Friday, September 2, 2011

Glory of the New Testament - Humiliation and Gospel

Yesterday we began to explore the Glory of the New Testament, noting ten major themes and then focusing upon the first one: Christ's incarnation.  Today we want to explore two more themes: Humiliation and The Gospel.

Philippians 2:8 states:  "Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."  From the moment Christ incarnated Himself as a man, the humiliation had begun.  Why was what Christ did humiliation?  Because He had chosen to lay aside the benefits that come with being fully God (while still remaining God, mind you) in order to take upon Himself full humanity.  Philippians 2:5-11, along with Hebrews 2, details this theme of humiliation.  We see humiliation lived out by Christ in the four Gospels. If we were to take the word: "HUMBLE", we could take the six letters of that word and unfold what scripture speaks of in terms of God the Son's Humiliation:

H inders usage of Deity, without ceasing to be God
U ndergoes a virgin birth
M ade lower than the angels
B ecomes obscure by looking like an ordinary man
L ives and ministers amidst increasing opposition
E nds up at the cross

Christ's humiliation stretches from the moment of His virgin birth right up to the time of His entry into the Garden of Gethsemane.  The humiliation goes then into the deepest level - His passion - where He would then willingly lay down His life on the cross.  He had to live a perfect life in active obedience to the Law of God in order to qualify as the sinner's Savior. 

Event and Experience
What is the Gospel?  John 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 detail both how one experiences salvation and the event of salvation.  It is in the Gospel theme that we see Christ's death, burial and resurrection.  The event of redemption must become an experience through God's Grace calling the sinner to become convinced of their failure to please God, and Christ alone being their remedy, so they in turn can trust in Him by faith alone.  Ephesians 2:8-9 states - "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."

Bad news then Good News
The Gospel begins with bad news and ends with good news.  The Law of God, the Ten Commandments, tells me I'm at war with God and dead in sin. (please compare Epehsians 2:1-4)  The Good News of the Gospel is that by grace, through faith, God convinces me, by His grace of my need for Him.  He then raises my dead human spirit to life so that I can freely choose Him as my Savior, Lord and Treasure. (Please compare John 1:12-13; James 1:18 and 1 Peter 1:3-4). 

It is this message which comprises the backbone of not only the New Testament - but also the entire Bible.