Yesterday was the 2nd sermon in our Credo series. (You can find sermon audio here.) We unpacked what it meant to confess that Jesus Christ is God’s only son, our Lord. Our 2nd Article of Faith in the Church of the Nazarene pertains to Jesus Christ. Here is how it reads:
II. Jesus Christ

2. We believe in Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead; that He was eternally one with the Father; that He became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and was born of the Virgin Mary, so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say the Godhead and manhood, are thus united in one Person very God and very man, the God-man.

We believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and that He truly arose from the dead and took again His body, together with all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature, wherewith He ascended into heaven and is there engaged in intercession for us.

(Matthew 1:20-25; 16:15-16; Luke 1:26-35; John 1:1-18; Acts 2:22-36; Romans 8:3, 32-34; Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:12-22; 1 Timothy 6:14-16; Hebrews 1:1-5; 7:22-28; 9:24-28; 1 John 1:1-3; 4:2-3, 15)

Lets look at the actual the name of Jesus a little closer: 

Jesus: 

  • As stated in the poll that I quoted, the historical fact that a man named Jesus lived. There is overwhelming historical data that goes beyond the Bible to back that up.
  • Jesus is Greek for the Hebrew “Joshua.” Joshua in the Hebrew meant, “to save, salvation, healing and wholeness.”
  • Just as Joshua led the people of Israel, so Jesus of Nazareth is our “savior” in whom we are restored to abundant life with God.

Christ: 

  • Christ is the greek word for “Messiah” and Messiah carried with the meaning, “anointed one.” You’ll see the phrase, “anointed one” in the Old Testament to describe the Kings and/or the prophets. The be “anointed” was to be set apart for God’s purposes and plans.
  • In Christ, we have the ultimate anointed one. The prophet Isaiah writes about the anointed one who would bring good news to the oppressed…liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.
  • In Mark 8:29 the disciples admitted that Jesus was the Messiah, but they were given warning to not tell anyone because Jesus knew that at the time they did not fully understand what kind of “Messiah” Jesus came to be.

His Only Son:

  • This confession was extremely important for the Greco-Roman world in which early Christianity was growing and blossoming. It was important because it was believed that the roman and greek gods also had children, but to confess that Jesus was the only son of the one true God brought many objections from greeks and romans.
  • Remember this does not mean that we worship many Gods…in the Father – Son and Holy Spirit there is only One God. The Jews struggled with early Christianity because of placing Jesus Christ at level of divinity. But this was not polytheistic because the Father and Son are one. (Luke 10:22)

Here are a few Scriptures for us to consider in formulating our theology about who Jesus Christ is.

John 1:1-18 in its entirety should really be considered, but for the sake of brevity lets look at verses 1-2, 14 and 18.

John 1:1-2: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
14: And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
18: No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

 

Colossians 1:13: He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:15-23: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. 21 And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him— 23 provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

A few things to consider…

  • Jesus Christ was at the beginning. Any theology that teaches that Jesus Christ was not always eternally one with the Father is a theology that is contrary to 2,000 years of Christian history and tradition. More importantly, it is a theology that is contrary to scripture.
  • Jesus was at the beginning and is the beginning. New life begins with Jesus Christ.
  • To confess Jesus Lord of our lives is to understand that He desires to be first place in everything…every aspect of our lives.
  • The call to holiness is the call of God. Holiness is the very essence of God and we are called to pursue this likeness of God in our lives.

Theological Implications…”Eternal Security:”

Colossians 1:23 causes us to ask ourselves, “what is the essence of this Salvation that is offered through Jesus Christ, is this something we can lose?” To fully understand the debate on “eternal security” I believe we have to go back to last week’s sermon and remind ourselves of the very nature of the Triune God. The Trinity reminds us that we serve a relational God, as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are in relationship and mutually connected with each other. This is the essence of the one true God that we serve.

The Christian faith is more than just making a one time decison for God or a one time salvation experience. While God is the eternal judge who will ultimately name right and wrong, we should not view God as this far away judge who is just waiting for us to “mess up.” The best description of our God is when we understand that God calls us into a unique covenental relationship so that we can participate in God’s work and moving. Like any relationship, this is a two way street in which we have to choose to walk with God or not. God makes the first move in inviting us into relationship, but what happens next is up to us. God will never move, nor will He ever leave us or forsake us. However if we have the choice to walk into this relationship with God we then have the choice to walk out of relationship with God. Like the prodigal son we can go our own way, but I hope we never forget the God we can walk away from is the same God who will be right where we left Him ready to welcome us back with opens arms of grace and mercy.

In our relationship with Jesus Christ, Paul is reminding us to stay steadfast and grounded. He is appealing to us to not walk away from the hope that is ours in Christ.

Book for further Study:

Harn, Roger E. Van. Exploring and Proclaiming the Apostles’ Creed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004.