Thursday, December 08, 2011

December 8, 2011 … Christ’s Identification With Sinners

Passage of the Day: Philippians 2: 7c [ NIV - see highlight passage in bold/underlined] … 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!

Journal for Today: About today’s highlight phrase in Phil. 2: 7c, in his Strength for Today devotional on this date (BTW, my fleshly birthday), John MacArthur quotes from a book entitled Systematic Theology by Charles Hodge, who wrote, “The Scriptures teach that Christ had a … true body and a rational soul … a material body which in everything essential was like the bodies of ordinary men. ... He thought, reasoned and felt [as a man].” MacArthur totally agrees with Hodge, as do I. However, as MacArthur points out, Jesus was more than God in a body. He was The God-Man, born as a babe, Who developed into a man, and was a man Who experienced the effects of man’s fall into sin. No, He didn’t sin; but he experienced, as a human, the temptations and the effects of sin upon mankind. He suffered sorrow, pain, thirst, hunger, and yes, … even death, all of which resulted because of the sin of man in the garden.

And if you read and meditate on Hebrews 2: 14 – 17 (quoted below), you will see why He had to do all of this.

Hebrews 2: 14 -1714 Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. 17 For this reason He had to be made like His brothers in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people.

No, Jesus, The Christ, didn’t sin; but He experienced, even with more intensity than man, the pain and anguish of temptation of sin out in the wilderness, confronting Satan (see Matt. 4 and/or Luke 4). And He experienced all of humanity as He walked the earth in his ministry years as well as in the Garden of Gethsemane, and, of course, on the cross. And as the passage from Hebrews above (and in Heb. 4: 17), we see that Jesus, the God-Man, becoming fully human allowed for Christ to become MY High-Priest and MY Savior. Yours too, … IF … you have received and declared His saving grace by faith [see Rom. 10: 9 – 13]. Oh, right now, how I pray you have done that!

Without being fully man, but sinless, Christ could not have shed His perfect blood as the Lamb of God, for my (our) sin. So, we must remember and celebrate (at least in our Eucharist worship) Christ’s sacrifice of His spotless body and perfect blood so that He could be our Redeemer and so that we can have everlasting life in our faith in that very human, but God-ordained, sacrifice on my (our) behalf. And now we have a Savior, who has been re-coronated and re-glorified into the Godhead, … One Who intercedes for us as born-again believers … and One Who has sent His Spirit to minister to our every need.

Is that not good stuff! But there’s more! Stay tuned!

My Prayer Today: On my birthday [who's counting!], Lord, I declare, “HALLELUJAH!!” Oh, how you know the depths of my being as well as my gratitude for making my re-birthday possible. Amen

No comments: