The Mind of Christ -The Bible
doctrine of the Tempter Considered
doctrine of the Tempter Considered
A lamb without blemish and without spot - 1 Pet 1: 19
Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore Elohim hath blessed thee for ever - Psalm 45:2
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety (the carnal mind), so your minds should be corrupted from The simplicity that is in Messiah - 2 Cor 11: 3
"For he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin. that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (2 Cor.5:21).
"He that speaketh of himself, seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh His glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him" (John 7:16-18).
Mind of the spirit
And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Cor 10: 3-4)
The word made flesh
It is the "Father-Spirit" that Paul refers to in 1 Tim. 6:16, whom no man hath seen in His unveiled splendour. Veiled in flesh, "the Vail of the Covering" (Exodus 35:12): he that discerneth him who spoke to Philip, "saw the Father" (John 14:9; 12:45). But, veiled or unveiled, the Father-Spirit is substantial. Speaking of the Unveiled Father-Spirit, Paul says in Heb. 1:2, 3, that the Son is the Character of his Hypostasis, rendered, in the common version, "express image of his person."
The Son is the character or exact representation, and the Father is the hypostasis. In reference to the former, the Father says, in Zech 3:9:
"Upon One Stone there shall be Seven Eyes; behold I will engrave the graving thereof (that is, of the stone), saith He who shall be hosts."
The graving engraved on the stone is termed, in Greek, character, an impress wrought into a substance after some archetype or pattern. The archetype is the hypostasis, so that hypostasis is the basis or foundation of character; wherefore the same apostle in Col. 1:15, styles the character engraved the "Image" of Theos the Invisible (eikon tou Theou tou aoratou).
"Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came and whither I go, Ye judge after the flesh."
That is, not knowing anything of Christ beyond what they could see or hear of him as of any other man, they judged him by the rule applicable in the ordinary experience of flesh and blood, and made a great mistake in consequence; for though, to all appearance, Christ was an ordinary man and came as an ordinary man, in reality he came from above, in being directly generated by the Spirit of God, and he was God in their midst, in the full indwelling presence of that Spirit which is one with the boundless Father-Spirit, filling immensity.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 40
If we do not set ourselves to strive to attain to this general condition as a body, we might just as well give up the struggle and drift down the broad and easy way with the rest. "We have the mind of Christ," says Paul - the fervent, devoted, spiritual viewpoint that Christ had. Can we say it with him?
Bro Growcott - The Fruit of the Spirit
The following pioneer articles have been compiled in order to refute the theory that The Lord Yahoshua Anointed 'had a carnal mind'. The internal tempter theory [that it was the Lord's own mind prompting him to sin in the wilderness temptation} is also refuted by the pioneer expositions.
Nowhere does scripture countenance the notion the Lord had a carnal mind.
There was complete unity of mind between Yahweh and his son.
"Emmanuel, God with us" (Matt. 1:23). "The word made flesh" (John 1:14).
"I and my Father are one" (John 10:30).
He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14 :9, 10).
"The image of the invisible God ... the express image of his person"
(Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3).
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will,but the will of him that sent me. (John 6:38).
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. (Luke 2:40).
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
'shew us the Father'. This was the response: "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, shew us the Father?" (John 14:9)
Eureka Vol 5 P305 - 'the filthy garment was human nature, which the word of Deity was clothed with in his flesh manifestation'.
As to evil thoughts the Messiah never conceived them. His own mind did not prompt him to sin. His mind was the dwelling place of Yahweh, pure. Had he conceived sinful thoughts he would be a sinner and there is no atonement. He was the unblemished lamb without spot (Heb. 9:14). Evil thoughts are sin (Matt 15:19, Mark 7:21). To parley with vain or rebellious thoughts is to sin.
The wilderness tempter was a satan after the type of Job's satan. The sophisticated, beguiling, appeals to his weakened flesh came from an external provocateur. An extended and prolongued appeal tried his resolve sorely, after the type of Job. Intense pressure of long duration. A momentary thought instantly quashed [as the internal tempter notion would have us believe] does not answer the needs of the case at all. This is not ''much tribulation''!
Faith and patience are tested and proved over a prolonged period. The suffering is real and tangible, as the type of Job demonstrates for ALL who would enter the Kingdom through MUCH Tribulation.
The word carnal should never be applied to our Lord. It is never so used in scripture - Quite the opposite in fact...Neither do Brethren Thomas and Roberts use this term against the Lord.
'He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all'. (Jhn 3:31)
'And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world'. (Jhn 8:23)
The serpent illustrated the carnal mind. He suggested the first lie - that sin could be committed without ending in death. The Lord never thought of committing transgression, neither did he believe he could do so without forfeiting his inheritance. He was not prone to sinful thinking as mere men are. His character was the exact image of his father, holy, harmless and undefiled in thought, word and deed.
In scripture carnal always has reference to the earthy, the sensual, the rebellious, the ungoverned appetites and passions, depravity, an unenlightened mind at enmity with Yahweh. Rebellion against Yahweh is the principal factor in its usage.
This is why neither scripture nor the pioneers applied the term carnal to the Lord. As a partaker of our nature he controlled the animal impulses and lived the mind of the spirit - heavenly not earthy.
'For to be carnally minded is death: but to be spiritually minded is peace.' Rom 8v6.
''What is this carnal mind but the mind resulting from the operation of the brain flesh without enlightenment.
We see this mind in every variety of development-mere natural mentality acting upon the objects of nature-upon what can be seen, felt, tasted, and physically enjoyed: mentality not open to the deep reason of things: insensible to God's existence: shut off from all knowledge of what God has already done in the management of the earthy, and from all faith of the glorious purpose He has revealed.
To a mind so moulded, the things of the Spirit are distasteful-worse, they are hateful, while the things of the flesh are congenial. The service of God is a hateful myth: the service of natural desire, a delightful reality. Christ's description of the case is as pithy as it is simple and true:
They savour not the things that be of God but those that be of men.''
Bro Roberts - O SEND THY LIGHT FORTH AND THY TRUTH
The carnal mind applies to those who are governed by the appetites of the flesh as the following passages demonstrate:
I am carnal, sold under sin Rom 7v14
The carnal mind is enmity against Deity Rom 8v7
'For ye are yet carnal, for whereas there is envying and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal and walk as men.' 1 Cor 3v3
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through Deity to the pulling down of strong holds. Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Deity 2 Cor 10v4
Yes he was tempted in all the points that we are - the three channels - lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and pride of life. Being born not of the will of man but by the operation of the holy spirit, the bias of his will was towards the spirit - he subordinated his free volition to the divine will. As the son of Yahweh the promptings to transgress did not proceed from within. This means that he did not conceive rebellious thoughts. Intellect and sentiment were PURE - 'One' with his heavenly father whose moral character he reflected without fault.
Yes, burdened by weak emotional sin defiled nature with its impulses and desires - 'a man of sorrows acquainted with grief', - but no carnal mind. The carnal mind is enmity against Yahweh. Yahshua was one with his father, unblemished - not corrupted by evil thoughts.
We know Jesus had to battle and overcome the diabolos in himself. This was the whole essence and power and meaning of his victory. Bro. Roberts points out that the mere impulse to do something God had prohibited is not in itself transgression.
But the slightest entertaining of, or giving in to, that impulse - even only in thought - is transgression.
And Jesus was absolutely sinless in thought, word, and deed. That basic fact we must preserve inviolate, and no interpretation can be entertained which even hints at undermining it.
The idea is abhorrent that Jesus would ever voluntarily entertain, or toy with, or soliloquize within himself upon a course of sin, even for a moment. To his pure mind all sin was repugnant and hateful, immediately upon recognition.
The Carnal Mind
The correct use of this concept
Certain maxims have been brought to the notice of the world in the teaching of Christ, and men of carnal minds, utterly unsubject to the law of God, have taken hold of the mere aesthetic beauties of these things, and constructed out of them a philosophy of their own -- a standard of their own; but in point of fact they have no standard; there is no standard of right except the will of God. When men begin to talk of "the eternal fitness of things," they get into an intellectual morass. There is no standard of righteousness, but obedience to God's commandments.
Bro Roberts - Holiness
"I and my Father are one."-(John x. 30.)
This is generally brought forward as an infallible proof of the Trinity, but, when examined, it is found to destroy the Trinity. With Trinitarians, the texts which throw light upon and explain it are, as usual, overlooked or ignored. That this oneness with the Father did not consist of personal identity, is evident from the fact that Jesus himself declares "My Father is greater than I."-(xiv. 28.) What the text really does mean is also shown by Jesus, when he prayed that his disciples might be one in him as he is one in the Father,-(xvii. 20-3)-that is, one in mind, in purpose, in perfect righteousness.
He had nothing in common with men beyond the infirmity of a mortal nature derived through his mother, from a common stock. His tastes lay where the human mind has no affinity.
His intellectual interest -- his mental affection -- intensely centred on God, from whom man is naturally alien (Rom. viii. 7). Even at twelve years of age, he showed this powerful bias which distinguished him from all men: "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business" (Luke ii. 49); and "always" it is his own testimony concerning himself, "he did those things that were pleasing to the Father" (Jno. viii. 29).
His case, with reference to his own age, is only fitly classified in his own language; "Ye are from beneath: I am from above; ye are of this world: I am not of this world" (Jno. viii. 23).
NAZARETH REVISITED CH 2 'CHRIST IN HISTORY'.
The pre-existing divinity that became incorporate in the man Christ Jesus, was the divinity visible in the angel's words -- the divinity of the Holy Spirit, which is one with the Father, and made the Son one with the Father also, as His manifestation, and the reflex of His mind.
NAZARETH REVISITED 'Mary at Nazareth'.
Christ was a perfect manifestation of God because he perfectly submitted in every way to God's use of him, and perfectly kept himself from any thought, word or action that was in the slightest way out of harmony with God. He was the flawless mirror of the Divine Perfection.
The thinking of the flesh activated by allowing the ungodly propensities to dictate evil thoughts. The carnal mind is at enmity against God (Rom. 8:6), and must be destroyed.
Once developed, it can only be destroyed by death. The Lord Jesus never allowed evil thoughts to defile his mind, and therefore did not develop the carnal mind, which in all others is part of their moral defilement.
He remained the perfect manifestation of the mind of the Spirit (Phil. 2:5).
Words and Meanings - Bro J. Carter
From the Law of Moses
By this means of paternity, Christ escaped the hereditary moral and mental bias of the race, and received such a divine intellectual impress as made him strong in spirit or mind, and of quick understanding in the fear and word of the Lord. He was therefore enabled to overcome all the promptings and desires of his unclean nature derived from his mother, and maintained his moral perfection without blemish and undefiled.
Such being the case, he required no justification or cleansing pertaining to the conscience as we do : he needed only a cleansing or justification by spirit of his physical nature-sin's flesh-which he bore. This cleansing took place, as we see in the type, at the end of thirty-three days, or years. Luke tells us that at his baptism, he ' began to be about thirty years of age.' His ministry lasted about three-and-a-half years, so that Christ, when he offered himself to the Father, through the Eternal Spirit, as a sacrifice for the sin of the world, was between thirty-three and thirty-four years of age. It was after thirty days (or years) that the sacrifice was offered.
It is argued by some that Christ was justified at his baptism from the condemnation ruling upon his flesh-nature before he could go on probation, but the type emphatically teaches that he was not justified or cleansed from his physical uncleanness until the end of his life, or after the thirty-third day.
Christ required no justification morally, and the only other justification which the Scriptures teach he did require, was justification by spirit from the condemnation of mortality resting· upon his flesh-nature, and this could not be effected until he had made reconciliation for iniquity in death and resurrection. (Law of Moses Pg 249)
....Christ himself did no wrong, and was never alienated from God, but always did that which pleased Him, both prior to and after his baptism. Thus was foreshadowed in this beautiful type, the cleansing of the human nature of Christ by his own death, and of our own cleansing on account of the same, by the favour of God through faith. (Law of Moses 251)
I and My Father are One
The eloquent and persuasive speeches of the satan failed to dislodge the Lord from his fidelity. [There are many long speeches and serpentine disquisitions among Christadelphia today that would dislodge believers from their fidelity, but the exhortation is to be rooted and grounded in the One True Faith - providentially revived in the latter days through Bro Thomas as the spirit of life from the Deity (Rev 11:11).]
Each plausible argument put forth was met with a stern and clear answer of righteousness. No uncertainty or wavering (James 1:8). The trial had to be a real prolonged test of faith as in Job's case - other wise what was the point...
