Thursday, October 20, 2016

The embodied Christ working through the Christian

Image result for threading a needle
Philippians 2:1-5 "Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus."

Have you ever tried to thread a needle? Such an effort requires patience and good eyesight. Once the needle is threaded, clothes can be sewn or repaired. The eternal Son of God came as the needle of Deity, thrusting His way into time and history through the needle of the virgin's Mary's womb. His aim was to take unto His Person the slender thread of true, sinless humanity. Having achieved that work by the agency of the Holy Spirit, the Son became incarnated or embodied as the man, Jesus of Nazareth. He as the Divine needle would from then on include the slender thread of humanity. Jesus Christ, as the embodied Christ, is the only One who can repair and replace the dead spiritual hearts of sinners. Those sinners that respond through the Spirit's working in saving faith have their humanity joined to His and get to enjoy His Divine presence in their lives. 

The embodied Christ provides the grounds for the believer's sanctification Not only did the eternal Son become embodied to provide the grounds for salvation, but also for the ongoing work of the post-conversion Christian-life - i.e sanctification. Truly the eternality, embodying, exaltation and experience of Jesus Christ comprises the way in which any Christian or church can carry out what is urged in this text. Today we want to conclude what we began focusing upon yesterday, namely how the eternality and embodiment of the Son in true humanity (i.e the incarnation) has practical, real-world significance for readers. 

The embodied Christ and the Christian
When the Son would come to be embodied as Jesus of Nazareth, He would remain truly God, while voluntarily choosing not to exercise the privileges that come with being God. The Baptist Faith and Message notes: 

"In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin."

In His human life as Jesus of Nazareth, the Son chose to experience and express His existence through the "demands and necessities" of frail humanity in preference to the full and complete benefits that are and always will be His by virtue of being truly God. 
By being truly God and truly man, Jesus Christ connects all redeemed people in saving faith to His humanity and Deity (see 2 Peter 1:4; Hebrews 2:12-17).

When the Son came to be embodied as Jesus of Nazareth, the humanity He assumed unto His Person would ever remain His even following His resurrection and ascension. This is important, since this means that as a Christian, one has in heaven the Perfect Mediator Who represents human interests to the Father and Who also reveals Divine life to those human persons who are His in faith. Philippians 2:7-10 summarizes the journey of descent and ascent of the Son from eternity, into His incarnation, to the cross, from the empty tomb and back up to the right hand of power at the Father's throne:

Philippians 2:7 Humiliation/incarnation, beginning with virgin birth

Philippians 2:8 Earthly life and crucifixion

Philippians 2:9 Exaltation due to resurrection and ascension

Philippians 2:10-11 Ascension/enthronement/2nd coming as God and man.

Application: The eternal, embodied Christ desires to embody in you His eternal power and purposes
So why is Paul laboring to connect the moral and spiritual life of the Christian to that of the incarnation of the Son of God - Jesus Christ? Remarkably, the eternal embodied Christ, ever remaining God and man, aims to embody His eternal power by the Person and power of the Holy Spirit. Paul notes on the heels of this incredible revelation of Christ's incarnation in Philippians 2:12-13 "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." 

As the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 notes: 

"He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man."

As the eternal, embodied Christ is now the exalted Christ, He desires for His people to enjoy their experience of Him that begins at saving faith. Jesus Christ occupies three offices at this time: prophet, priest and king. As prophet, He reveals God to us by His Word, giving us the responsibility to make known His Person and work from His word. As High priest, He has made Christians His kingdom of priests to represent Him in this world and pray on behalf of others (see 1 Peter 2:9-12). As King He exercises Sovereign rule over His church and spiritually has inaugurated His reign over our world, indicating that the Christian is redeemed royalty, seated with him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6-9). Today we will close out with a verse that clearly describes how Jesus Christ as embodied Deity desires to embody His power and purposes in and though us. Note 1 John 4:17 "By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world."

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