All in Christianity know Christ is God incarnate, the Word made flesh. This is no surprise! What seems to be overlooked by many in the faith is who Christ was as a man. Was Hs God, in His fullness, walking among us as a man? Was He merely a man as you or I? Was He both God above and man below in some supernatural merger of deity and flesh? Who is Christ, the man? The truth may surprise you, hopefully not!
Before branding me a heretic, hear fully what I say. Do not jump to assumptions of what I mean, nor dismiss what is written prior to completion, for in doing so, you will miss what is said in it's entirety and we all know many falsehoods come form hearing only part of a conversation. Likewise, I do not ask you to be open to me to impress upon you what is said, rather I ask you to ask the One who lives within you, Christ Jesus, to open your eyes that we should see Him for who He claims to be. Neither should you rely on that which you have been taught, for even good teachers of the faith sometimes error in their ways. I do not exclude myself from this.
Prior to showing Scripture, I will tell you of who I believe Christ to be. Then I will show you why I believe it. Then you must come to your conclusion regarding Christ and me. If you wish to sincerely show me what you believe is error on my part in my understanding, you are welcome under two conditions: one your opinions must be supported with Scripture and secondly, it must be done in love. If either of these is missing, I will dismiss your comments outright. I am not interested in mere debate nor in hateful conversation being spread between us. I am interested in knowing all I can know about the One whom I serve.
So then, who do I believe Christ, the man, to be? I believe Christ is both God and man, yet not through a supernatural merger of deity and flesh. I believe God came to us to live with us and among us as a man, that is Christ, to show us how the relationship of man and God is to be. I believe that while God was on earth as Christ, He was God emptied of His Godness, that is His power, knowledge, ability and such, yet still fully God, for God does not stop being God, yet He operated under the limitations of a mere man, therefore in practical sense, He was a man as your or I! This choice was made by Him to limit Himself to our nature and our abilities to show us how to live and commune with the living God, our Creator. I also believe that Christ had a mission while on earth, given by God, as we all do. His mission was threefold: one, to be our Savior for we cannot save ourselves; two, to show us how to live in and live out our salvation! In doing the second, He also has shown us how to have a relationship with Him; how man can have relations with the very God of heaven. By limiting Himself to the confines of a man, He has shown us, mere man, how to live in the fullness of God while we are here on earth living out the mission He has given us to do; three, to indwell us by the Holy Spirit, once He left earth and returned to His heavenly home, that we would be able to carryout the mission given us by God. For it is not through the work of man that anything of God is done, rather it is through God with Him in us that does the work. We are as a glove on the counter, unless until Christ fills us. Even then, it is not us that moves, rather the hand of God inside the glove that does the moving. If the glove is without God's hand, it will not move! God does the work, not us! It is when we take the credit, that pride swells up inside us. We are merely to be available to God and we must let God do what only He can do, that is to influence us to do His will and influence those around us unto both salvation and to do His will in them as they saw Him do in us. It is all God's mighty hand at work to do His will on earth according to His great pleasure! It's all about God!
This definition, no doubt, arises questions within you. How can a mere man do the things Christ did? How can Christ not have His Godness with Him? How can He operate as merely a man and not God too? How can Christ do, or for that manner, know, what His mission in life was, if He did not have the knowledge of His Godness? How did Christ, the man, communicate with the God of the universe? How do we fit in, that is, what is our part in all of this? The questions do not stop here. This is but a spring broad to even more questions. Questions are good! It is when we question things, that we research them and thus, obtain the answers, thus growing in our knowledge, which increases our understanding and strengthen our faith. For the more we know, by learning, the more me can put into practice and the more we do the will of God, the more we grow in our faith as Christians. If someone merely feeds you knowledge, you will not, by nature, have as much confidence in it as you would if you learned it yourself and applied it. It is similar to when you receive a gift or buy something with money you had to work for. The gift is great, but in most cases you will not treasure it as you would if you had to work 40 hours to buy it.
This is true also of salvation! While God's salvation is a gift, and something we cannot work to obtain, it is greater valued if we spend time studying and applying our salvation, rather than merely knowing about it. To apply our salvation, we must know and understand more than the fact, I'm a sinner and God saved me. While we can share this with others and should rightly do, if we do not grow in our salvation, we will be merely babies in the faith even after 20 or 40 years of being a Christian. Can you imagine what the world would be like, if we stopped learning knowledge shortly after birth? We would surely, physically, grow and our desires would grow as well; we would, out of natural longing, cling to others and pro-create, but what would we be creating? Children that would never be able to grow into maturity because we would not have the maturity to teach them. We would in effect produce only more babies; yes, they too would grow in physical age, but not in understanding! They would then be doomed to repeat the process! Unless someone came to grow us up into mature adults in both knowledge and understanding, all of humanity would be doomed to the state of a new born! This is, I fear, the state of the modern church, for even our leaders were not taught as they should have been. Yes, they know the elementary doctrines of the faith they were taught in seminary, but they don't know the fullness of Christ alive within us today! They know He saved us and they preach salvation, but the Christian life merely starts at salvation. It is our birthing point, spiritually speaking! Where is the maturity of the faith being taught? Jesus Christ is our Savior, yes, and our Lord (a forgotten principle) and He is ALIVE IN US NOW! He wants to give us more than fire insurance from hell! He wants to give us life, here and now!
