Saturday, June 30, 2012

Triune Christ: Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer

Last week we looked at the triune nature of Jesus Christ as Priest, Prophet, and King, worthy of our worship, loyalty and submission. Because He is pure, holy and just, He is filled with righteous anger and wrath at sin (Jeremiah 10:10; John 3:36; Romans 1:18)

Yet the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:16) is also a God of love (1 John 4:7). He has a gentler, more nurturing side, also described in three aspects as our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer.

The Creator spoke us and the universe into existence (Colossians 1:16); the Sustainer satisfies all our physical and spiritual needs to maintain life (Ephesians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 9:10-12); and the Redeemer or Deliverer (Romans 11:26) bought us with the price of His own shed blood, freeing us from the bondage of sin and death (Romans 3:23-25).

Names of Jesus reflecting His creative powers include Maker, Builder, and Author. Jesus is the just, pure, and righteous Maker (Job 4:17; 36:3) of all men (Proverbs 22:2), of the heavens and earth (Isaiah 51:13), and of the Holy City (Hebrews 11:10)

Our Maker is therefore worthy of our worship (Psalm 95:6), respect (Isaiah 17:7), and obedience (Isaiah 45:9).

He is the Master Builder Who places us on His sure foundation (Hebrews 3:3; Matthew 16:18), and the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

As the Sustainer, Jesus Christ feeds us. He is the Bread of Life (John 6:32-:51) Who came down from Heaven, the Living Water, and the True Vine (John 15:1,5) Who nourishes us as a vine brings life-sustaining nutrients to its branches.

The roles of Jesus as the Sustainer, Who upholds all things (Hebrews 1:3) include Physician or Healer, Teacher, and Bridegroom (Husband and Spouse). The Physician heals our diseased bodies, casts out demons, cleanses us from our sins, and heals our troubled souls (Matthew 8:16; 9:12; 10:8;  Mark 2:17; Luke 4:23).

The Teacher taught from the Scriptures, in parables, and by example. His teachings are the words of eternal life (John 6:68; I John 1:1).

The Bridegroom (Matthew 9:15; 25)  is the perfect Husband (Isaiah 54:5), Who loves us with self-sacrificing agape love (Ephesians 5:25), Who will always be faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9) and Who will never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

We are further blessed that our Spouse is the fairest and chiefest of ten thousand (Song of Solomon 5:10). His matchless beauty (Isaiah 33:17) is compared to that of three plants: the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley (Song of Solomon 2:1), and the glorious Branch of the LORD (Isaiah 11:1; 4:2;  Zechariah 6:12;; Jeremiah 33:15, 23:5).

The sustenance of Jesus Christ is the only source of everlasting life from the Father, for He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one can come to the Father except by Him (John 14:6).

Three roles of Jesus befitting His nature as the Truth (Revelation 3:7) are the Faithful and True Witness (the Amen; Revelation 3:14; 1:5; 19:11; Isaiah 55:4), a Covenant of the people (Isaiah 42:6) in that He is the fulfillment of God’s promise of a Messiah, and the Testator (Hebrews 7:22; 9:16,17) Whose death allowed all believers to be joint heirs with Him.

The Sustainer also guides us on our journey through life, for He is not only the Way (John 14:6), but also the Light (Isaiah 9:2; Luke 2:32; John 1:4,9, 8:12, 12:35,46), and the  Shepherd Who leads us out of danger and to safety (Psalm 23; Ezekiel 34:23; John 10:11,16; Zechariah 13:7; Isaiah 40:10-11; 1 Peter 2:25; 5:4) because He Himself is the Door of the sheep (John 10:7).

Even the selfless love and care of Christ the Shepherd has three progressive stages. He is the Good Shepherd Who knows His sheep and lays down His life for them (John 10:14-16). The power of His resurrection makes Him the Great Shepherd Whose blood is the everlasting covenant (Hebrews 13:20). When we see Christ in His glory at the judgment seat, He shall be as the Chief Shepherd  (1 Peter 5:4).

