Saturday, September 5, 2009

Jesus: the Nature of Christ debate!

Jesus the synthesis of the nature of Christ debate!

Jesus Is >

In Life

In Death

Physically >

Our Example

Our Substitute

Spiritually >

Our Substitute

Our Example

A truth about our human nature is that we have two natures: a physical nature and a spiritual nature. The argument over whether Jesus is our substitute or our example is really quite unnecessary because He was both! The important thing to understand is what He is in which nature.
Please test the following statements drawn from the table above.

In life, physically speaking, Jesus is our example. We are to live our lives just as He did, by explicit obedience to our Heavenly Father.
In death, physically speaking, Jesus is our substitute. He died the second death for us if we accept Him as our Lord and Savior.
In life, physically speaking, Jesus is our substitute. Jesus wants to occupy the throne room of our life, in our place.
In death, spiritually speaking, Jesus is our example. We must die spiritually (so we can be spiritually born again) before He can reign in our life.
This is Gospel truth! To say that Jesus is one and not the other is to split the Gospel. One of the greatest problems in God's church at large is most people are going around promoting half of the Gospel and saying they have the full Gospel.

Those who recognize that the law has not been done away can usually point out the end result of saying that Christ is only our substitute. If Jesus lived by His own God-power as our substitute then there is no reason for us to live holy. We need then to only live as we please, accepting Him, and we're in. I believe the term for this kind of thinking is "cheap grace." On the other hand, to say that Jesus is only our example leads to an extreme in the other ditch. If we say that Jesus came just as we arrive, in a total sinful nature, then we must somehow live a righteous life by only "doing" as He did. Test: Did Jesus need spiritual rebirth as we realize we do? If not, then He didn't seek spiritual rebirth. If we follow that example (not needing and seeking spiritual rebirth) we are stuck in a hopeless, miserable state. This is called legalism.
When we put the two halves of the Gospel back together in Christ, a most beautiful picture emerges. Jesus did come in the fallen, sinful, physical nature of man after four thousand years of the ravages of sin. But He also had the unfallen, righteous, spiritual nature of man, that Adam had prior to his fall. It was in these natures that He passed over the same ground upon which Adam fell yet without falling to sin. It is only by grasping the full Gospel that we can become righteous! What a wonderful Savior is Jesus our Lord!

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