We are not told who the satan was in both cases, only that the trial was real, tangible and protracted...ie not a momentary flash of carnal thinking. It was necessary that Messiah be subject to a sore and fiery trial to develop character, resilience and obedience in the face of adversity. Yahweh in his providence contrived this.
8 And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before Yahweh throughout your generations.
Christ's mind was a manifestation of his Father, his thoughts were continually ascending to the Father, so that he was at one with the Father (Jhn.17). This precludes the carnal mind. The Lord never had a carnal mind, he was the Holy Incense ascending continually to the Father beyond the Veil of the flesh, Ish Khasid, the Holy One of God, to whom is given the Urim and the Thumim (the lights and the fulnesses) (Deut.33:8).
The propensities of sin's flesh which are the motions of sin, (spirit of disobedience/ serpent in the flesh/ desires (impulses) of the flesh are blind. They are not thoughts conceived. This means they are not rebellious thoughts of envy, malice, adultery (Gal 5) etc. We perceive these motions in ourselves especially under circumstances of temptation.
Our Lord controlled the propensities perfectly. He never allowed his feelings to generate evil thoughts. Bro Thomas expresses this belief in Elpis Israel and expands upon this point in Herald 1852 and refers to it again Eureka.
'Sinful flesh being the hereditary nature of the Lord Jesus, He was a fit and proper sacrifice for sin; especially as He was Himself "innocent of the great transgression," having been obedient in all things. Appearing in the nature of the seed of Abraham (Heb. 2:16-18),
He was subject to all the emotions by which we are troubled; so that He was enabled to sympathize with our infirmities (Heb. 4:15), being "made in all things like unto His brethren."
From Elpis 1:4.
The way to understand the carnal and spiritual mind is as Paul deals with it in Rom.8. Paul is not speaking about the biological entity called brain, but what is in the biological entity called brain.
To try and contrive an argument based on the supposition that the carnal mind is synonymous with the organ called brain, is to misunderstand what Paul is speaking about.
Yes, the flesh thinks (minding of the flesh) - through the brain; there is no other organ it can do so. This is the natural man; in this case the brain is full of fleshly rubbish - "the wisdom of the world which is foolishness with God" (1Cor.1-3).
The Lord never at any point allowed his mind to be defiled by the thinking of the flesh; his mind was girded continually with the Spirit (Jhn.1.14, Hb.1.3, Is.11.1-3, Pslm 119.97,99,100), so that although "tried in all points like as we are" yet was "without sin" in thoughts, words and deeds.
Brother Richard Lister
The Mind of Christ by Robert Roberts
But who was the devil who thus busied himself to subvert Jesus from the path of obedience? The answer is, it is impossible to say positively who he was. As in the case of Job's Satan, we can only be positive as to who he was not.
Various probabilities are suggested by the circumstances of the temptation according to the phase in which they are contemplated. Some think the devil in the case was Christ's own inclinations; but this is untenable in view of the statement that
"When the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season" (Luke iv, 13).
It is also untenable in view of the harmony that existed between the mind of Christ and the will of the Father (John viii, 29). Christendom Astray lect.7 P173 (Dawn book supply).
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you that whoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
Hence Christ not only forbids adultery, but forbids the thoughts and feelings that lead to it. Doubtless, many an earnest mind has groaned under the stringency of this law; and some may even have been disposed to murmur with certain unsuccessful disciple in the days of Jesus.
"This is an hard saying, who can hear it?"
But the fruits of victory are so sweet that the wisdom of law is more than justified. What could more powerfully tend to the development of pure-mindedness than the deprecation of impure thoughts?
And what is nobler and sweeter, and what more fitting as a preparation for exaltation to immortal life, than that "holiness both of body and spirit" which such a law tends to engender? In this respect it is like the command to bear injuries unresentfully: it is a powerful self-circumcision which chastens and subdues the natural man, and leaves room for the growth of that new man
"which after (the image of) God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4:24)
"Law of Moses - Robert Roberts.
A thing can only be cleansed if it is in a defiled state. I do not believe that the Lord was mentally and morally defiled. That would make him a mental and moral transgressor. He was the Word of God made flesh, and never in need of purification mentally or morally, although he had to struggle against the power of sin in the flesh (diabolos) throughout his ministry.
He was physically cleansed by sacrifice, as partaker of sin's flesh. But he did not have the mind of the flesh which is enmity against God. In your second point you admit that he was mentally and morally clean, and therefore the definition you use is inappropriate, when you say that he needed mental and moral purification, each day, each night. I speak of the diabolos as being physically in the flesh, not his mind, which was the mind of the Spirit."
Bro Graeham Mansfield
" Jesus was made under the law for Paul says he was 'made under the law' (Gal.
iv. 14). He was also in the flesh, for John says if any man deny this he is
Anti- Christ (1 John iv. 3). Therefore you must not entertain any thought that
excludes either fact. Nor must you forget that God was the Worker, through, and
in Christ. Put all the facts together, and you will have no difficulty in
reconciling apparent discrepancies. When Paul says (Rom. viii. 8) that they that
are in the flesh cannot please God, he is referring to the rebelliousness of the
carnal mind, as you may see by the previous verses. Jesus was never in this
state, but always did those things that pleased the Father".-
Brother ROBERTS - THE CHRISTADELPHIAN 1874, p630.
The following is from the 1925 Berean and is a fine exposition on
THE CARNAL MIND.
The carnal mind is enmity against God. It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can (it, R.V.) be (Rom. viii. 7). The reason for such a statement will be apparent when it is realised that such a mind is produced as the result of the human faculties being left to themselves (Bro. Roberts' exhortation, No. 547).
Its parent is the flesh. All men are born with a brain, but without a mind. Mind is that state which exists as the result of the quality or kind of thinking indulged in as the brain develops. If the thoughts are carnal or fleshly, the mind will be carnal. If the thoughts are spiritual, the mind will be spiritual. But in each case a totally different principle has developed such a mind. The carnal mind is the result of the principle of disobedience using the brain to produce thought like itself, evil. Hence to be carnally minded is death (Rom. viii. 6). It is the flesh mind because the source of its production is in the flesh.
The thinking of the flesh is enmity against God. The serpent mind became produced by a serpent principle, the spirit of disobedience. Therefore when such a mind is in evidence it may be said that the serpent is in the flesh. Not only is a serpent suggested principle common to all men, but in all men also, excepting Christ, it has produced carnal fruit, the carnal mind. To be spiritually minded is life and peace (Rom. viii. 6). Such a mind is developed as the result of right thinking.
It is produced through the Word received, believed, and obeyed, operating on the brain and causing the formation of thought as spiritual as itself, hence the spirit mind. Of all the sons of Adam, Jesus Christ furnishes the only example of a perfect spirit mind, so much so that of him it can be affirmed that he reflected the mental and moral attributes of Yahweh.
"I and my Father are one" (John x. 30). But the mind of the spirit can neither be developed nor maintained without effort. It is contrary to the flesh, with the result that opposition and warfare will be the lot of the man who -undertakes to subject the spirit of disobedience which is in the flesh, to the discipline of the Spirit Word. Dr. Thomas renders this point as follows in Elpis Israel (Robert Roberts' Edition) page 123 :" Although a sinner may have been delivered from the power of darkness, or ignorance; and have been translated into (Col. 1.13) the hope of the Kingdom of God and of his Christ (Rev. xi. 15), by faith in the Divine testimony and baptism into Christ yet, if he turn his thoughts back into his own heart, and note the impulses which work there, he will perceive a something that, if he were to yield to it, would impel him to the violation of the Divine law. These impulses are styled the motions of sin (Rom. vii. 6).
Before he was enlightened they worked in his members until they were manifested in evil action or sin, which is termed bringing forth fruit unto death. The remote cause of these motions is that physical principle or quality of the flesh styled indwelling sin, which returns the mortal body to the dust; and that which excites the latent disposition is the law of God forbidding to do thus and so, for I had not known sin but by the law".
Now while a righteous man feels this law involuntarily at work in his members, the law of sin or of nature within him, he also perceives there a something which condemns the motions of sin, and suppresses them; so that they shall not impel him to what he ought not to do. The best of men, and I quote Paul as an illustration of the class, are conscious of the co-existence of these hostile principles within them. I find, says he, a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. Yes; the principle of evil, and the principle of good, are the two laws which abide in the saints of God so long as they continue subject to mortality ".
With thanks to Brother Stephen Male of the Berean fellowship for supplying this quote
From Phanerosis P92
"that which has been born ek, of, from, or out of, spirit, is spirit;" and as "God is Spirit," is therefore Deity. "The Spirit breathes where he pleases, and thou, Nicodemus, hearest his voice; but thou perceivest not how he is come, and in what he goes away; thus is everyone who has been born of the Spirit." Nicodemus and his contemporaries heard the voice of the Spirit, breathed forth in the words of spirit and life, uttered by Mary's Son, who they knew was a teacher come from God.
But they did not perceive that this teacher was the Eternal Spirit, nor did they comprehend how he came. Judging by flesh-appearances, they only saw Mary's son, as they saw Isaiah or one of the prophets, as teachers from God.
They did not perceive that Jesus was "a body prepared" by special Spirit-creation, the Cherub upon which the effluent power of the Eternal Substance rested; and that upon him, and through him, he walked through the country, breathing forth his voice in the doctrine taught, and his power in the miracles performed.
But man transgressed. He listened to the sophistry of flesh reasoning under the inspiration of its own instincts. He gave heed to this "the thinking of the flesh," or carnal mind, which "is enmity against God, is not subject to His law, neither indeed can be." The desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life, which pertain essentially to all living human, or ground, souls, were stirred up by what he saw and heard; and "he was drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."
His lust having conceived, it brought forth sin in intention; and this being perfected in action, caused death to ensue (James 1:13-15). Every man, says the apostle, is tempted in this way. It is not God, nor the clerical devil that tempts man, but "his own lust," excited by what from without addresses itself to his five senses, which always respond approvingly to what is agreeable to them.
FROM EUREKA - 'THE DIABOLOS
Admin: In the case of the Lord Yahoshua Anointed, he bore our nature - the same propensities and emotional weaknesses as all the sons and daughters of man. He had his own lust/ natural desires (the propensities of sinful flesh) which had to be resisted all the days of his mortality.
As he was entirely spotless in character and holiness he did not generate in his mind sinful thoughts - the carnal mind never developed in the sinless only begotten son of Yahweh who was the express image of his father and always did those things that pleased his father. There was in his case never any intention to sin - he kept his body under. His mind was the holy tabernacle/ dwelling place of Yahweh -
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to come 1852
'Jesus partook of flesh and blood, that THROUGH DEATH, he might destroy that having the power of death, that is, the devil'
There is '... no other devil in the Bible than sin incarnate in flesh and blood, and manifested in the social, and political works of mankind - and no other Satans, than personal, and politically organised, adversaries to the righteous and the truth'. P155.
I remark that in the case of Jesus, diabolos and satan were both concerned. When he was filled with the holy spirit he was led, Mark says 'driven' by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted, or properly, to be put to the proof under sin - hypo tou diabolou. There nature was his nature; for the 'children of God being partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same'. Hence he was sent forth 'in a form of sin's flesh' en homoiomati sarkas harmartias; and thus God made him sin, (that is flesh and blood) for us, and on account of sin, gave judgement against sin in the flesh of Jesus.
The testimonies show that Jesus was 'under sin' as a man under a burden. He groaned under it in painful travail. While among the wild beasts of the wilderness (a similar situation to the first Adam) he felt the danger and desolation of his situation, and the cravings of a long protracted fast. He ate nothing all this time, his life being sustained by the spirit: and at the end became very hungry. Luke terms this, 'being forty days put to the proof under diabolos', or sin; that is, in his case, under the perturbation of weakened flesh and blood. This was before the adversary came to him.
His nature was severely tried during this period and it remained to be seen, whether his flesh thus weakened would stand in the truth; or like Adam's seek present gratification by transgressing the divine law.
The end of the forty days appears to have been the prepared crisis of the trial. At this junction, one came to test him. Jesus styles him, as he termed Peter, 'Satan' that is, adversary. This individual, probably, was an angel; for angels were concerned in the matter, as appears from the testimony; and Paul says, 'the very adversary (Satan) transforms himself into an angel of light', or Knowledge. Christ's visitor was evidently a person of scriptural information; and as he appeared as a tester at a time especially prepared for the trial, I have no doubt he was sent by the same Spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness there to be put to the proof. I conclude then, that he was 'an angel of light.' not shining with brightness; but appearing as a friendly man, well instructed in the word.