As the Light, Jesus is described as the Morning Star; as the Dayspring (dawn’s first light; Luke 1:78), and as the Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2). The Morning Star, which refers to Venus or other bright planet when visible in the east before sunrise (Revelation 2:16,28), is also known as the Star (Numbers 24:17) or Day Star (2 Peter 1:19. These names remind us that His Light is always there to guide us, faithful as the sun rising every morning, brightening our days, and giving us hope when darkness seems to surround us.

The Sustainer also guards and protects us with His infinite strength (Joel 3:16), which is like a strong Tower (Proverbs 18:10) or Fortress (Psalm 31:3; 71:3) protecting us from the storms (Isaiah 25:4; 32:2) or our enemies (Psalm 31:2, the spiritual Rock of our salvation (Matthew 16:18, Psalm 61:2; 62:7; 71:3; 94:22; 2 Samuel 22:47; 1 Corinthians 10:4), and a Foundation or precious and living chief Corner Stone (Psalm 118:22, Isaiah 28:16, 1 Corinthians 3:11, 1 Peter 2:4,6).

Praise God that He is not only our Creator and Sustainer, but that He is our Redeemer (Job 19:25; Psalm 19:14; 78:35; Isaiah 41:13; 43:14, 44:6,14), Who set us free from sin and death! (Romans 3:23-25). He is known as the Redeemer, Deliverer (Romans 11:26), and Arm of the Lord (Isaiah 51:9; 52:10; 53:1; 62:8), mighty to save but tenderly protecting us (Isaiah 40:11).

He paid the price in full for our freedom, giving every drop of His precious blood to pay our sin debt in full. We are saved by grace through faith in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15) as the completed work to buy our liberty from the bondage of hell. Praise God that whosovever believes in Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, and Himself the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, has everlasting life! (John 3:16).

This post is featured as Reader's Choice this week at What Joy is Mine! Thanks so much to Naomi and to your readers!

© 2012 Laurie Collett

Monday, June 25, 2012

Jesus, Christ and Lord: Reflecting the Trinity

As we have discussed previously, God is a Triune Being, and the nature of the Trinity is reflected throughout His creation.

Jesus of Nazareth, wholly God yet wholly man as He wrapped Himself in human flesh, is also Christ and Lord (Acts 2:36; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Ephesians 4:5). Jesus walked the earth teaching and preaching His divine wisdom; as Christ He was the perfect sacrifice to reconcile sinful man with holy God; and in His omnipotence He is Lord and Master of all and over all (Acts 10:36; Romans 10:12). These three aspects of God the Son are also described as Prophet, Priest, and King

In His earthly ministry, Jesus was the greatest Prophet of all (Matthew 21:11; Luke 7:16, 24:19; Acts 3:22,23), sent to earth as the Revelation of the Father, with the words of eternal life. His teachings, parables, miracles, and words are recorded forever in God’s Word, which will never pass away. He Himself is called the Word, for He spoke the worlds into existence (John 1:1; Revelation 19:13; I John 1:1).

Jesus Christ is the Great High Priest (Hebrews 3:1; 4:14) after the order of Melchisidec (Hebrews 5:6; 6:20). Because Christ is the Holy One of God (Mark 1:24; Isaiah 49:7; Acts 2:27; 3:14), He exemplifies ultimate perfection as the Priest, the Temple, and the Sacrifice, and deserves to be praised three times as Holy, Holy, Holy (Isaiah 6:3).

As the Priest, Christ is the Minister (Mark 10:45; Romans 15:8, Hebrews 8:2), the Intercessor, constantly interceding on our behalf (Hebrews 1:3).and mediating between us and God the Father (Hebrews 7:25; 1 Timothy 2:5), and the Counselor or Advocate (I John 2:1), representing and defending us when Satan accuses us. Since He rose from the dead, Jesus has been seated at the right hand of the throne of God where He is perfectly positioned to fulfill these three roles, for He is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Jesus Christ is All-in-All, and in His self-sufficiency, He is not only the Priest, but the Temple (Revelation 21:22) or Sanctuary (Isaiah 8:14), and He Himself serves as the Veil, the Altar (Hebrews 13:10, and even the Offering (Ephesians 5:2). Just as the veil of the temple separating the Holy of Holies from the people was torn in two at His crucifixion, His torn flesh was the new and living Way  (Hebrews 10:20) allowing sinners to approach Holy God.

