- We have had a fantastic year so far as we have seen many come to know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
- Later this month we will be at the evangelist’s retreat and Texas Evangelism Conference and then to Mission, Texas for an city-wide Revelation Bible Conference. Then to Second Baptist in Vernon, Texas, Little Rock, AR, St. Elmo, IL, and Higgins, Texas. Home for a few days and back on the road.
- I hope to have our new Daniel Bible Conference completed in the next few weeks. It will take me much longer to complete my commentary on the New Testament, however.
- Note this months Bible Study below.
HOW CAN JESUS BE GOD AND AT THE SAME TIME BE MAN?
One place in the Bible Jesus says He is equal with the Father and another place He says the Father is greater. Which statement is right?
To reconcile these two statements by Jesus, we would have to widen our study on the deity of Jesus to His humanity.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
This verse gives us one of the clearest and most dynamic statements of Jesus being completely God and at the same time being completely man that can be found in the Bible. In context the Apostle Paul is encouraging Christians to think like Christ was thinking when He humbled Himself and became man. Christ did nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind. The Apostle Paul is exhorting Christians to be like-minded, to love one another, to be humble and lowly and esteem others better than themselves.
Jesus Christ was in the “form” of God before His body was born. He has always been the Son of God. “Son” in the case of Jesus Christ does not mean a male offspring of a human being such as you and me. It means a person deriving from a formative agent, like a nation, a school, or a race. In the case of Jesus Christ He was derived from God the Father. When His body was born and He took on Himself the “form” of man He became the Son of man. When the Bible talks about Him being the Son of God He is talking about Jesus being God and His heavenly job description. When the Bible talks about Him being the Son of man He is talking about Jesus being man and His earthly job description. He became the God-Man.
Among the many examples two stands out in my mind. Both are in the Book of Daniel. In Daniel 3:25 when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were bound and were cast into the fiery furnace and Nebuchadnezzar went to check on them, he saw four people. One was in the form of the SON OF GOD. I must say again, Jesus Christ had a physical form before He was born.
The second example is found in Daniel 7:13, where Jesus is coming again to set up His earthly kingdom. Jesus referred to this passage when He was under oath at His trial before the Sanhedrin. “Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? Jesus said, I am. And you will see THE SON OF MAN sitting at the right hand of the POWER, and coming with the clouds of heaven,” Mark 14:61-62.
According to Philippians 2: 6-8, Jesus was self-existent in the form of God before He made Himself of no reputation and came to earth in the likeness of men. When Jesus made Himself of no reputation He empted Himself, not of His deity, but of the prerogatives of His deity. He lived on the earth with certain limitations, but they were self-limitations. There has never been a time when He was not God. Even while being rocked to sleep in His mother’s arms He was 100 % God. He had momentarily given up His prerogatives as deity. Jesus Christ has always been God and He will continue to be God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
After Jesus had completed His mission here on earth and was getting ready to ascend to the Father, He prayed, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You BEFORE THE WORLD WAS.” (John 17:4-5) He did not pray to have His deity restored. He prayed to have His glory restored LIKE IT WAS BEFORE CREATION.
When Jesus said He was equal with the Father, He was taking as the Son Of God. When He said that the Father was greater than Him, He was talking as the Son of Man. Remember, when He was on earth as the Son of Man, He emptied Himself of the prerogatives of His deity, not His deity. He came as a bond-servant in the likeness of men. On His human side He not only was lower than the Father, He was lower than the angels, Hebrews 2:7. What a trip! He went from the grandeur and glory of heaven to being shamefully despised of men and then back again to the grandeur and glory of heaven.
If somehow as a man, I could be transformed into a stinkbug, the humiliation and distinction would not be as great as God becoming man. Not just a man, but a man who has been shamed, despised, ridiculed, blasphemed and called a liar more than any man who has ever lived. He humbled Himself to be born in a filthy barn and grow up on the wrong side of the tracks in a miserable, scorned, and looked down on town named Nazareth. He worked with His hands as an unknown carpenter. He laid His prerogatives aside, His rights, His privileges and His glory as God. He ended up wearing a bloody crown not a halo. He became sin for us and died a sinner’s death being separated from the Father for three hours. What an awful way to die. No wonder His love for us surpasses all human understanding. What love! What a Savior! It is a privilege and honor to call Him my Lord and my God.
When Jesus was here on earth one of His job descriptions was to glorify the Father. Now things have changed. The coin has been flipped. The Bible says, “Therefore God also highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, (The self-existence One), to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11) There is coming a day when all in heaven, in hell and on earth, saved and lost alike will confess that Jesus is God.
All of us have had humbling experiences. I know I have had many, and I have learned much from them. However, my experience has been, with much displeasure and disgust with myself, I find it very hard, sometimes almost impossible, to sincerely humble myself. Pray for me. I don’t want to be like the person who takes pride in the fact he’s humble. I heard a friend say, the day you find out you have humility, will be the day you lose it. I’m not sure I understand humility like I should, but I feel like it has more to do with my attitude than anything else. I’ve always liked John Wesley. I like him even more after reading about his attitude when crossing a creek over which was a very small bridge, just wide enough for one person to cross at a time. As he was walking across the bridge he met a preacher “friend” in the middle of the bridge who disagreed with him very much over some issues, and had made a big deal out of it. His preacher “friend” swelled up like a frog and said, “I never give way to a fool and kept coming”. John Wesley looked at him for a moment, smiled, and began to back up, saying, “I always do.”
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one. The Father is the Power of God, Mark 14:62, Ps. 62:11. The Son is the Person of God, Hebrews 1:3. The Holy Spirit is the Presences of God, John 3:8. I don’t understand this, but I believe it.
Jesus Christ has always existed in the “form” of God, Philippians 2:6. Only Jesus could subsist in the “form” of God. Jesus Christ is not only in the “form” of God, He is “the image of the invisible God.” (Col. 1:15) Jesus Christ is not only in the “form” of God and in the “image” of God, He is the “brightness of his glory and the express image of his person.” (Hebrews 1:3) Or more exactly, “effulgence (outshining) of His glory and exact Expression of His substance.” By combining these concepts it is plain to me that the whole nature of God is in Christ.
Whether I understand this or not, whether I can explain this or not, makes no difference. God is who He is and what He is and my lack of understanding and inability to interpret and explain it does not change the facts of the matter. I need to be obedient to the point of death. I understand if I’m to follow Him, I too need to become His bond-servant. I’m to do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind. I’m to be like-minded as God when He humbled Himself and became man. I’m to love others as He loved them, and be humble and lowly in spirit and esteem others better than myself. Impossible? Yes, as long as we are in Adams image with a lack of spiritual life in us. Only by the New Birth will we even have a desire to be like-minded and only by the power and grace of God can we conform to His likeness. I’m not talking about being inhibited by the law. I’m talking about being inhabited by the law giver. It’s not about a plan. It’s about a person. I must confess much of my life and ministry has been spent with priority on the wrong issues. I was more concerned about understanding the Bible than exalting my God and being faithful to Him. Please pray for me. I welcome all the help I can get to better understand and be more conformed to his image.