passing fads, the concept had a certain lifespan and then fizzled out and passed into obscurity!

what would Jesus do

I refused to get myself one!

Although I understood perfectly the lofty ideal behind ‘What would Jesus do’, yet for me personally it provoked an intuitive inward resistance.

For me, it had totally the wrong implications!

Why?

Because it invariably suggests that Jesus has stopped doing anything, and that it is basically up to you and I to now do something ‘for’ or ‘instead’ of Jesus.

It further implies that there exists a vast divide between what is ‘secular’ and what is ‘holy’ in everyday life!

It also suggests that some things I do as a Christian, one having ‘eternal life’, would be considered ‘spiritual’, and other actions the mere ‘ordinary’ activities of my life, as though I was simultaneously living two antithetical and mutually counter productive lives, instead of just one live!

And that life was indeed spiritual! Furthermore WWJD empasises the notion of distance, perpetuating the illusion of seperation between Christ and His ‘Body’!

That Chist has not already given us Himself , in order to live out as a reality! However, my Bible tells me that I, Andre had in fact died with Christ at Golgotha, and rose again from the grave in Him, and that therefore, my very life is now ‘hidden with Christ, in God!’

Thus I now no longer live, but, it is indeed Christ Who now lives in me, and in a sense… as me!

This does not mean that I am Christ, no, God forbid!

I am indeed Andre, a mere mortal human being, distinguished from Christ, yet in perfect union and communion with Him in the Spirit! Christ having become my very life, yes indeed, at an essential core level, the only life that I now  have!

Of One Spirit with Him, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh! And indeed, this incredible spiritual reality is in no way contingent upon my own merit, worthiness or qualification!

It is  borne exclusively and undeservedly in His divine  initiative and grounded purely upon His grace alone.

This is rather deep, spiritual and sounds quite mystical, I admit, yet New Testament Scripture compels me to believe it and confidently state it…. exactly  as it is written!

For me, a much more compelling and potent question, in order to expose the undergirding reality, as well as to express the over- arching motive of our lives as followers of Christ, would be to enquire of ourselves ;

Not …“What ‘would’ Jesus do?”…..but rather ……..“What ‘is’ Jesus doing?”


Calling all Preachers!…..Stop!…Think!

Dear Pastor, as you sit down today, Saturday, and decide what message to preach tomorrow, and especially as you prepare your heart in the moments before you deliver your sermon on Sunday, remember to remind, renew and establish your heart totally on Christ’s indwelling presence within you, and on preaching a pure Christ-centred message!

Remind yourself that that the point of departure of God’s entire relationship with the world is His love and His act of Reconciliation, not Judgement or so called ‘hell’! 

Remember that the decision of the Trinity for the Adoption and Inclusion of Mankind in Christ,through Grace alone preceded the Creation and the subsequent fall of Adam and mankind into sin.Let your knowledge of Christology and not your Anthropology dictate both the framework and content and and set the tone of your message.

Don’t neglect the fact that the same Christ, is both the Creator and Redeemer of every man, woman and child, as proclaimed by the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1, where he speaks of the cosmic Christ who created and reconciled all things (Col. 1:16, 20).

This, Paul tells us, is the gospel “that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven” (Col. 1:23). He claims that this is the Gospel that declares that every person is included in the demise into sin together with the first Adam, but more importantly, also in the ‘Death unto sin’ and ‘Resurrection unto Righteousness’, of the Last Adam, Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:18). 

Dispel and rid their minds of that old religious lie that they are unworthy and  separate from God, and that they are responsible for creating a relationship with God by what they themselves manage to do successfully, or believe, or by their good works or piety! This erroneous belief will ultimately only serve to drive them deeper into the dark and silent world of spiritual discouragement and religious dispair and  set them up to backslide into unbelief sometime in the future!

Don’t dare to glibly mention typical religious concepts such as ‘original sin’ or the ‘total depravity of man’ unless you carefully and convincingly place them within the greater and eternal framework of man’s ‘original righteousness’ and ‘total redemption’ through Jesus Christ! You don’t want to be strengthening the hand of the enemy!

Don’t throw out traditional ’emotionally loaded’ religious words like ‘hell’, unless you actually know what you are talking about! Most likely, if you are honest, you will admit that your personal  knowledge about so called ‘hell’ is second hand, passed down to you through tradition. Before you do, do the homework! Face your ‘blind spots’ and don’t go beyond the certainty of the ‘revelation knowledge’ that the Holy Spirit produces inside of you…..you were called to proclaim the Gospel, and not the traditions of men!

Rather inform them of the Good News, the truth that entire humanity already belongs to Jesus Christ by virtue of creation and redemption. Help them understand that they have already been gratuitously included in the only perfect relationship that exists in the entire universe, the holy union and communion between the Father and the Son!

Help them to see that  simply acknowledging, and  believing this already existing fact, and whole heartedly receiving and embracing the Father’s free gift of grace in the Son, their complete forgiveness of sin and unconditional acceptance by God, has been freely given  to each of them  as the mere ‘starting point’ , and not their final destination.