Now Luke attributes what this concealed adversary suggested to diabolos, or one causing to transgress, but in this case without success; for they were suggestions to Jesus under the workings of sin's flesh, seeing that 'he was in all things put to the proof according to the likeness without offence.' The visitor, though styled 'devil,' was not diabolos within as in our case, but an excitant thereof; in 'the likeness,' or sin's flesh; therefore his sayings are recorded as those of diabolos. Jesus being begotten of God, as was Adam the first likewise, and not of the will of sin's flesh, the promptings to transgression did not proceed from within. In this form of sin's flesh he assumed, differed from the form we possess. The promptings in our case do often proceed from within.
In the two Adams they came from without - from the serpent in the one case; and from the angel of light in the other. These occupied for the time the position of the then as yet unbegotten diabolos relatively to their flesh, till the lust they might excite should by the strength thereof bring forth sin, when their personal missions would be terminated, and sin enthroned as the conceived diabolos of the form, or likeness of sin's flesh.
In the second Adam's case the testing adversary failed to move him from the stand he had taken of absolute obedience to the will of God, whatever might ensue. He appealed to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, but all without effect.
The law of the spirit of life was too strong within him for these appeals. He extinguished their effect by the word of faith, which was his shield, and emerged from the trial undefiled. The tester of his allegiance then left him; and whatever perturbations may have been excited, it subsided into the peacefulness of a conscience void of offence towards God.
In studying Christ's trial it is important not to forget what I have intimated above about his nature; because it was the point of difference in the nature of the two Adams from ours that caused the ordeals they were subjected to, to assume the forms narrated. No one has ever been put to the proof through a speaking reptile since Adam's fall; nor has anyone been tried by an angel of light since Jesus successfully resisted his suggestions. - Paul's phrase 'in the likeness of sinful flesh' - en homoiomati sarkos hamartias - I have rendered more literally 'in a form of sin's flesh'. Sinful is an adjective expressive of the quality of the 'flesh,' and signifies flesh full of sin. This is a form of flesh common to all mankind, and indicated by Paul in the words, 'in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing'. But Adam's flesh before his fall, and the Christ's flesh, were forms of flesh and blood to which the English word 'sinful' is inapplicable. They were not full of sin. The first Adam's was a form in which there was no sin at all, but only a physical weakness inseparable from flesh and blood. Luke styles him 'Son of God' because he was begotten by his Spirit from mother earth. Having transgressed, his weakness was defiled, and became sin, and his flesh sin's flesh - sarz hamartias - a form afterwards inherited by Abraham in common with all mankind. But Christ's was still another form of sin's flesh than either Abraham's or Adam's before his fall. The homoiomal difference of his flesh from Adam's consisted in its maternity. Adam's came directly from the dust of the ground: Christ's from that form of sin's flesh styled 'the seed of Abraham'. It differed from this, however, in its paternity. Abraham's daughter, Mary, was 'begotten of blood, of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man,' but her son Jesus, of the will of God by his creative power, which constituted him a peculiar form of sin's flesh; and hence the propriety of my more literal rendering of en homoiomati sarkas hamartias - a form of sin's flesh - even the third form under which flesh and blood has been manifested since the creation week.
In Hebrews iv.15 the phrase 'form of sin's flesh' is expressed by the single word homoiotes, 'likeness, resemblance or similitude'; as, kata panta kath, homoioteta, 'in all things according to the likeness.' One thing may resemble another without being identical in every particular. This was the case with Christ's flesh. It was sin's flesh as far as the maternity was concerned, but not as to its fatherhood. In this he differed from the Jews, who had sin's flesh for their parentage on both sides, which they illustrated in their persecution of their maternal brother, who was 'born after the spirit;' thereby proving that they were the children and slaves of their father, sin, or diabolos. Still Christ's paternity did not destroy the physical likeness of his flesh to Abraham's seed; it only removed from it the reigning principle hereditarily transmitted by the will of man, called diabolos, or'devil'. This flesh, however, was still reduced in strength below that of Adam's original nature, because of its maternal defilement.
Hence, to place it on a par with the first Adam's, that their might
be equality of strength, Jesus was anointed, or Christened,
by which he became 'full of the holy spirit'.
This filling did not destroy the homoiotes or likeness to sin's flesh. It was still possible for Christ to feel the full force and influence of sophistical appeals to the lusts of sin's flesh with which he was burdened 'as with a loathesome disease.' Hence says the apostle, 'he was put to the proof in all things or according to the likeness,' or resemblance of his flesh to his brethren's in its susceptibilities, 'without offence'.
There being no reigning diabolos, 'devil', or sin, transmitted by the will of man in Adam or Christ, as in the flesh of all mankind, that causing not to stand in the truth, or diabolos, is in their cases, and in their's alone, to be referred to the Serpent, and the Angel of light.
Isaiah V.2-3 The .spirit of Yahweh shall rest upon him.
God's tabernlacle, dwelling place, the Shekinah glory (CoI.2.9). Divinely begotten and taught of his Father Isa. 54.13, Is.50.4,5), yet not baptised with the Spirit until his baptism at the age of 30 (Jhn.1.33), when he was publicly set forth as Yahweh's Beloved (David), the Holy One of God. This anointing or baptism of the Spirit, conferred upon him all the seven special intellectual and moral powers listed by the prophet: wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and the fear of Yahweh, as well as quick understanding (Mtt.5-7.Mk 12).
All these attributes were necessary to fulfil the Lord's unique role as Saviour and Redeemer of mankind, opening the way of salvation to all flesh (Rom.,3.25). The Lord never judged by the sight of his eyes, the hearing of the ears. ie. not by the natural. faculties or senses or propensities. but always by the Spirit, or Spirit Word, "I and my Father are one."
THE OPERATIONS OF THE DEITY
The Christadelphian, May 1870. p143-151
(The 139th Psalm read).
...Recognising the fact that the language which exhibits the spirit as an actor in the arena of human affairs, originates in the fact of a new volition from the Deity, directed toward our affairs, having taken place since He established the present order of things, we shall find our task greatly simplified in considering that profounder aspect of the matter, already hinted at, viz., the manifestation of God in the flesh
This introduces to notice "the man Christ Jesus," who caused no end of controversy among his contemporaries (John 7:43), and even among his own disciples, (John 6:60) and who has
been the theme of much disputation ever since, even to bloodshed, in accordance with his own statement, "I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword; from henceforth, there shall be division."-(Matt. 10:34).
The secret of this discordant t
endency is doubtless to be found in the inability of most men to grasp the mighty phenomenon of the Creator of all things manifesting Himself in a man, who (though inhabited by the Father, through the spirit,) was yet a distinct person, sustaining the relation of Son to the Father, and having to develop character under trial, like those
he was manifested to redeem.
Speaking of the subject. Paul says: "Great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."-(1 Tim. 3:16.)
Critics have endeavoured to get rid of this verse, substituting for "God" "he who," which would make the verse read "He who was manifested in the flesh." There are some grounds for this emendation; but they are not conclusive. The three most ancient Greek manuscripts extant: Vatican, Sinaitic, and the Alexandrine, all have ὁς instead of θεος: i.e., "he who" instead of "God." The suggestion is, that the introduction of θε before oï~ has been the blunder of a transcriber, or a wilful corruption of the text to support Trinitarianism.
This, however, does not follow.
The three MSS referred to, may themselves be but the perpetuation in the text in question, of a previous corruption, by which θε was dropped. This is the more likely from the circumstance that the Latin Vulgate, on which the English version of the Scriptures is chiefly based, is a translation made from earlier MSS than the date assigned to the three MSS in question, when the translator (Jerome), had a wide range of choice, so far as what would now be very ancient copies of the New Testament are concerned; and this contains the reading given in the English version-"Deus conspicuus factus est in carne." The conflict is between three old MSS. and the version of a man who had opportunity of choosing from a multitude of manuscripts contemporary with these, and who must have had a reason for declining the "He-who" reading, which, by the way, is unsuited to the context. The correct reading is as likely to be on one side as the other.
However, it does not much affect the argument on the main question, because although the words, as they stand in the common version, give a concise definition of the mystery of godliness, and a good starting point for the consideration of the subject, they are not essential for the demonstration of the subject itself, because the fact that God was manifested in Christ is testified in too many ways to leave it dependent upon a single text.
Thus John, in his first epistle, defines the matter in the following words: "That which was from the beginning which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and our hands have handled, of the word of life, for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was the Father, and was manifested unto us."
This is only in another form what John says in the first chapter of his gospel: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
These two testimonies, of themselves, uphold the probability that Paul in 1 Timothy 3:6, wrote the verse as Jerome gives it. However, the great question is, what is it that these verses describe? They describe a phase of "the man Christ Jesus," which was not apparent to those who looked upon his exterior, or to use his own words, who "judged after the flesh."
(Judging after the flesh - seeing a man in common flesh and not recognising he was the logos - Deity inhabiting sin's flesh, The Lord Yahoshua the mental and moral image of his father).
What phase was this? The history of Jesus, as recorded in the gospels, supplies the answer, and the answer begins at the beginning of his history. Luke tells us that the angel Gabriel came to Mary, and said unto her; "Thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and call his name Jesus." Mary is surprised, and asks how this can be, seeing she is a virgin.
The answer to this is (verse 35, chap. 1.) "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore, also, that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." In this, we have a literal definition of the thing referred to in more obscure terms in the other verses I have quoted. Let us consider what it involves.
The child born was the offspring of the Spirit as well as of the flesh and blood of Mary. This cannot be denied in the face of the statement of the angel, that because the Spirit-which is God-should come upon her, therefore, the child to be born should be Son of God. And being the offspring of the Spirit, does it not stand to reason that though a man, he was a different "manner of man" from what we are?-the very same nature physically, because made out of the nature of Mary, and, therefore, as Paul says "he took not upon him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham-partaking of flesh and blood, forasmuch as the children were partakers thereof (Heb. 2:14, ) made of the seed of David, according to the flesh."-(Rom. 1:2, "of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came."-(Rom. 9:5.)
Yet in so far as the energy, power, or spirit, underlying his flesh nature was concerned, he was higher than we. He was human nature in the hand of the God of Israel, for its condemnation, in order to salvation. He was a man, yet God manifest in the flesh by the Spirit. This is the testimony, and agrees with our conceptions of what must have been the result of such an operation as that recorded by Luke in connection with Mary.
The impregnation of a human ovum by the Spirit must have resulted in a very different child from that which is born of the will of the flesh.
The argument set against this, by those who contend for Jesus being "a mere man," ignores an important aspect of divine operation. The argument is this: that as the Spirit has created flesh and blood-men and animals-without infusing into them a divine element, so may the Spirit have begot Jesus, without imparting anything beyond the qualities appertaining to men in general.
If the Spirit were a mere mechanical agent, like the elements of chemistry, there would be force in this argument; but the Spirit is the Eternal Essence-God-the First Cause, and, consequently, the vehicle of the Eternal Wisdom and purpose. The results of its operation are, consequently, according to the divine purpose.
By the same Spirit, endless diversity of result is developed. Thus, in the apostolic ecclesias, there were "diversities of gifts, but the same spirit."-(Cor. 12:4.) In creation, there is infinite variety of life and nature, but all existing in and produced by the same spirit, which determines the constitution of anything by its own will.
Now, applying this principle to the matter in hand, the question is, What was the result, divinely contemplated, in the conception of Jesus? Was it not the bringing about of the thing imported by the name bestowed upon the child-Emmanuel? (God with us)- the manifestation of God in our nature, resulting in a man, who, though a man, was "the arm of the Lord" (Isaiah 53:1), stretched out in love for our salvation from death?
If this is admitted-and it cannot be otherwise-then it follows that the interposition of the Spirit, in the way announced by Gabriel, produced a higher result than when it merely operates for the creation of an animal. It introduced "the Word made flesh" the God of Israel in flesh-manifestation, through the Spirit: a man, therefore, in such sympathetic relation to Deity as to be, in his mental relations, a very different man from us, who are merely of the earth, earthy.
This difference is put forward by John the Baptist, who was sent to prepare his way: "He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all; he that is of the earth is earthy, and speaketh of the earth; he that cometh from heaven is above all."-(John 3:30, 31.)
The difference is manifest in all his history. Angels celebrated his birth on the plains of Bethlehem; a star guided the wise men of the east to his cradle; the Spirit detained Simeon till he put his eyes upon the babe which was declared to him to be "the Lord's Christ;" at twelve, the child confounded the doctors of the law in the temple, and was even then bent upon "his Father's business."
The difference becomes more and more apparent at every step. Did there ever live another man, who could say to those who knew him, "Which of you convinceth me of sin?"-(John 8:46.)