The questions raised earlier coming from the definition of who Christ is, shall be address later in this writing. It is a more urgent topic to show in Scripture how the definition has come to be. Let us take each part of the definition one by one to see it's basis and understand is meaning, So then we will see who Christ is.
I believe Christ is both God and man, yet not through a supernatural merger of deity and flesh. Philippians 2:6-7 “Who (Christ), being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” Christ who is equal to God made himself a servant, a mere man. Christ had to learn: Luke 2:40,52 “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” and “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” In between the verses mentioned is the story of Jesus with the teachers in the temple. They were amazed at the child's wisdom and understanding. This is not because of His God abilities, it is because He was living (applying) the Word of God and growing in it. Psalm 119:99-100 “ I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.” Note as mentioned above, there is a direct relationship between our growing in understanding and our obedience to God's ways! Psalm 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” Note no matter our intelligence, it is the firm foundation of the testimonies of the Lord that make us wise! James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Lest you say, Christ never lacked wisdom, I ask you then how did He grow in wisdom?
I believe God came to us to live with us and among us as the man, Christ, to show us how the relationship of man and God is to be. Christ understood that all wisdom comes from above and He knew that it was not by His hand the world would be saved, rather by the power of God through Him. John 14:10 “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” Christ Himself claims the words He spoke and the work He did were not His own works, rather God dwelling in Him doing the work and giving Him the words to say! Does this sound familiar? It should! Rom 8:9 “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Is this not the Holy Spirit of promise who indwells all believers? In deed it is! The relationship Christ came to show us was God ALIVE IN US, once we believe!
I believe that while God was on earth as Christ, He was without His Godness, that is His power, knowledge, ability and such, yet still God, for God does not stop being God in essence, yet He operated under the limitations of a mere man! This choice was made by Him to limit Himself to our nature and our abilities to show us how to live and commune with the living God, our Creator. Return back to the passage partially quoted earlier, yet anding one verse: Philippians 2:5-7 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” Christ forsook (emptied) His God abilities to become as us, that we would have the same mindset He did: all that we do and say, should not be of us, but of God who is in us! The Greek word translated as reputation in verse seven is a compound word meaning to empty one's self.
I also believe that Christ had a mission while on earth, given by God, as we all do. Jeremiah 1:4-5 “Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” God had a plan for Jeremiah as He does with us. We may not have our commission written in the pages of Scripture, yet God still has His plan for us. We are given general commands thought the Word of God such as Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.“ and Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” Our life's work or commission of God is given us as we walk in Him, seek Him, obey Him and wait on Him to guide us through the life He lives in us! The question is, do we let Him guide in us or do we guide our lives ourselves? Some will be called great works, in the mind of man, such as Billy Graham or DL Moody, others may be to have a ministry of prayer for the saints of God in a hidden closet in their home unrealized by anyone, but God. There is no difference in God's eyes as we do His will. To God the person in the closet is as equal as the person at the pulpit. We must discern God's call and do it. Admittedly not always an easy task, but made easier as we soak ourselves in Him through His written Word and trust Him as lead us throughout our lives.
Christ”s mission was threefold. One, to be our Savior for we cannot save ourselves, which is self evident throughout the Scriptures we love and well known by all who are Christians. Two, to show us how to live in and live out our salvation! Total dependence on God (often preached) through the divine influence of the Holy Spirit (often a neglected teaching). Jesus did nothing of himself! All the words He spoke and the actions He did were done by the indwelling Father! John 14:10 “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” In doing the second, He also has shown us how to have a relationship with God; by limiting Himself to the confines of a man, Christ has shown us, mere man, how to live in the fullness of God while we are here on earth living out the mission He has given us to do. Three, to send the One who will indwell us, the Holy Spirit, once He left earth and returned to His heavenly home. John 14:17, 20 “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” and “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” In doing such, we now have the ability to carryout the mission given us by God. For it is not through the work of man that anything of God is done, rather it is through God with Him in us that he does the work through us! John 15:1,4 “I am (Christ) the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” and “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” It is as if we are a glove on the counter, unless or until Christ fills us (the grove) we can do nothing. Even then, it is not us that moves, rather the hand of God inside the glove (us) that does the moving. If the glove is without God's hand, it will not move! God does the work, not us! It is when we take the credit, that pride swells up inside us, which hinders the very work of God. We are merely to be available to God and we must let God do what only He can do, that is to divinely influence us to do His will without us hindering Him: Ephesians 4:30 “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” thus influencing those around us unto both salvation and to do God's will in them as they saw Him do it in us. It is all God's mighty hand at work to do His will on earth according to His great pleasure! It's all about God!