Jesus, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 7:9; 13:8), made the perfect sacrifice of His shed blood to be the perfect atonement or propitiation (Romans 3:25) for our sins, once and for all (Hebrews 7:27). He was the offering and sacrifice to God that He would accept as a sweet-smelling savour far better than any incense (Ephesians 5:2).

As Lord of Lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:16), Jesus Christ is the Lord Both of the Dead and Living (Romans 14:9), the Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5), and the Lord of Peace (II Thessalonians 3:16). The Lord of Hosts (Zecharaiah 14:16) is the King of Glory (Psalm 24:10), the King of Righteousness, and the King of Peace (Hebrews 7:2).

As King of Kings (Revelation 17:14; 19:16), He shall reign forever and eternally (Psalm 29:10; Revelation 11:15). He shall be not only the King of Israel (John 1:49), meaning the King of the Daughter of Zion (John 12:15) or the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2; Mark 15:2; John 19:19), but He is also the King of Saints (Revelation 15:3), meaning of all believers, and King Over All the Earth (Zechariah 14:4,5,9)

As would be expected from the Almighty Lord and King, Jesus will fulfill three roles in His second coming: Warrior, Judge, and Ruler. As Supreme Warrior (Psalm 45:3), He will lead armies of resurrected saints to defeat the enemies of Israel at the battle of Armageddon with the Sword of His Word (Isaiah 55:4; Revelation 19:13), and He will even defeat Satan and death. Jesus Christ as Warrior is all-powerful, fierce, and noble, represented by The Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). He is the Captain of the Host of the Lord (Joshua 5:14) and of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10), and our Leader and Commander (Isaiah 55:4). The Self-Sufficient Warrior is also His own weaponry and armor: the Polished Shaft or arrow (Isaiah 49:2), the Shield (Psalm 84:9), and the Destroying Sceptre (Numbers 24:17) with His mouth the Sword of the Word (Isaiah 49:2).

As the Just One (Acts 7:52; 3:14, 1 Peter 3:18) or perfect and righteous Judge (Acts 17:31; 2 Timothy 4:8), He will fairly bestow rewards to His children, and punishment to souls and to nations who rejected Him (Revelation 19:11).

As Ruler (Micah 5:2), the Lord Jesus will preside over the Millennial Kingdom of perfect peace and harmony (Isaiah 9:6; (Psalm 45:6) as their Governor (Matthew 2:6), Ensign of the People (Isaiah 11:10), or symbol of national power, and Messiah the Prince (Daniel 9:25) and Saviour.(Acts 5:31).He is not only the Prince of all Rulers (the Prince of Princes (Daniel 8:25) and the Prince of the Kings of the Earth (Revelation 1:5)), but He is also the Prince of Life (Acts 3:15) and the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

As the Prince of Life and of Peace, He gave us life, maintains our life, and paid our sin debt to redeem us from death to eternal life! Praise God that Jesus Christ and Lord is our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer – as we will discuss in our next post!

© 2012 Laurie Collett

Saturday, June 16, 2012

God’s Nature: Attributes of the Trinity

God is a triune Being: God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. The number three signifies Divine perfection and completeness, as in the fullness of the God-head representing all Three Members of the Trinity (Ephesians 3:19; 4:13; Colossians 2:9). All three Persons of the Trinity appear together in certain Scripture verses, such as those describing the baptism of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:22).