People may quarrel as to what the difference consisted in; but that there was a difference cannot be denied; and if there was any difference at all, there may have been great difference, so far as the principle is concerned. This was a man who spake as never man spake. Where did the difference lie? In his parentage, for he was a child of the Spirit, on his Father's side, and of the flesh on his mother's side. See the statement of the angel to Joseph when he was about to put Mary away, being found with child: "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit."
Shall it be said that he was the child of the Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit was not with him in his childhood? Why even John, the forerunner of Jesus, was "filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb." This is the testimony of Luke 1:15. If this was the case with John, who said he was not worthy to stoop down and loose the shoe latchet of him whose way he was sent to prepare, on what principle shall we deny it was the case with him who was greater than John?
If it is denied, the manifestation of God is denied; and there is then a want of explanation as to the sort of man Jesus grew into; for, let this fact be noticed, that the human brain, however well organised, brings no wisdom into the world. It is like a clean sheet of paper:
there is nothing written upon it. Wisdom is only acquired by experience, and does not always
come then. When it does come, it comes late. It is never first. As Solomon says, "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child." Many blunders pave the way to what little wisdom we may ever attain to.
Now, if Jesus in his infantile stage was purely and merely human, how comes it he never fell into sin? Good organisation does not explain it, because organisation of itself is neutral; good
organisation is as ready to sin as bad organisation, in the absence of knowledge and experience.
There is only one explanation to it, and that is also furnished by Luke (ii. 40), The grace of God was upon him," which is equivalent to being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Someone may say "Then there was no difference between him and John, who was also "filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb." If the begettal of Jesus is left out of account, this would follow; but with that in view, the great difference is visible: for while John was merely a natural man, acted upon from without by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was that Holy Spirit veiled in flesh, as it were, placed among men for the accomplishment of the mighty work which his Father had given him to do.
Here someone else may say, "If that be so, how can he be to us an example?"
Now, what is that question based upon? I think we shall see it is based upon a great fallacy. To manifest the fallacy of this assumption, we have only to ask, was he-even with the view of him taken by those who use such an argument-in all respects as weak as we? Had he not, even on their theory, a higher moral and intellectual energy? Do they not admit that in his conception of the Holy Spirit, he received a start that we never receive; and that, during his public career, in which his example alone is manifest, he had a power we never have, even the power of the Holy Spirit without measure?
These things are without dispute, and, therefore, the fallacy of the objection is demonstrated. Jesus was our example, in the sense of being a character for us to copy, but for the production of such a character, the Father himself had to interfere by the Spirit. He saw there was no man: therefore, Hisown arm brought salvation.
This is the great aspect in which Jesus is to be contemplated-the doing for us, by Almighty power, that which we could not do for ourselves, that the excellency might be of God, and not of man-that salvation might not be by works which we have done, but by the grace or favour of Eternal Wisdom, that no flesh should glory in His sight. On this principle, the man Christ
Jesus is "counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house: for every house is builded by some man, but he that built all things is God. (Hebrews 3:3.")
The relation between the Father in heaven and the Spirit Universal is inscrutable, and, for that
reason, there is in Jesus, who was inhabited by the Spirit, an element that is inscrutable. We
perceive the evidence of it in the fact that those who heard him speak, strove about the meaning of what he said. He said "I came from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me."
It cannot be said of any of us that we came down from heaven. And because those who heard
the statement were ignorant of the nature of Jesus, they did not see how it could be said of him: "He that cometh from above," "Ye are from beneath," he said at another time: "I am from above;" which is the contrast that Paul draws in saying "The first man is of the earth; earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven."
Now, in what sense did Jesus come from heaven? To this, there can be but one answer. It was not "the man Christ Jesus" who came down from heaven, for that man was born in Bethlehem. It was the power embodied in that man that came down from heaven, even the Holy Spirit, who came upon Mary according to the words of the angel, and afterwards descended upon Jesus in visible form at his baptism in the Jordan, and abode upon him.
Remembering that the Holy Spirit is one with the Father, we can see how the birth and baptism of Jesus constituted a manifestation of the Father. The illustration of the jet of flame in relation to the light irradiated from it, will help us here. What the Father does by His Spirit, He does by himself. Thus He dwelt in Jesus, and spoke by him, and worked by him. This enables us to see how, although Jesus is the Son and a separate person, he is God. He is the arm of Yahweh outstretched toward us in love.
The Jews did not recognise this arm in Jesus. Let us be wiser than they. There were two persons; there was the man Jesus. This is what he says: "Is it not written in your law, the testimony of two men is true. I am one that beareth witness, and the Father who sent me" is another.-(Jno. 8:18.) "Of mine own will, I did not come." "Of mine own self, I can do nothing." "The doctrine that I speak I speak not of myself." "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me." Nevertheless, let us not exclude the other aspect, viz., that Jesus and the Father, by the Spirit, were one; that he was the mouth and arm of God in a more vital sense than the prophets.
You see this when you look at the man Christ Jesus, who had only been alive about 33 years, standing over Jerusalem, and saying "Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and ye would not."
These were not the words of the man who spoke them, who had never sought to "gather" the nation of Israel, but on the contrary had shrunk from the opportunities afforded him in that direction. (Jno.6:15. Luke 12:14.) They were the words of the God of Israel, who, through many messengers, over a long series of generations, had offered national consolidation and protection on condition of obedience. yet, observe, Jesus did not preface the words, by "thus saith the Lord," because he himself was that Lord in manifestation.
In this we see a difference between him and the prophets. "The Father dwelleth in me," saith Jesus. This could not the prophets say. He also said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father;" this could not the prophets say. It is never said of the prophets that they were Immanuel, or that they were the "word made flesh," because they were only the instruments made use of by the Spirit outside themselves, whereas Jesus was our nature taken hold
of by the Spirit as it were, and used as the antitypical mercy-seat, though, as over which, the Spirit communed with men. But there did come a time, when that Spirit that had begot him, by means of which he was one with the Eternal Father, was withdrawn, and when he hung a helpless human being on the cross. This was the Son who 'died for us." The Father did not die, for that is an impossibility; Christ died, and in this was the love of God manifested (Rom. 5:8).
The Son did not preexist from all eternity. The Father did. There is only one God, and He is the Father. Distinct from Him (though one with Him), there is the Son of God, the man Christ Jesus. He who is our High Priest, our Elder Brother, the Captain of our Salvation, had no individual pre-existence. Yet how can you separate him from the pre-existent power constituting him such-the power that produced him, the
power that was in him, of which he is the expression, and of which he is the mouth-piece? He was, if you may say so, a divine phenomenon in flesh-an individual manifestation of the spirit in the flesh; and as the Spirit is one with universal power, and wisdom, having source in the Father, can you not see that there is an inscrutable connection between the man Christ Jesus and the power whose views and purposes he came to accomplish; so that when John the Baptist went out preaching, to pave the way for his introduction to Israel, he was preparing "the way of Yahweh."
consider that Jesus was the manifestation of Yahweh by that Spirit which in its immensity is
Yahweh , there is no difficulty; but if you exclude the Spirit, then the subject is all in mist. Somebody will say. "Oh, the Spirit came at his baptism." Yes; but it came before then; it came upon Mary; and it cannot be that a high cause is brought to bear to produce no result. The result was to introduce, incipiently, the manifestation styled Emmanuel, and this result appeared in the babe Christ. For he was proclaimed to be "the Lord's Christ" (anointed) from his mother's womb. The angels that came to the shepherds on the plains of Bethlehem, said:
"Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." And also it is written that to Simeon, who came in when the child Jesus came to be circumcised, it had been revealed that he should not see death till he had seen the Lord's anointed, the Christ; and when he had seen the babe, he said "Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." The Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism, in token that he was the Christ. This was the testimony of John: "There standeth one among you whom ye know not. He it is who, coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoes' latchet I am not worthy to unloose. . . . And I knew him not, but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come, baptizing with water. . . . He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he that baptizeth with the Holy Spirit."-(John 1:26-33.)
The visible descent of the Spirit was then a public identification of the Messiah, as well as a bestowal of a higher degree of power than was conferred by his spiritual origin. Let those who think that the presence of the Spirit with him during the first thirty years of his life, unfitted him to be an example, consider this, that the Spirit, as they are obliged to admit, was with him when he was tempted in the wilderness. If then the presence of the Spirit, at that crisis, is no barrier to his being considered an example, why should it be considered so in the case of his earlier years?
If it is a barrier in the one case, it is a barrier in the other. If you are to say that, at any stage, there was no spirit with him, because of his being an example, you are bound to deny the presence of the Spirit, at all stages: for, at all stages, he was an example. And this is indeed what some would go to the length of doing, and say that the things performed by Jesus were not performed by his individual volition, but by the Father in heaven, in answer to Christ's prayer.
This is dangerous speculation, which cuts at the root of that unity by Spirit-inhabitation which Jesus affirms to subsist between himself and the Father. Jesus was "God with us." When the immensity of God is realized, there is no difficulty in understanding this, so far as it is possible to understand such a matter; but when people restrict the person and presence of God to heaven, they create a difficulty for themselves. When we realize the fact that God is an
immeasurable being, filling all space by His Spirit, we can comprehend how the man Christ Jesus could be He in manifestation. This is a different idea from Trinitarianism, and presents both Father
and Son in a beautiful aspect. The God of Israel manifested in our nature for our salvation, is a very different spectacle from an eternal Son incarnate to appease the wrath of the Eternal Father. This is the great ugliness of Trinitarianism, that it represents one God, more loving than another God, coming to suffer the penalty due to somebody else, in order that those under penalty may escape from the less loving God. The truth of the matter is, that the whole scheme emanates from the Father himself; that the Son did not come separately from the Father, because there was no Son existent so to come.
The Son is the Father himself manifested by the Spirit; and hence it is that he is
placed before us as the name of "the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," all in one person, so that in being baptised into the Christ, we are baptised into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The three converge in Jesus of Nazareth, he being the Father, manifested by the Spirit, in the Son.
Yet, after all said and done, though we approximate thus closely to an apprehension of the matter, there is a greatness in it that compels us to take David's position, when he said, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me." Our understanding is very limited, and the capacity of the common run is totally unequal to the mighty thought; minds that are only accustomed to consider the relation of one piece of wood to another, or of house to land, or of even man to man-minds that deal only in the superficial relations of things-will fail to rise up to the great idea of God manifested in the flesh.
Jesus says that all men do not believe; Paul said, "All men have not faith." Some men cannot receive the truth.
Those who have minds capable of it, will. In the parable of the sower, the seed fell into
various kinds of ground. Some had no root in themselves. Some had no understanding to
comprehend the word. But those who had understanding, and bring that understanding to bear on the Scriptures, will be able to see the great glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, beginning with his conception as a babe, and ending with his being changed unto that glorious spirit-nature, of which we, having no experience, can have no idea, but of which, in the mercy of God, we hope to taste in the day of the manifestation of the Sons of God.
The Christadelphian May, 1870
• In regard to the wilderness temptation of the Lord, we agree with Brethren J.
Thomas, R. Roberts and H. P. Mansfield in believing that the description of the
Devil/Satan must relate to a personal tempter who confronted the Master after
the forty days, and who played on the Lord's circumstances for his (and his associates) wicked designs.
Those who suggest that the Devil/Satan was the actual mind of the Lord
by which he tempted himself to sin, must claim that Jesus developed the carnal mind of the flesh, which is declared to be at moral enmity against God (Rom. 8:6). If we enjoy the mental temptations to sin, is that not sin? Even the very thought of foolishness is sin (Pro. 24:9).
Further, a simple reading of the accounts indicates that the tempter "came"
and "left". This indicates an experience in which someone known as the Devil/Satan came to speak to the Lord, and left "for a season" (a period), and those periods are indicated in the Gospel records, when they again "tempted him" from time to time. When it says that the Devil/Satan was to return at a later season it cannot refer to the mind of a person, which is always part of his
About the same time, leaders from Jerusalem came to John Baptist (Jn. 1:19),
when the "Lamb of God" appeared out of the wilderness, and John is specific about the events of the first, second, third day, etc. If the representative of the Jewish leaders said to the Lord:
"Submit your power to us, and we will give you the kingdoms of the world, as prophesied in the Hebrew prophets"
he could have pressed the prophetic intent that Messiah would have the kingdoms of the world. They were anxious that the Messiah would co-operate
with them to remove the Roman oppression and obtain the kingdoms of the world at that time. The only alternative would be to claim that Jesus said (in effect): "If I bow down to myself, I will give myself the kingdoms of the world."
