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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Walking in Light of the Deity of Christ

In our look at the triune nature of God last evening, we focused on the truth that the Son is fully God.  After looking at the voluminous biblical evidence for the deity of Jesus Christ, it is truly amazing that anyone would question it.
But as this Wednesday night series is focused on the practical ways that our knowledge of God should affect the way we live (“Walking in the Excellencies of God”), it is crucial to consider not only that it is true that Christ is fully God, but how this truth should inform our living. 
The practical relevance of the deity of Christ is found in that it is an essential component of the gospel.  If Christ were born of man, not of the Holy Spirit, He would have been “in Adam” (1 Cor 15:22).  That’s a problem because “in Adam all die.”  Christ would have been born in the original sin of Adam, unable to become our new federal head.  Additionally, were Christ not God, He could not have provided an infinite payment for our infinite sin debt.  Only God could satisfy the wrath of God.  No finite man could satisfy the wrath of God for his own sins, let alone the sins of the world.  His deity provided for a perfect, single sacrifice for sins that put an end to any further need for propitiation (Heb 10:11-18).
So how does that matter to everyday life?  There are a number of ways.  I’d like to share just a few.  First, how many of us tend to go back into our past to reclaim former sins – and then beat ourselves up with them?  Many believers struggle with the continued guilt and shame of sins covered and forgiven through the sacrifice of Christ.  We must recognize that this constitutes practical unbelief in the full deity of Christ.  In other words, when we live in the shadow of forgiven sin, we are living as if Jesus Christ was only a man.  We are living as if His sacrifice was insufficient to pay for our sins, as if there is still payment to be made, payment that can only be made by us. 
Second, how many of us view our obedience as a means of gaining or retaining the Father’s favor?  Though we confess with our mouths a biblical, by-grace-through-faith view of the gospel, with our minds and our lives we confess a works-based view of a right standing before God.  Some believers fear that their performance determines God’s disposition toward them.  If they are obedient, He loves them.  If they are disobedient, His wrath is rekindled.  This, too, betrays a degraded view of Christ’s deity.  If Christ made an infinite payment for sin, which He could only do as God, there should be no question that He fully paid our sin debt, providing for our adoption by the Father.  Now, God relates to us as a loving Father, not a wrathful Judge.  To live differently is to practically deny that Jesus is fully God.  If we believe that Jesus is fully God, we should not try to earn the Father's favor OR reclaim the guilt of forgiven sins.
Third, how many of us live as if we lack the resources to respond rightly to the situations facing us on a daily basis?  We have family issues, work problems, health trouble, and a whole host of other difficulties on top of the Biblical call to walk in a manner consistent with the gospel.  Many of us live in habitual defeat, regarding these pressures as insurmountable obstacles.  This, also, represents a denial of, or at least a failure to purposefully remember that Christ is God.  How so? 
If Christ is fully God, then He is all-powerful, all-wise, and perfectly loving toward us.  This is greatly significant because it is His Spirit who lives inside of us (John 14:17)!  The power of Christ exists inside of us and is at work in us to empower us to live for Him (Eph 1:18-23; 3:20-21; 2 Pet 1:3-4).  When Paul wrote that he was content with weaknesses so that the power of Christ might rest on him, he had in mind not the power of a mere man, but the power of Almighty God (2 Cor 12:9).   
When we believe that Christ is God and allow this to shape our thinking about ourselves and our circumstances, it can and should affect the way we live.  May the Lord help us to continue to press into the excellencies of God with a view toward how thinking rightly about Him will help us to live in ways that expose His glory.

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