This is not a new teaching as it may appear by some, it is in fact the teaching of our Lord and Savior! It is one we do not hear enough! So then, who did Christ say He was as it pertains to the discussion at hand? Does He say as I have claimed here? He was, while on earth, a vessel used by God to to the will of God!
John 14:7,9 “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” and “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” Christ said, if we know Him, we have seen God. How? God the Father indwelled Christ, who while God, limited Himself to operate as a mere man, while on the earth and Christ lived as God would have, if God would have come directly to us. Therefore seeing Christ is seeing God, and in the same way, when others see us, they should see a representation God. If we are truly saved, then God is in us as He was in Christ, who was limited to operate as a mere man! Thus, whoever sees is, should see God in us! The question remains, are we doing what God would do so the world and follow christians see a true and actuate picture of who God is? I have heard it said: “We are the only Christ, the world can see!” So true! Another tremendous saying, “When you look at yourself in the mirror, do you see a reflection of Christ looking back at you?” We should see His reflection. He is who we are to emulate!
John 14:15-16 “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” Wow! Jesus prayed for to the Father that He, the Comforter, that is the Holy Spirit of promise, will abide we us forever! The Holy Spirit indwells us at the time of salvation, we know this from many verses, Rom 8:9-11 “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (10) And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (11) But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” and Gal 4:6 :And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” and others; when we disobey we grieve the Spirit in us: Eph 4:30 “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” This is a great and mighty truth: the Spirit has come to indwell in us. His intent is the same as when the Father indwelled Christ: to divinely influence us and use us!
John 14:21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Who did Christ say He will manifest (show) Himself to? All Christians have Christ, yet Christ says clearly, He will reveal Himself to those who love Him. Who is it that loves Christ? Those who both have and obey His commandments. The more we obey, not in duty, but in love and from our sincereness of heart (motive), the more Christ reveals Himself to us about who He is. Is this not true of any relationship? Will a wife, husband or child not become more open when they know without a doubt they are loved? God's principles transcend all relationships!
John 14:26 “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Christ says, the Holy Spirit will teach us and remind us of the things of God! Why? That we may grow in Christ and show our love to Him through our obedience! As with any child / parent relationship, love is shown by pleasing the other. Equally, the lack of love we have is shown by not pleasing the other. Whether we please the person or not, the relationship does not change, parent is still parent and child still child. The actions between both child and parent reveal the amount of love that exist in the relationship.
John 14:28 “Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.” Notice the last portion of the verse! “...for my Father is greater than I.” How can this be, if Christ is God? Christ, while on earth, is limited to the nature of man! He is sinless of course: Rom 5:19 “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Christ willingly stripped off His Godness (abilities as God) as mentioned earlier, thus God, was in the man Christ as the Holy Spirit is in us and God is Christ, yet limited to the actions and abilities of man! Therefore the man Christ (God limited to act as man) would be lesser than God His Father!
John 17:20-23 “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” Chapter 17 of John is Jesus praying for all believers: Notice the passage above: Jesus is not praying for the disciples alone, rather for all that will come to believe in Him. Notice what He is praying for: that they may be one as the Father and Christ are one and that we will become one with them so that the world may believe! He says it twice! Also, He says it is so that we will be made perfect (complete), thus the world will know it is God who sent us, that the world will know of the love of God! The word perfect is to be made complete in character. We are to be made to have the character of God. This is only possible as we let God freely do His work both in and through us!
Clearly, Christ was the vessel God used to accomplish His will on earth and it was God who did the work through Christ – the man (God, willingly stripped of His God abilities to be limited to that of a mere man). So then, what of the questions mentioned prior? Have they been answered? What of the additional questions that may come of the original questions mentioned above?
How can Christ, limited to that of a mere man, do the things Christ did? This is possible because it was not Christ that did them! It was God inside Him doing the work and speaking the words Christ spoke and did! Christ was merely a picture for us of how we are to be: a vessel available fully to God for God to use! We are to be the same and this is shown clearly in Scripture: Eph 3:19-20 “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (20) Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” Wow! We will be Filled with the fulness of God! How? By knowing the love of Christ, that is to live out and apply Scripture to our daily lives.
