Friday, September 19, 2008

The Dual Nature of Christ
Part One

The historical fact of a man who’s name was Jesus; who with his small band of followers traveled the length and breadth of Israel ministering to people and preaching peace and faith and brotherly love. Even Josephus’ writings as well as other notable writers of the day declare his human existence.

We will examine the human nature of Jesus in this first part of our essay. Even those outside the faith agree to the historicity of the man from Galilee. The New Testament speaks specifically to the fact of Jesus’ human nature, yet there are those who claim to be Christians who deny Jesus’ humanity; that somehow his deity is minimized. The argument being that if he were 100% human he would carry the sin of Adam, and therefore he would not be the perfect sacrifice of God.

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” Romans 5:12

For example, in the Philadelphia Confession of Faith that is use by many Presbyterian churches, there is a statement that because of inherited sin, "we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite of all good, and wholly inclined to do evil . . . This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and, although Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself and the first motions thereof are truly and properly sin."
You may not think of it immediately, but there is a problem with the idea of sin being inherited. If sin is inherited, then how can the Bible claim that Jesus, being born in this world, was without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

To answer the question posed in the above quote is found in Gods word. Simply put Jesus had no earthly father as taught in the gospels, but Mary was fully human. Therefore Jesus had both the nature of man, which was flawed, through Mary and deity, which is perfect, through God.
“But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 1:20

Through out the New Testament we see on over view of the life and times of Jesus. That he started life on this earth as a baby. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.: John 1:14 . The mortality rate among babies in that day was very high, so we see early in his life God’s hedge of protection around him, but I’ll bet he still suffered an occasional colic attach, sniffles and most common maladies as we see even today. The Bible tells us very little about Jesus’ early ‘ toddler’ years. But again, I see him as being a normal child of that day. I’ve read where in one of the apocrypha writings where Jesus as a child molded birds from mud and brought them to life for entertainment. How ludicrous is that notion. Even as a child God would not allow his son to be so frivolous in the childish use of his special gifts.

We are introduced to Jesus as a young lad in Jerusalem seeming lost by Mary and Joseph, when he was found to be teaching in the synagogue with authority and knowledge beyond his years. Upon finding him Jesus exhibits a hint of the mission and message of human life on this earth when he responds to their query as to his whereabouts obviously worried as any human parent would be, “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? Luke 2:49

Jesus began his ministry as a young adult, about 30 years of age, “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,” Luke 3:23 So he had lived a life as a faithful and devoted disciple of Jewish traditions and laws. It could be said of him that he was a Biblical Scholar like no other, and why not, as he being the author should have first hand knowledge could speak and teach with true authority. His followers acknowledged this by calling him “ Rabbi” Teacher. We would use the modern vernacular of describing him of having obtained “LIFE EXPERIENCES” , which fall in line with what Paul had written to the Hebrews, “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.” Hebrews 4:15.

Jesus, because of his humanity, not in spite of his humanity, knew all too well the frailties of our flesh. He passed the test and resisted Satan and maintained that perfect sinless human nature, and now sits at the right hand of God where he is our mediator, “For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” 1 Timothy 2:5 Notice the word “MAN” not spirit, not savior, not the second person of the God head , though he is all of those, but the human man Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Gentiles and Messianism

The messianic movement has been active in the Jewish community ever since Jesus commanded his Jewish followers to go into the world and spread the gospel. So it is not

new, however it has seemingly gained in popularity in recent years on many levels. With

the advent of active Jewish Evangelism groups like , Jews for Jesus, who actively seek support thru mainstream Christian churches and through their efforts have raised awareness to the messianic movement.

The Jew who is contemplating accepting Jesus, they prefer the Hebrew name of Yeshua when talking about Jesus, as their promised messiah are faced with making a choice of giving up their heritage, traditions and ultimately their identity to become a “CHRISTIAN”. Family and friends are alienated and often times the family of the convert hold mock funerals as they, the convert, is now dead to them. What a traumatic experience for anyone to go through for their faith.

We can sympathize with the Jewish convert who chooses what appears to be a valid alternative to joining a mainstream Christian church , and that is to fellowship and worship with Jews of like mind at a Messianic Jewish Temple or Synagogue. There they can find the trappings; traditions of worship they are familiar with. The exception is that they now are, “COMPLETED or FULLFILLED” Jews in accepting Yeshua as their messiah and not Christians. I am reminded of Paul’ exhortation to the Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Rom. 1:16

I also find that there is an air of elitism within their ranks. Here in lies the great attraction, I believe, for the Gentiles who are seeking a higher plain in their worship. Dr. Stokes in his essay on Gentiles in the Messianic Movement, defines five types of Gentiles who are attracted to Messianism. The first group he describes as “Jew wanna-be’s”. They are convinced that God has called them to be Jewish, and often deny their Gentile roots. Another group has come to the revelation that the Torah is equally binding on Gentiles as well as Jews, say Dr. Stokes.

Yet I see another form of spiritual elitism. They mix Law and Grace, Works and Faith. All one need do is read Paul’s letter to the Galatians and the Romans, to see the error of many of their theological and doctrinal practices. I’ll close with what Paul wrote to the Romans: “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: Rom 2:28
But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God. Rom 2:29”.