But if he already had that power (in order to give it to himself), it would be
a curious temptation indeed. If he did not have the power, it was a mere impossibility, a mere verbal debate.
Matthew 26 does not indicate that the Lord desired to frustrate the divine purpose
of sacrifice in order to avoid offering himself as a sacrifice for sin - for the Scriptures clearly required such an offering from the beginning of the creation. Certainly he had available the legions of angels, with which he will come the second time, but stating a fact does not indicate that this was his will to call upon the angels in order to avoid the one great offering he was required to perform. To refuse the sacrifice on the tree would have been a sin of great moment by
which the blessing of Abraham would never be obtained (Gal. 3:13-14).
Surely, this is his determination: "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say?
Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour". Would we say, "Father, I do not wish to be baptised; save me from the moment of baptism"?
Would we say, "we do not wish to be a living sacrifice"? Such would be wicked,
and if Jesus wanted to avoid his one great offering, it would have been a wicked
thought, and the "thought of foolishness is sin."
Instead he declared: "But I have a baptism to be baptised with; and how am I
straitened till it be accomplished!"
Without doubt, the Lord, so aware of the fulfilment of every type and shadow since the days of creation, and knowing he was the "Lamb to be slain from the foundation of the world" "set his face to go to Jerusalem" knowing what would befall him there. And he was a willing offering, surely.
If Jesus knew that what he requested would mean that the scripture would be
broken, unfulfilled, what a wicked request that would be! Why should he pray three times for the Father to permit him to avoid his responsibility. Would we dare pray the Father even once, that we might be allowed to avoid our responsibility in baptism and true service?
A better declaration is: "Father take this cup from me" (which means he was
already drinking of it, and had been typically drinking since he shared the wine with his disciples a few hours earlier as a token of his sacrifice), but he was prepared to complete the drinking of the cup (the sacrificial cup of suffering) for as long as the Father determined: "not my will but Thine be done"! But because the Father always heard His Son, He answered His Son, whose distress was terminated earlier - and strangely so - earlier than what might have been expected (John 19:33).
In death the cup was taken, and the symbolic blood wine pouring out completed.
Surely this is the cup we drink in memorial. If we were to say, "Father I do not wish to eat the bread or drink the wine, nor to be a living sacrifice... as it is
inconvenient" would this not be a sin?
Finally, since the Lord did not possess the carnal mind, and therefore, unlike us,
was not "double-minded", to suggest that he willingly tempted himself to sin, only
so that he could refuse himself in a verbal exchange, does not seem to fit the terms of
"Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2).
If the mind of Christ was that of a Devil/Satan, as the tempter in the wilderness is described, then surely that is not the "mind of Christ" Paul urges us to
possess, for we already possess the carnal mind, and wish to be rid of it as soon as possible. As Yahshua was the "Word made flesh," that Word dominated him always, so let this mind be in us also. - Editor
From the Logos Magazine Sept 2017
(Reprinted with Permission)
"Jesus was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death."
The term "lower" can only be understood in reference to body; for the character of Jesus was quite equal to that of the angels, inasmuch as
"he did no sin, and in his mouth no guile was found."
And it is also evident that this is the intended sense, from the connection in which it stands to suffering death. Had Jesus been made equal to, instead of
"lower than the angels,"
it would have been impossible for him to suffer death. For Jesus himself teaches that the angels are immortal, and cannot die any more."-(Luke 20:35, 36.)
He was, however, made only a "little lower," and that little pertains to his nature only. The necessity for the mortality of the Messiah is apparent. Could he not have died in the real and true sense of the word, sin could not have been overcome by him, and hence, as touching man's redemption, he would have been of no avail.
So that there was a great mercy in making him "lower than the angels," whom he equalled in other respects. The apostle remarks this mercy in these words,
"that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."-(Heb. 2:9.)
No other than the mortal nature could have tasted death. To "lay down his life" would have been an impossibility under any other arrangement. And if no death, no resurrection; and if no resurrection of Jesus, the dead in hope of life would have been dead for ever.
"I am the resurrection and the life."-(John 11:25.)
Paul exults over the death and resurrection, but more especially the latter, inasmuch as the other could not have profited without it. He says
"It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again."-(Rom. 8:34.)
When the words "sin" and "death" are Scripturally apprehended, the work which the Father gave Jesus to do is seen to require him to be of the same formation as those in whose behalf he came.
"He that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified are all of one (nature); for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren"-(Heb. 2:11.)
As the children are, so is the parent.
"Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same."
Lest there should be any misunderstanding about this, the apostle adds,
"he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham."
It is manifest, then, that the bodily nature of Jesus was clothed with weakness. Of himself, he could do nothing. Where then lay the strength to unlock the gates of the grave? Where was concealed the power on earth to forgive sins and to raise the dead? For it is this that must be known before there can be intelligent and saving faith and hope in Christ.
The answer is that the power lay in the character which was
"without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." "I do not mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me." "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done." "He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
In all this, Jesus was not like his brethren.
"Sin is the transgression of law," and the wages of sin is death." And without a redeeming power, it is death from which there is no return
"None of the rich can be any means redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him, that he should still live for ever, and not see corruption."-(Psalm 49:7, 9.)
Though poorer than the birds and the foxes, the riches of Jesus far exceeded gold or rubies, or anything that could be compared thereunto. Hence, he could buy that for which the silver and the gold, and the cattle of a thousand hills would have counted no more than dross. He had a right to life, for he had never forfeited it by the transgression of law. "He did no sin," and hence deserved no death.
He was cut off, but not for himself." "For he had nothing in him." As a matter of law and justice, therefore, he could not remain in the grave. "It was not possible, " says Peter, "that he should be holden of it." His perfection of character is, doubtless, to be referred to the fact that God was his Father, and not man. For never, in all the untold millions of our race, has appeared such a man as he. This was abundantly confessed by foes as well as friends. "Truly," said the centurion and the Roman guard who were with him,
"this was the Son of God!"
Ambassador of the coming age, Jan 1869.
One Deity In Multiplicity
'The New Man of the Spirit is the mental likeness of God in Christ photographed, so to speak, on the fleshly table or sensorium'
'Speaking of the Unveiled Father-Spirit, Paul says in Heb. 1:2, 3, that the Son is the Character of his Hypostasis, rendered, in the common version, "express image of his person."
The Son is the character or exact representation, and the Father is the hypostasis. In reference to the former, the Father says, in Zech 3:9: "Upon One Stone there shall be Seven Eyes; behold I will engrave the graving thereof (that is, of the stone), saith He who shall be hosts." The graving engraved on the stone is termed, in Greek, character, an impress wrought into a substance after some archetype or pattern. The archetype is the hypostasis, so that hypostasis is the basis or foundation of character; wherefore the same apostle in Col. 1:15, styles the character engraved the "Image" of Theos the Invisible (eikon tou Theou tou aoratou).
Seth was the image of Adam, and Adam, the image of Elohim (Gen. 1:26; 5:3). Like Seth, Jesus was an image of Adam, but only in relation to flesh. Adam the First was the image of Elohim, and this was in relation to bodily form'.
" THE PRE-EMINENCE OF
A SUNDAY MORNING
EXHORTATION BY BRO. R. ROBERTS.
1889 PAGE 27
BELOVED BRETHREN AND SISTERS, -Christ was more than man. We may overlook this in the efforts which have rid us of the false conceptions derived from "the vain traditions of our forefathers". He was a man, but a man who was the vehicle of a manifestation of God, and that God the eternal God, even the Father. The manifestation was a progressive one, but real at every stage-fainter at the beginning than at the end. A rose in the bud is as really a rose in nature as when it is full blown. The babe that received the adorations of the wise men of the East, and whose birth was that same night angelically signalised on the plains of Bethlehem, was as really the manifestation of the name of the Father as the glorified man who felled Saul of Tarsus to the earth with his brightness. The difference was a difference of degree. The Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary gave the impress, which laid the foundation of the manifestation to be made. But for this impress there never would have appeared in Israel such a man as Jesus of Nazareth. There never would have come the Lamb of God without spot. Poor Adamic flesh, in which dwelleth no good thing, never could have yielded such a perfect character as that of Jesus, unless the Father had taken hold of it and wrought it for us into such a pattern. It is "of God, that he (Christ) is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption". This in no way excludes the fact that the perfect man so made for us was of the same physical nature, and put to the proof, and in all points tempted like as we are. Without temptation, the perfection of the result would not have been manifest. The best of characters even among men, are not pronounced or seen to be the best till they have come through the fire. And it was needful for the perfection of this most glorious of the works of God upon earth, that in suffering, its excellencies should be tested and made manifest.
But though put to the proof, it was in itself the excellent thing God had made it- a pattern of His own Character, the exhibition of His own excellence, the interposition of His own power and kindness for the salvation of His people from their sins. At thirty years of age, with the maturity of developed manhood and the anointing of the Holy Spirit in abiding fulness, the manifestation entered upon a fuller phase; but it was the same manifestation, the manifestation of God among men: the exhibition of the Word made flesh- a man who was one with the Father-sanctified and sent forth into the world by the Father, for the manifestation of the Father's name and the accomplishment of the Father's work. When his work in the flesh was accomplished-when having, through the Eternal Spirit, offered himself on the cross, without spot unto God (Hebrews 9: 14)-he was raised from the dead and glorified, and transformed into luminous and powerful spirit-substance, the manifestation of the Father's name was complete, with the result of giving to mankind such a head as their every need calls for-a head that appeals to every sympathy and strikes the chord of our deepest admirations, and evokes our highest praise. Talk of "heroes"! They are mostly figments of the imagination. The Gentile gods are stucco when you come close to them. The excellencies of Christ are such as grow in brightness in proportion to our contact and acquaintance with them. They cannot be exhausted: they cannot be exaggerated. "The fulness of the Godhead bodily" is the only description that at all approaches an accurate description. The divine origin of Christ supplies an explanation of every phase in which the Gospel narratives exhibit the Lord Jesus Christ, and every utterance that came out of his mouth. They give the key that is beyond the reach alike of those who consider him to have been a mere man, and those whose theology compels them to describe him as eternal God. They account to us for what appear otherwise to be contradictions. They explain to us why in a man, the deportment of God is visible to us; why in sinful flesh, a sinless character was evolved; why in the impotent seed of Abraham, the power of Abraham's God should be shown; why a man born as a babe in Bethlehem should speak of having come down from heaven; why a man not forty years of age should speak as if he had been contemporary with Abraham; why a man should at once be David's son and David's lord; why a man of our own flesh and blood should assume the authority that belongs to God only, saying, "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well, for so I am"; why of a man it should be said that the world was made by him; that he dwelt in the bosom of the Father, and that he was the image of the invisible God, by whom and for whom all things had been created. They explain to us, at the same time, why such a man should say, "Of mine own self I can do nothing": "My Father is greater than I": "I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in" His love ": "My God, why hast Thou forsaken me" They show us that there is only one God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that whatever in Christ's sayings seemed to indicate another God, was referable to the Father in him, whose Son and medium and power he was, and in no way inconsistent with the fact that Jesus was but His Son, in loving submission to all His commandments. GOD WAS IN CHRIST.
From Eureka - A son who learned obedience
Another reason why the Word assumed a lower nature than the Elohistic was, that a basis of future perfection might be laid in obedience under trial. Jesus has been appointed Captain of our Salvation in the bringing of many sons to glory. Now, these sons in the accident of birth are all "subject to vanity, with inveterate propensities and relative enticements, inciting and tempting them to sin.
A captain, therefore, whose nature was primarily consubstantial with the Deity, could not be touched with the feeling of their infirmities. He would be essentially holy and impeccable, and, of necessity, good. But a necessitated holiness and perfection are not the basis of exaltation to the glories of the Apocalypse. These are to be attained only by conquest of self under trial from without, by which "they come out of great tribulation."-(Apoc. 7:14.)
Its promises are to those who overcome as their Captain has overcome, when it can be said his victory is apocalyptically complete."-(Apoc. 21:11, 15.) Hence, then, it became the Deity to make the Captain of His many sons perfect through sufferings; and to effect this, he must be of their primary nature, that when the Great Captain and his associates shall rejoice together in the consubtantiality of the Deity, they may all have attained to it upon the principle of voluntary obedience, motived by faith, and maintained in opposition to incitements within and enticements and pressure from without. The flesh is, therefore, a necessary basis for this; and, making it possible for him to be tempted in all points according to the flesh-likeness, without sin. Hence, though the Son of the Deity, and heir of all things, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered, and, being made perfect, he became the author of Aion salvation unto all them that obey him.-Hebrews 4:15; 5:8.