How can Christ not have His God abilities with Him? As mentioned in Philippians 2:5-7, Christ willingly emptied Himself, humbling Himself to show us how the relationship between God and man is to work. Cannot God limited Himself, if He so chooses? Yes He can!
How can He be merely a man and not God too? I never said He was not God. I merely stated as God, he limited Himself to the power of man thus He was merely a man in His abilities and practical living, He operated as a mere man. Therefore to do the things God wanted done, He had to rely on God who was indwelling Him. Thus, He was a man, the man, Christ. I never said God removed the essence of who He is from out of Himself when He came to us in the man Christ.
How can Christ do, or for that manner, know, what His mission in life was, if He did not have the knowledge of His Godness? We know Christ did not have the knowledge of God because God knows all and Christ did not know all: Mark 13:32 “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” We know God's will the same way Christ did. He, as we, must rely on God who indwells us! His focus was from the start to accomplish the will of God as we see in Luke 2 when he was only twelve and already amazing the teachers in the temple; yet we also see that when his parents took Him away from there, He did not object. He submitted to them and went home with them! God used Christ's parents to delay the time which Christ was to start His earthly ministry. I have no doubt had God wanted Jesus to start He ministry at twelve, God would have opened the hearts of His parents to allow it. It was not the timing of God and God used His parents to make Him wait; yet Christ did take the opportunity to be used of God at this time. This is true of us too. God may be moving you towards His work, yet He may not have opened the doors for you to exercise such yet. God will open the doors in His time not our own. In the meantime, we should not merely sit and wait! We should wait on the Lord, yes, and while we wait, be used by Him too!
How did Christ, the man, communicate with the God of the universe? God was indwelling Christ while Christ was on earth and Christ both obeyed God's commandments and obeyed that which God told Him to do at the moment too. Likewise Christ gave us the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. Additionally, as we obey what we know is God's will, He will continue to give us instruction through His Spirit within. God does not want us ignorant of His plans for our life. Sadly for many, including me, we get too busy doing the work of God in our own ability that we miss when He is talking to us, then we miss what God would have done through us at that moment.
How do we fit in, that is, what is our part in all of this? We are to do as Christ did: let God do the work through us! Listen faithful for He call and act on it! The best place to start is to obey what we already know! As we do this, God will lead us more. It is also important to not limit ourselves. We may not think we can do what God has asked us to do. This is true of all of us, yet if God is asking, He will do it through us! Ephesians 3:17-21 “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
I believe I missed a few opportunities over the years because I did not think I was qualified or did not see the relevance at the time. God knew He could have qualified me; I was too fearful to act. I did not response in faith to those opportunities God placed into my life! One such call was when the church I was attending wanted to hire a Music Pastor. I do love good Christ music! I do not apply as I was asked to because I cannot read music. To that point, I'm still not sure why they even asked me! Looking back, I could have accepted the call and learned to read music by attending classes! Another example was when a dear friend and pastor of another church asked me to apply as their Recreation Pastor. To be honest, I did not understand the need of such a position and did not apply. What I did not see and what God did see was the whole picture! They did hire someone and in addition, he became the Youth Pastor. Sadly due to trouble with his character, which was not seen outwardly in the beginning, he was dismissed once it became apparent. I could have saved that church a lot of heartache had I been listening to where God was leading! We often mix our will and dreams or preconceived ideas in with God's will and then we wonder why things do not work out. I am just as guilty as anyone. Or we are so busy doing work for God, what we think we should do, rather than letting Him do what He wants to do through us.
The dreams God places upon our hearts may in fact be carried out, yet not in the way we anticipated. In limiting God to doing it our way, we, in fact, limit what God can do through us because we are not open to His way because it may not seem as if what He's placed on our heart to do will come about, yet the contrary is true. By yielding to God's leading He can and will bring about what He has placed on our hearts to do. It requires us to have faith that in the end, God will do what He placed on our hearts to do; it may just be in a different way than we could foresee or He will change what He was placed on our heart to do or we will realize that what we thought was God was actually us, doing what we wanted. Either way, we must follow Him in faith as He leads. John the Baptist said it best referring to his ministry: John 3:30 “He (Christ) must increase, but I must decrease.” If this be our attitude towards God, then He will accomplish all that He has for us by doing it through us!
As mentioned, this reading may create in you questions that I did not mention. What should you do? Dive into the Word of God and find the answers! The book is waiting for you to turn the pages. Discovery is yours, if you dare to explore. You may never find the hidden treasures of God, if you rely on others to feed you and the jewels you do find while being fed will never have as satisfying a feeling than when you find them for yourself! Plus, the treasures you find in your own studies will remain with you long after you have forgotten that which someone else told you. Look them up, search