On Friday I spoke of the death and burial of Christ. I went to a Good Friday service with my girlfriend that evening, and it was an excellent portrayal of the depth of Jesus’ agony on the cross as he took the sins of all humanity upon himself, all the while experiencing the wrath of God in punishment for sin. That day was the darkest in all of history, because God himself gave up his life in sacrifice for sinful man. God incarnate hung naked on a cross, beaten, bloody and bruised. He gasped for breath, fighting just to exhale. Professional executioners gathered around to mock him, gamble for his clothes and inflict as much pain as possible upon him, ultimately stabbing him with a spear and leaving him to die. He was taken down from the cross, that instrument of torture, and was laid in a tomb, never to walk the earth again — so thought his executioners. The good news is that they were wrong.
What is good about Good Friday? After all, it is the day we mark the death of Jesus Christ, which took place as the result of the outpouring of God’s wrath against mankind, and this upon a sinless man!
Consider the weight upon Jesus’ shoulders, so much that he would cry out “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death!“, while at the Garden of Gethsemane, which refers to an oil press, where a heavy stone would crush olives, squeezing every drop out of them.
Q. What is the meaning and significance of our confession of the “homoousia” and “perichoresis” of Father Son and Spirit? How does this speak to the unity or simplicity of God?
A. By this we confess that each member of the Trinity, while distinct in subsistence (or self-awareness), is of the same substance (meaning that they are each fully, truly and eternally God) and that each mutually indwells the others so as to eternally coexist as one, unified God (Jn. 10:38, Rom. 8:9-11). By this we affirm that God is one God (Deut. 6:4), and that he is indeed three persons who mutually glorify one another and participate in all of his works (albeit with different emphases and focuses), thereby drawing believers to participate in the life of the Trinity. (Originally published in a Catechism I turned in to Dr. Clark at the Moody Bible Institute for Systematic Theology I)
The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks “Are there more Gods than one?”, then answers emphatically “There is but one only, the living and true God.”. Since my school just finished a week-long conference on this very theme, today’s post will revolve around the topic and will discuss the reasons for believing in the singularity of the Christian God. I hope to leave you with a clear understanding of the doctrine of monotheism in Christianity.
What on earth is the atonement? Christians tend to talk about it in hushed tones, as if it is a divine mystery (spoiler: it is), while somehow failing to ever really talk about what they are referring to or what it actually is. Merriam Webster defines the word simply as “reparation for an offense or injury”, while giving satisfaction as a synonym. While this is certainly true, when we refer to the atonement as Christians, we refer to so much more. We speak of the atonement, referring to a particular historical event which has changed all of history. In doing this however, we incorporate the theological and historical significance of atonement as a cleansing from sins and the way to become right with God. Let me explain what I mean by this.
Q. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin. (Westminster Shorter Catechism, question 22).
These words are nearly 400 years old, but ring as true today as when they were first set to paper. They are a succinct reminder of the glorious and redemptive truth of the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. When man sinned in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6), God set in motion a grand plan for redemption. From Paul’s words in Romans 5:12, we then discover that just as sin entered the world through the actions of one man, Adam, so did God’s grace overflow to the world through another man, Christ Jesus.
Have you ever heard Jesus Christ referred to as “The Word”? Usually people who use this terminology are referring to John 1:1, which says:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NASB).
This verse makes it abundantly clear that Jesus Christ is the Word, and that he is God. What this means is not so clear, because we also refer to the Bible as the Word (of God), as in Hebrews 4:12. Jesus is not the Bible, nor is the Bible Jesus, so where is the disconnect?