Perfection (of character and substance) then, is the consummation predetermined by the Deity in his manifestation by Spirit in Jesus and his brethren. In his wisdom, which is "first pure," he requires perfection of character first, and as a recompense for this, he confers perfection of substance, or consubstantiality with himself-this was the order of the divine manifestation in the son of David's daughter; who is the great model after which the One Yahweh Elohistic development is to be apocalysed. Perfection of character was first manifested in Jesus, who was faultless before the Deity.
The character of Jesus was the character of the Deity - a mirror in which was reflected the moral attributes peculiar to him, the Word, before manifestation in flesh. Nevertheless, though Jesus could truly say, I always do these things which please the Father, yet he said, "there is none good but the Deity," nor am I yet perfect. He testified his own imperfection in declaring that he could of his own self do nothing; that he must die; and that he would be perfected in the third day of his mission.
Jesus, then, like all his brethren, is to be considered in two states, each state having a nature peculiar to it. In the former state, "he was crucified through weakness," but in the after state, wherein he now is, "he liveth by the power of the Deity."-(2 Cor. 13:4.) In the former state, the flesh was "the filthy garments" with which the Spirit Word was clothed Zech. 3:3), "the iniquity of us all that was laid upon him, "the soul made an offering for sin."-(Isaiah 53:6, 10.)
But, as he now is, the filthy garments have been taken away, "his iniquity has passed from him," and he is clothed with "change of raiment." His flesh thus designated has been subjected to the transforming energy of the radiant power of the Eternal Spirit. By this energy, his flesh has been transformed into Spirit, styled by Paul, πνευμα αγιωσυνης, Spirit of Holiness. That is, a nature in which there is no filthiness of flesh or spirit. It is, therefore, Holy Spirit nature, a nature generated out of the Free Spirit radiant from the Eternal Substance.
From Eureka Vol. 1
In our remarks on "Jesus," referred to above, we have spoken of the etymology of his name. We repeat, that it signifies, He shall be; and in the form ani Yahweh signifies, I, the Spirit, am He who
shall be. The individual who was to be-he who was promised to Eve in Gen. 3:15; to Abraham in
Gen. 15:4, 21:12; to Judah in Gen. 49:10; to David in 2 Sam. 7:12-14; Isa. 9:6, 7, -was the personage indicated by Yahweh, He shall be-styled in Hebrew, the Messiah; in Greek, the Christ; and in English, the Anointed.
Now, the Spirit said by the prophets, I shall be he; and here, in the
Apocalypse, we find the Spirit and Jesus speaking as one.
Now, "the Seed of Abraham," genealogically considered, must partake of Abraham's nature-must partake of flesh and blood. The Spirit, therefore, in effect said, I shall become flesh and blood.
But how could this be? The answer to this is, that the fact depends not upon our ability to explain the mode in which spirit may be elaborated into flesh and blood. The Bible testifies that all things are out of Deity, who is Spirit. The Eternal power formed Adam out of dust. Spirit is the basis of all created things; and according to the will of the Creator, becomes rock, dust, sea, vegetable, and animal, in all their diversity of form and beauty.
All the resurrected who shall be approved, will become spirit, "for that which is begotten of the spirit is spirit;" begotten subsequently to the post resurrectional appearance at Christ's tribunal. If, then, flesh and blood thus become spirit (and some flesh and blood will become spirit without tasting of death, Paul says), why may not spirit become flesh and blood? It is but a reversal of results from a change of process.
The name, then, in connection with the testimony of the prophets, indicates a conversion of spirit into flesh and blood, developed by the formative power of the Eternal, independently of and apart
from the will of man. In the case of the first Adam, spirit, as it were leaven, mingled formatively with dust, and a flesh and blood man was developed, styled "Son of God;" but in the case of the second
Adam, spirit acted upon the nervous system of Mary, as it had previously done upon Sarah, and Hannah, but to a further degree (for in these it had only imparted strength for conception according
to nature)-in that it operated germinatively upon the contents of Mary's ovarium; and caused an ovum, or "seed of the woman" to be deposited in her womb; here, as the spirit-germ of the second
man, it remained the usual "set time," subject to the laws of the animal economy.
At the appointed time it was born the babe of Bethlehem, and duly named Jesus, or He who should save-both "Son of God" and "Son of Man," which the first Adam was not. Adam was Son of God and Son of the Dust; Jesus was Son of God and Son of Man, being a creation of the Eternal power from the substance of
Such was the babe Jesus in preparation for the sacrificial man. His germination was irrespective of the lust of the flesh,-the propensity was excited in the first Adam by his guilty companion, and of which Cain was the first fruit. In this particular, the generation of Jesus was different from that of all other men. If Joseph had been his father, he would have been born of blood, of the will of the flesh, and of man, instead of the Spirit. He would have been son of man only, and not son of God; and, consequently, would not have answered to the testimony of the name. . . . .
To understand the Yahweh name, as exhibited in the writings of the prophets, is to "know the joyful sound," to believe the "gospel of the Deity which he had promised before by the prophets in the holy Scriptures," concerning His Son, the Christ, made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and constituted son
of Deity in power according to the Spirit of holiness (Rom. 1:1-4); and to understand the same name historically and doctrinally expounded, as it is in the New Testament, is to understand "the things concerning the kingdom of the Deity, and the name of Jesus Anointed" of the Spirit-(Acts 8:12).
In the teaching of Jesus, "the name," "the gospel," and the kingdom of the Deity are interchangeably used.
"CHRIST THE POWER OF GOD AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD",
THE CHRISTADELPHIAN VOL 11, 1874
W.R.-It is not the mode but the fact of God-manifestation through Christ that
is important to be recognised. If a man have faith in the fact, it matters not
that he be unable to explain it. At the same time, if his recognition of the
fact be linked with a theory that brings Christ to the level of a mere man, the
value of his recognition is destroyed, because that recognition is then a
matter of mere words and not of enlightened conviction. To say that Jesus was
by divine begettal only in a higher degree what his brethren are by the
enlightenment of the truth as regards 26 the "inner man," is to deny the divine
definitions of him. John declares him to have been "the word of life," which
had been from the beginning with the Father, and was manifested unto them,-(1
John 1:1.) In no "degree" could this apply to any of us. The "Word made flesh"
is his other well known description, which it is scarcely necessary to remark
is equally inapplicable to any other man of woman born. "God manifested in the
flesh" is the Spirit's definition by Paul (1 Tim. 3:16), notwithstanding the
attempt to substitute an early and favourite corruption which, by changing
"God" into the relative pronoun "who," takes all sense out of the verse. Then
the appearing of Christ in Israel, as heralded by the ministry of John the
Baptist, is described as the revelation of the glory of Yahweh (Is. 40:5), in
harmony with which, John said of himself, "I am the voice of one crying in the
wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord (Yahweh), as said the prophet
Isaiah;" and of Christ, the Yahweh manifestation, he said, "There standeth one
among you . . . whose shoe latchet I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. .
. . He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above
all; he that is of the earth is earthy, and speaketh of the earth; he that
cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he
testifieth, and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his
testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God sent speaketh
the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him."- (Jno.
1:26, 27; 3:30, 34.) Need it be said that this language in no sense or degree
can be applied to the brethren of Christ. He is said to be "the image of the
invisible God" (Col. 1:15); the express image of His person.-(Heb. 1:3.) His
name Emmanuel (God-with-us) involves the doctrine taught by Paul when he said "God
was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses
unto them."- (2 Cor. 5:19.) It points in the direction of Christ's own
declaration: "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father: how sayest thou then,
shew us the Father."- (Jno. 14:9.) No one can acceptably approach a personage
of dignity who has an inadequate apprehension of the greatness of that dignity.
If this is true among men, how much more true towards God, whose greatness is
unsearchable, and whose whole course towards men has been for the establishment
of His name in its proper position of glory and authority among them, and,
furthermore, whose penetration of our minds extends to the discernment of even
unformed thoughts.-(Psalm 139:4.) He knows our attitude towards Him, even if
unexpressed in word or gesture. Hence, how unprepared to enter the presence of
His glory in Christ are those who think of Christ as merely a glorified human
being. 27 The object aimed at in the whole work of God in the earth is that no
flesh should glory in His sight.-(1 Cor. 1:29-31; Rom 3:19-26.) This revealed
principle of divine action necessitates this doctrine of God manifestation in
Christ, which is unpalatable to carnal minds; for unless God were the worker by
and through and in Christ, the glory would be to a mere man, and, therefore, to
the flesh. But God has expressly excluded the flesh from all glorying in the
case. God did the work Himself, and Christ was the form of it. Hence when
thanks are ascribed to Christ (1 Tim 1:12), it is thanks to God. So the
ascription of glory to him (2 Pet. 3:18), is ascription of glory to God: for
the Son and the Father are one, the one being the manifestation of the other.
But by bringing Christ down to a level with us purely (though blessed be God,
he was on a level with us by one side, as the seed of David), discord is
introduced, and the divine supremacy compromised. Don't trouble yourself with
the phrases, "essential Deity," "Deity substance," or any other term by which
the glorious mystery is sought to be explained. Believe in the fact without
attempting metaphysical explanations, caring only to avoid those doctrines
which would teach a God-manifestation without God.
When did ever man deport himself like this man? When spoke the most gifted of men like this? Is he not manifestly revealed the MORAL and INTELLECTUAL image of the invisible God? Is he not -- last Adam though he be -- is he not "the Lord from heaven?" But what are we to say to the plain declaration emanant from the mouth of the Lord himself, that the beholder looking on him, saw the Father, and that the Father within him by the Spirit -- (for as he said on the subject of eating his flesh, it is the Spirit that maketh alive: the flesh profiteth nothing) -- was the doer and the speaker? The answer of wisdom is, that we must simply believe; and true wisdom will gladly believe in so glorious a fact. What if our understanding be baffled? Shall we refuse to eat bread because we fail to comprehend the essences in which flour subsists? A childlike faith is alone acceptable in this matter. The words used by Jesus to his disciples we may presume to be applicable to us, if they are true of us: "The Father himself loveth you because ye believe that I came out from God. "Those who make the mistake of the Pharisees, and "judge after the flesh," stand back in gloomy quandary and talk of "mere man;" others who think to make a great mystery "simple" and plain, speak of the flesh of Christ as a mixture of human with "divine substance." Wisdom takes her stand between the two, and seeks to dive no deeper than the testimony that God was in Jesus manifest in the flesh: she troubles not herself with the impracticable question of "how?" Seeing the fact and the reason of the fact, she rejoices and gives praise to God, from whom "the dayspring from on high hath visited us."
The Slain Lamb
The thinking of the
flesh activated by allowing the ungodly
propensities to dictate evil thoughts. The
carnal mind is at enmity against God
(Rom. 8:6), and must be destroyed. Once
developed, it can only be destroyed by
death. The Lord Jesus never allowed evil
thoughts to defile his mind, and therefore
did not develop the carnal mind, which in
all others is part of their moral defilement.
He remained the perfect manifestation of
the mind of the Spirit (Phil. 2:5).
The logos of John
The question is not to be settled by confining attention to the term logos. We must look at its connection. It is evident it is used in a variety of senses. We read, "they were not able to answer him a word" (logos) (Matt. xxii. 4, 6). There logos means an utterance of human lips.
But when we read
"By the word (logos) of God, the heavens were of old, and the earth, &c.,"
it is manifest that logos has the sense of power as associated with the Divine will, as illustrated in the recurring formula of Gen. i:
"And God said, Let there be light, and there was light."
The effect resulted from power Employed under the Divine fiat, as saith the Psalms:
"By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth."
In the understanding of John i. we have to choose between these meanings...
Looking at John i., it does not seem difficult to decide the sense in which the term logos is there employed. Verses 3 and 5 and 10 are decisive.
"All things were made by Him, or it (autos), and without Him was not anything made that was made." "And the light shineth in the darkness... the world was made by Him."
... If by logos we understand the power of God, as exertable by His volition (that is, in plainer but not more really intelligible language, His Spirit) there IS no difficulty in understanding the Scripture in question. John's logos is then the same word (logos) by which the heavens were made in the beginning, as alleged in the Psalm quoted above.
In the beginning this was, and was with God, and was God; for God and the Spirit are an inseparable unity, though appearing two to mortal apprehensions, like a flame and its light. We then understand how all things were made by Him, and how without Him was nothing made that was made. And we understand how this word became flesh in the conception and birth of the Lord Jesus through the action of the Spirit on Mary.
The power and volition of God acting through the Spirit became a man. In trying to "get rid" of supposed difficulties there is a danger of getting rid of the truth. Dr. Thomas simply follows the testimony and gets into no difficulty except such as may essentially pertain to so profound an operation as the manifestation of the Divine power, character and glory through a man who yet learnt obedience by the things that he suffered.