One way to consider these three aspects of God is that God the Father is the Originator or the “mind” of the plan, including the plan of creation, of salvation, or of anything in between or thereafter. God the Son could be regarded as the Embodiment of the plan, the One Who spoke the worlds into existence (Genesis 1:3); Who wrapped Himself in human flesh to redeem us (John 1:14); and Who will return to reign victoriously forever (Revelation 21:1-3).

The Holy Spirit is the Empowerment of the plan (Micah 3:8; Luke 4:14; Romans 15:19; 2 Timothy 1:7), Who moved upon the waters at the beginning of creation (Genesis 1:2) and Who indwells every believer at the moment of salvation to motivate their walk with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19). The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to draw attention to Jesus Christ (1 John 4:2-3; 1 John 5:6), Who is the only Way we can know the Father (John 1:18; 5:37; 14:7,9).

As we study the Trinity, it appears that His characteristics can each be described in three facets. God is equated with love (1 John 4:8,16), spirit (John 4:24), and light (1 John 1:5).

God is All in All (Romans 11:36), and His three main attributes reflect His command over all things, persons, and events. He is omniscient, meaning that He knows everything past, present and future (Psalm 139; Romans 11:33-36). He is omnipresent, meaning that He can be anywhere and everywhere, at any time point in the past, present and future (Psalm 139; Revelation 1:8). His abode is the three heavens (2 Corinthians 12:2), with the earth as His footstool (Isaiah 66:1).

And He is omnipotent, meaning that God Almighty (Genesis 17:1, 28:3, etc.) created (Colossians 1:16) and has power over all things, persons, and events, no matter when and where they occur (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:27). God therefore can transcend time, space and physical laws to accomplish His will.

And yet there are three things God cannot do: He cannot change (James 1:17), for He is the same, yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He cannot lie (Titus 1:2), for He is the Truth, the Life and the Way (John 14:6).

And because He is holy (Leviticus 21:8; 1 Peter 1: 15), righteous (Exodus 9:27; 1 Samuel 12:7; 2 Chronicles 12:6; Psalm 11:7; 33:5; 36:6; Isaiah 32:1; 41:10; 1 John 2:1; Revelation 16:5; 19:11, etc.) , and just (Isaiah 61:8; 1 Peter 1: 17), He cannot let a sinner into Heaven (Romans 3:23) unless that sinner is washed clean in the precious blood of the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 1 Peter 1:19, Revelation 5:12), and made righteous by his faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the only way to Heaven (1 Corinthians 15).

Despite His infinite power and wisdom, and His wrath at sin, which is fitting for His perfect holiness, God treats His children with three benevolent traits: love, mercy and grace. The Greek word for His love is agape, or self-sacrificing charity (1 Corinthians 13) that led the Father to give His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes in Him will have everlasting life (John 3:16). His love is constant and everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3) That same agape love led Jesus the Son to willingly lay down His life for His friends (John 15:13).

God’s mercy (Deuteronomy 7:12; 1 Kings 8:23; Psalm 59:17; 66:20) is everlasting (Psalm 52:8; 136:26) and flows from His love and compassion toward us (Psalm 51:1; 86:15), not only for His chosen people Israel but for all who put their faith in His Son (Romans 11:30-32; 1 Peter 1:3). Because of God’s mercy, He withholds the punishment incurred by our sins of everlasting death in hell, so He doesn’t give us what we do deserve (Ephesians 2: 3-5).

And because of God’s grace (2 Thessalonians 2:16), He does give us what we don’t deserve – eternal, abundant life with Him on earth and in Heaven (Ephesians 2:5-9). Praise God that He makes those who have placed their faith in His Son to be His children, joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8: 15-17), and ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Be sure to join us for the rest of this series, in which we will discuss how the Names of Christ describing His qualities can be grouped in threes; how man is made in God’s three-part image reflecting the signature of the Trinity; how the Resurrection centers on the Divine number three, and how God designed us to honor and worship Him in triplets of praise!

This post was featured this week at What Joy is Mine -- thanks so much and God bless!

© 2012 Laurie Collett