There is a "pre-existent idea" connected with Jesus of Nazareth that is true, as there is one that is false. The rejection of the false by no means involves the refusal of the true. The true pre-existence if the Father who was manifested in Christ by the spirit, and who is often necessarily blended with the utterances of the Son in such a way as to appear to be the Speaker direct, causing the apparent confusion at which the Pharisees stumbled when they said
"Is not this Jesus; the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know: how is it then that he saith, "I came down from heaven?" (Jhn vi. 42.)
The false pre-existence is the idea of a co-equal, and co-eternal "Son" as conceived by Trinitarianism, or No-willism. The Logos, as used in Jno. i., and the Eternal Creator are the same. Jesus, the manifestation of the Eternal Creator, is therefore rightly named, THE WORD OF GOD in the day of his glory (Rev. xix. 13.)
CHRISTADELPHIAN 1892 PAGE 181-2:
'He puts things into a man's mind which change his thoughts, and create a new and right disposition within him'.
EUREKA VOLUME 1 PAGE 101:
Thus, "the Logos became flesh, and dwelt among us," says John, "and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth;" for "the law was given through Moses; the grace and the truth came through Jesus Anointed"-Jno. 1: 14, 17.
Now, "Theos was the Logos" says John; that is, Deity was the Word; and this Word became flesh in the manner testified. Was the product, therefore, not Deity? Did the union of spirit with flesh annihilate that spirit, and leave only flesh? Was the holy thing born a mere son of Adam? or "the fellow" and "equal" of the Deity?-Zech. 13: 7; Jno. 5: 18; Phil. 2: 2. The latter unquestionably.
NAZARETH REVISITED PAGE 481
But this is not necessarily inconsistent with the other view to which Dr. Thomas was always inclined to accord weight and prominence, and which it is impossible to dismiss with a full regard to the grounds on which it rests. It is not necessarily an alternate view, but one that may have a place co-ordinately with the other: namely, that Jesus being what he was, the "Word made flesh," the manifestation of the God of David in the seed of David, and therefore David's "Lord"-it is impossible to disconnect his mentality from the Eternal Power in which he was rooted; and that, although as the Son of David and the man Christ Jesus, his existence dates from his conception "of the Holy Spirit," the consciousness within him whose foundation was laid by the Holy Spirit may have reflected previous relations in a way that pure earth-borns like ourselves have no experience of. The facts stated in the words "I and my Father are one," and, "the words that I speak are not mine, but the Father's who dwelleth in me," would necessarily carry such an idea, and involve a state of mind requiring expressions to describe it that could not be applicable to us. Only on such a principle does it seem possible to attach a natural meaning to the statement he makes in his prayer: "They (the disciples) have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou did'st send me." And again (previously) "I came forth from the Father and am come into the world: again I leave the world and go unto the Father" (Jno. xvi. 28); and again John's remark-"Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father ... Jesus knowing ... that he was come from God and went to God" (Jno. xiii. 1-3); also the expressions, "I come down from heaven." "Before Abraham was, I am," and his question: "What, and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before?" All these expressions imply reminiscence of the pre-existing relation of things, which cannot be surprising if we realise that all wisdom and knowledge and memory are stored in the Eternal Father-Spirit of whom Jesus was the expression. It may be there is an ingredient of it in the allusion to the glory had with the Father before the world began. The Father element in Jesus must always be kept in view in judging the expressions that came from his mouth.
The Man Christ Jesus
Christ being perfect in both kind and degree, surpassed all other, both in the character and extent of his excellence ; and not less so in the immeasurable fulness of the Spirit which he possessed, and the divine Fatherhood to which he stood related.
As tilting into these altogether unique conditions, he had a mission and a work placed in his hands, to which none other might compare; for said his forerunner,
"behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world."
Such an exceptional work required equally exceptional circumstances, as the channel of its accomplishment. These were all divinely created and supervised, with the most delicately adjusted bearing upon the result proposed that it is possible to conceive of.
The impress of the Father's mind and image, upon the mentality of the Son of his love, laid the foundation of a child, the like of which had never yet appeared in the annals of human history, and never would again, as the sequel has shown.
Nature left to itself never produces such, as the history of all nations and all ages as abundantly testify. Circumstances that might be bearable to a clodhopper, or a mentally inebriate Protestant martyr, were filled in his case, with a thousand causes of anguish that never entered into the heart of the martyrs of the inquisition to conceive of.
His was sorrow in its acutest form; and dishonour and poverty of surroundings in senses that can only be appreciated by those who are intelligently in sympathy with the object for which he appeared. The only man that ever had the world on his shoulders in any real sense, was the man who is destined in the full evolution of the divine purpose to have it at last under his feet.
The Christadelphian, 1888 PAGE 171
Now the suggestion meant to be conveyed was, that we have all
been looking at the right object, viz., at the man Christ Jesus as the
manifestation of the Father by the Spirit; and that originally, so far as the
writings of Dr. Thomas are concerned, the object was presented in its proper
focus; but that we have suffered certain well-meant articles on the subject,
which appeared some time ago in the pages of the Ambassador, and the drift of
which was not clearly perceived at the time, to so far interfere with the focus
of the matter, as to enlarge the human aspect of his sojourn in the flesh, at
the expense of the divine. The rectification of this disbalancement, and the
restoration of the doctrine to its scriptural exactness, was all that was
intended by the allusion to the Dr.'s article, the reading of Phanerosis, and
the daily study of the Scriptures. The accomplishment of this result is
illustrated in the article in the present number, entitled "The Operations of
Deity," to which we refer our readers. CHRIST THE SEED OF DAVID, YET NOT A MERE
MAN, THE CHRISTADELPHIAN: VOLUME 9. 1872: E. J.-
the CHRIST THE SEED OF DAVID, YET NOT A MERE MAN, THE CHRISTADELPHIAN: VOLUME 9. 1872: E. J.-The substance of Christ was flesh and blood, of Adamic stock, identical with that of "the children" he came to redeem (Heb. 2:14). In this, he was "the seed of David, according to the flesh."- (Rom. 1:2); but this did not make him "mere man." The phrase "according to the flesh" implies another side, viz., "the Spirit." How was he related to this? The angel's words to Joseph and Mary, answer this. "That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit."- (Matt. 1:20.) The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee."- (Luke 1:35.) By this the babe begotten, and afterwards the man, was related to God, who is Spirit, and could say "I came from heaven." By this, he was God manifest in the flesh; the word of Eternal Power made flesh, dwelling in Israel, full of grace and truth, which could never be testified of any mere man. But surely it is time to leave the discussion of this principle of the doctrine of Christ. It has been defined and discussed sufficiently to satisfy the requirements of such as are truly waiting for the kingdom of God. Let us go on unto perfection. Our salvation does not depend upon our ability to define the process of God-manifestation. If it did, we should have no hope. Abstractions belong to God. They are inconceivable to the human intellect. What we are called upon to do is to recognise in Jesus the arm of the Lord as a matter of faith; rejoice in the day-spring from on high that hath visited us; looking for his re-appearing, and meanwhile preparing ourselves for his coming by the obedience of his commandments in all 31 holiness, love, patience, and joy. Upon this our salvation does depend. It is possible to carry the discussion of definitions too far. The futile attempt to squeeze God's operation into the language of human ideas, may degenerate into a strife of words to no profit; a barren controversy, in which he is least inclined to needlessly engage who is most in sympathy with the glorious objects contemplated in that operation, and presented for faith in the testimony concerning the man Christ Jesus now exalted to the right hand of the Majesty of the Heavens.
MEDITATIONS BY BRO
ROBERTS, THE CHRISTADELPHIAN VOLUME 32 1895: The testimony is that he was
"tempted in all points" as ourselves, which could not have been the case in the
absence of the susceptibilities which our correspondent denies. The very
essence of temptation is susceptibility to wrong suggestion. The victory lies
in the opposing considerations brought to bear. The truth of the matter does
not depend upon the word "likeness" or any other single term, but upon the
combination of statements made-which are all in language plain enough to be
free from obscurity. At the same time, it has to be pointed out that the word
"likeness" in the Greek has the force of resemblance so complete as to be
sameness. This is illustrated in the statement that Jesus was made in "the
likeness of men" (Phil. 2:7). The extent of the likeness is defined as
extending to "all points" and "all things" (Paul's words-Heb. 2:17, 4:15). What
can we say but that he was a man, and not the mere likeness of a man? But then,
exclaims our correspondent, "Surely he was made superior to man in some
respects." Unquestionably. He was not a mere man-not a mere Jew-not mere flesh.
He was the flesh of Abraham in a special form. Our correspondent well says that
"a mere ordinary man would have failed." True, but wherein did the
extraordinariness consist? It is here where our friend gets on to the wrong line.
He makes Christ of different stuff-"flesh not sinful in its tendency." He
should rather realise that he was the same stuff specially organised and
specially used, having the same inherent qualities tending to temptation and
death; but qualified to overcome both by the superior power derived from his
paternity. Much of the difficulty that some experience in the understanding of
this subject arises from a wrong assumption on what we may call the
natural-history side of human nature. It seems to be imagined that all human
beings are necessarily on the same level of moral imbecility. This is far from
the case, as we know from experience. All human beings would be equally
incapable on all points if all were equally left untended from the cradle. They
would all be speechless idiots without exception if suckled and cradled up by
beasts, as has happened in rare instances. But the difference made by
instruction and training makes all the difference in the world between two men
both equally human: one shall be a stolid brute, and the other verging upon the
grace and intelligence of angelhood. But this is not the only difference.
Though all men are equally human on certain main points, there are fundamental
differences arising from parentage. Two boys-one an Indian cross-breed, and the
other a European-may be brought up in the same family, sent to the same school,
and will turn out totally different men-one stupid and barren and intractable,
and the other bright and fertile and docile. They are both human, but they both
differ radically. How fallacious it would be to reason from one to the other on
the ground of both possessing a common human nature. They are both human truly,
but human of very different qualities. To say that Christ was a man partaking
of our sinful nature does not mean to say that he was the same sort of man as
other men. His parentage and education were both divine; and as it was said,
"Never man spake like this man," so it has to be said that never man thought as
this man, or loved as this man, or felt as this man. He was a special man
altogether, though as to nature the same: just as a special vase, got up and
gilt for a royal table, is a different article from a common mug, though made
of the same china clay.
When Did Jesus Become Christ?
Jesus was Christ when born in Bethlehem, as saith the angel to the shepherd:
"Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11).
Hence, his birth is termed "the birth of Jesus Christ" (Matt. 1:18). He was Christ in a fuller effusion of the Christing power (which begat him), at his baptism on the banks of the Jordan, when the Spirit visibly descended and abode upon him.
Hence, John the baptiser said:
"I am not the Christ, but I am sent before him. He (the Christ) must increase, I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all. God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him" (John 3:28, 30, 31, 34).
For the same reason, we find Andrew saying to Peter:
"We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ" (John 1:41).
In harmony with which is Christ's answer to the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well:
"I that speak unto thee am he" (the Christ) (John 4:26);
and the declaration of the Samaritans,
"This is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world" (John 4:42).
To the same effect is the question of Christ and Peter's answer:
"Whom say ye that I am?" "Thou art the Christ; the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16).
Wherein then lies the force of Peter's declaration:
"Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ!"
It lies here, that by the resurrection of Christ, God had confirmed the assertion of Jesus that he was the Christ (an assertion which had been denied by the Jews); and at the same time had perfected his Christship in exalting him to the spiritual nature.
There were degrees in the development: first, the Son of God, as the flesh-offspring of the Holy Spirit by Mary, the Word made flesh;
second, when he was thirty years of age, the fulness of the indwelling Father by the Spirit shed from above; and,
third, his glorification after resurrection. This process is briefly defined by Paul as "God manifest in the flesh (which comprehends the whole period of his natural life), justified in the Spirit."
The manifestation was not complete till the last stage was reached. The Christship, so to speak, was not fully developed till Jesus was glorified. Peter, therefore, with this completion in view, could appropriately speak as if it were a thing just accomplished:
"God hath made Jesus, whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ"
But Peter did not mean to say that Jesus had not been the Christ before the crucifixion. This would have been a stultification both of his own previous testimony and of the facts of the case. The Christing was the Holy Spirit, and with this, Jesus was "full" (Luke 4:1) in the days of his flesh; yea, even as a child (Luke 2:40); as in the case of even John the Baptist (Luke 1:15). How otherwise could the first stage have been realised:
"God manifest in the flesh?"
As to the time when Jesus was glorified, the Holy Spirit was shed forth by Jesus upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost; but his own glorification was a previous necessity. There is no evidence that Jesus shed forth the power immediately after he received it himself. He poured out the Spirit at the right time, and that time was the day of Pentecost; but the power may have been in his hands against the arrival of that day. He intimates that
"all power was in his hands before he left the earth" (Matt. 28:18).
It is probable that in all senses, he was "perfected the third day" (Luke 13:32). The question "when" matters little. It is the fact, and not the date, of the Lord's glorification that is the important matter. If the date had been important, we should have been precisely informed. The date has not been given. Consequently, we cannot know for certain, however ingeniously we may speculate.
The Christadelphian, July 1898
A compilation by BR. Laverock of the 'Berean' fellowship of Brother Thomas's writings in Eureka, Phanerosis and The Christadelphian is available on the link below
With thanks to Brother Stephen Male of the Berean fellowship for supplying this link
THE MAN CHRIST JESUS
CHRISTADELPHIAN 1888 PAGE 171
Preached as never man preached. Prayed as never man prayed. Loved as never man loved. Lived as never man lived. Walked as never man walked. Worked as never man worked. Taught as never man taught. Wrought as never man wrought. Obeyed as never man obeyed. Was tried as never man was tried. Promised as never man promised. Trusted in God as never man trusted. Was patient as never man was patient. Was pure as never man was pure. Was meek as never man was meek. Was holy as never man was holy. Was divine as never man was divine. Was kind as never man was kind. Was noble as never man was noble. Was excellent as never man was excellent. Was lovely as never man was lovely. Was despised as never man was despised. Was grief-stricken as never man was grieved. Was innocent as never man was innocent. Was faithful as never man was faithful. Was true as never man was true. Was wise as never man was wise. Was great as never man was great. Was rich as never man was rich. Was poor as never man was poor. Was zealous as never man was zealous. Was gifted as never man was gifted. Was compassionate as never man was before. Was gracious as never man was gracious. Was humble as never man was humble. Was self-sacrificing as never man was before. Was related as never son was before. Had prospects never man had before. Was strong in faith as never man was before. Was stern in virtue as never man was before. Was like God as never man was before. Blessed as never man blessed. Comforted as never man comforted. Rebuked as never man rebuked. Answered questions as they were never answered before. Spake parables beyond any other man. Was begotten as no other man ever was. Did more miracles than any other man. Was a greater light than all other lights. Was heir of greater things than any yet born. Fulfilled more prophecies than any before. Possessed more Spirit than any of the prophets. Has had a larger following than man ever had. Is the greatest character of history. Was perfect as never man was perfect. Was more pleasing to God than any in Israel. Was shepherdly beyond all other shepherds. Was chief among ten thousand. Ascended up where no man ever ascended before.
THE PLANT OF RENOWN AND THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS
BY DR. THOMAS'S DAUGHTER.
- REFERRING to recent criticisms on the doctrine advocated by the Christadelphian concerning Christ, Dr. Thomas's daughter says:-
- why should this be so perplexing to many? Why is it not as easy to comprehend 'the union of Spirit with flesh.' as to understand the union of Spirit with the manna in the wilderness? The Spirit preserved the manna from decomposing, yet it was manna in substance still-suitable for food to sustain natural life.
"It appears almost singular how views so different and opposite can be taken of the same author, as seen from different standpoints. We have failed to discern in your teachings concerning the nature of Christ, any of the ideas attributed to you. We have never understood you to teach that the substance of the body of Christ was a 'mixture of human and divine substance,' although you do hold that the operation of the Spirit of God, in and through the 'body prepared,' was according to the Scriptures from the beginning of its formation.
It would scarcely become a question in our minds whether the Spirit had transformed the substance of the manna into 'semi-Spirit substance.' Why, then, should it be more difficult to realise that Spirit operation upon flesh substance should animate the flesh without changing the substance? The Spirit of Deity being subject to the will of Deity, would perform no more and no less than He purposed it to accomplish.
The power that divided the waters of the Red Sea, and brought water out of the flinty rock, could also, under fiat of the same sovereign will, bring forth a 'Plant of Renown.' Plants grow from seed or roots embedded in the earth. Yet, if not subject to the subtle, penetrating, vivifying influence of the sun's rays, they would never come to maturity. Naturalists know well how to estimate the electrical power and life-giving agency of the sun's rays, without which no vegetation would mature, and nature would remain shrouded in eternal winter. And still they do not contend that the plants or the seed have incorporated a particle of the substance of the sun, but simply the electrical influence of its rays.
One of your critics makes the extraordinary assertion that the 'seed of woman' cannot be understood to mean the seed of woman physiologically. If this were true, then of what value are the testimonies which trace the descent from Abraham and David according to the flesh?
The prophet Isaiah says: 'He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, as a root out of a dry ground.' With this beautiful figure, we associate the idea of parent earth and Spirit sun in combination. The plant derives nourishment from both, though of a different kind and different nature, yet the substance of the plant remains the same.
We sometimes derived much assistance in studying the figures borrowed from nature, although they may not in every particular be fitted to the heavenly subjects represented. The figures presented in the Word will, doubtless, be more appropriate than those of our own choosing. The 'Tender Plant,' to which we refer, receiving nourishment from its mother earth-colour, size and mature growth from the rays of its father sun, grew and developed to a 'Plant of Renown.' 'The child grew and waxed strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.' Although this plant was to be laid low for a time, it was not doomed to decay, because the Father's Spirit preserved it from decomposition, raised it up again, transplanted it into a heavenly atmosphere, where it fully expands into the 'Tree of Life:' retaining life, and giving life to as many as shall be engrafted upon it in the appointed way.
It is further asserted that the Word was made flesh only at the time of anointing with Holy Spirit and baptism. Here we are puzzled again with mathematical definiteness, without reference to the harmonious grouping of testimonies. Is it to be maintained that the wisdom or thought of Deity was not at all incorporated with the mind and thought of the Son, until the anointing? Are we not rather to believe that it was only the fulness of measure that was conferred at the anointing? If the latter, then we may be able to find scope for certain testimonies which otherwise might have to be excluded. 'The child grew, waxed strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom.' Another Scripture says, 'there is a spirit in man:' this we know is 'the spirit of the world,' which inclines the thoughts towards the things of the world. 'The Spirit which is of God' directed the thoughts and mind of Christ towards the things of God, endowed him with wisdom beyond his years, prompted attention towards the Father's business and gave him understanding concerning it which astonished all who heard him. This manifestation of Deity in him was 'mental and moral.' His mind and thoughts tended heavenward, because the 'Spirit of wisdom and understanding rested upon him.' Thus the spirit of his mind was pure and holy. Innocence characterised him, as the Lamb without blemish.
The Deity, as exhibited in the mental and moral characteristics of the Son, can be traced only in a limited degree of manifestation, in the stages of youth and early manhood. We see in this the gradual unfolding of the beauties of 'the Plant;' not an instantaneous or meteor-like development.
In the revelation unto Moses of the name of Yahweh, we see how limited was the first exhibition simply, 'He who shall be.'
The second was fuller and more comprehensive, proclaiming the moral attributes of Yahweh: 'Gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth,' &c. Then there was a manifestation of the glory. Afterwards, the word or law went forth to the children of Israel.
The Mosaic pattern of heavenly things exhibits the order and system according to which Yahweh manifests Himself. Everything has its order and system of development. We must observe times and seasons in this manifestation of Deity.
The real name-bearer of Yahweh, in the time appointed, appeared in the person of Jesus. The manifestation of the Father in and through him was according to the Mosaic pattern: first, his name and existence; afterwards, the development of moral attributes; then the giving of the Word to Israel, with power and miracles; and finally, the manifestation of His glory to certain witnesses. These things, however, were not exhibited all of a sudden; like a shooting star, or a meteoric shower.
When our minds become deeply impressed with the grandeur of this subject, we shall cease defining it in terms of human wisdom; but grouping all the testimonies pertaining to it, combining their separate relations, and arranging them in harmonious combination according to their proper relations and positions, we shall see the grandeur of the subject, and be content to contemplate, wonder and adore.
Let us bear in mind the greatness of the subject before us, the manifestation of Deity in flesh. It is the 'great mystery of godliness,' which we have the privilege of looking into. Let us, then, approach it with reverence; free from cramping imitations, and mathematical lines, which tend to confuse and perplex, instead of to enlighten and build up.
Answers to Facebook correspondents.
You raise an important point Sister ..... - Diabolos in Yahshua was not the reigning principle (Rom 8:6). If it was he would not have been Deity manifest, the unblemished lamb (1 Pet 1:19,Heb 1:3). He was Yahweh's son. Intellectually and in character superior and exalted above the sons of men (Jhn 14:9-10). So the law of the Spirit of Life in him was the reigning principle.
But being born of Mary he inherited Sin's flesh - diabolos - with its inclinations and weaknesses (Rom 8:3). He kept his body under always (Matt 3:17).
By way of contrast we are not the word made flesh: We are not begotten by the Will of Yahweh, but by the will of our father parent - rebellious sin's flesh unmitigated is our parenthood. So we are a different form of Sin's flesh to the Lord Yahshua.
We are unable to resist the law of diabolos in our members. At some point we will offend. The law is too strong (Rom 7:14). Nevertheless we seek daily to overcome diabolos within (Rom 6:12). Also, by our own foolishness and lack of forethought we may place ourselves in channels that lead to temptation. Parleying with sin leads to sin (Jms 1:14).
In resisting evil and manifesting the fruit of the spirit it is by the power of the word dwelling in us, remembered, believed and obeyed (1 Jhn 5:4). So if wise, we constantly meet with the spirit word which alone can channel us in the direction of the law of the spirit which leads to eternal life (Matt 25:7, Rev 3:12).
The whole article is in the Herald of the Kingdom and Age to come 1852 P202 and P203. The complement to this exposition is by Sis Lasius 'A Plant of Renown'. Read in conjunction and meditated on over time these give us a wonderful insight into the detail of how the Deity was manifest in Sin's flesh.
The immense sufferings of Messiah in overcoming sin are crushing to our imagination. It is overwhelmingly painful and humbling to attempt to contemplate these, especially on self-examination considering our own feeble service. He always loved and obeyed his father and brought forth the fruit of a lovely sinless character. (Matt 3:17)
For 33 years he resisted the flesh never once crossing over to sin. I suggest you read Golgotha in Nazareth revisited.
Daily he felt the suffering and emotional weakness common to our sin defiled nature. His was a life of hard labour and poverty. So he knows extreme hunger, fatigue and the oppressiveness of the human condition at its lowest ebb. Being filled with faith he submitted to lowly circumstances. He made this choice not to gratify the flesh daily from the first moment of responsibility.
In his mind he consciously made the decision always to do the will of his father whatever the consequences for his own comfort and convenience. He had a choice. The bias of his will was spiritual. His intellect was entirely dominated by the spirit to the extent he was the word made flesh. In this he was unique.
The Lord Yahoshua, being conceived not by the will of man but by the operation of the holy spirit, diabolos in the flesh was not a reigning principle from conception. From birth, he being Deity manifest, there was never an occasion for the thinking of the flesh (the carnal mind) to develop within him. From infancy he never sinned. Being El with us he governed the propensities according to his father's will always.
In his case the propensities were far less turbulent in the ordinary routines of life. But the motions of sin's flesh were there and had to be overcome (Jhn 16:33). So an extraordinary trial was necessary to prove he would remain righteous - after the type of Job. He overcame the flesh propensities, (cravings and feelings) which would have been in their full force in the wilderness temptation by governing them according to his spiritual mind.
At full maturity he was filled with the holy spirit. His mind was now as a perfect polished mirror reflecting the mind and character of Yahweh. This is in contrast to the carnal mind which is tarnished to the extent in savages that no divine imagery can be seen at all.
The wilderness temptation is the template that reveals to us how the Lord was
tempted and how he overcame. It tells us that an external provocateur was
necessary to provoke evil thoughts, that he was not tempted by evil thoughts
from within. He fully experienced sin in
the flesh in its propensities in the
wilderness trial and again at Golgotha, and to a lesser extent throughout the
days of his sojourn. He was fully in control of the propensities so he was never
drawn away. He never gave these impulses any quarter to develop into sin.
From Elpis Israel we consider the section entitled the Two Principles
Brother Thomas explains that sin pervades the flesh in its propensities and it is from these that the saints perceive the involuntary motions of sin impulses warring against their renewed minds enlightened by the law and testimony of Yahweh.
Being spiritually minded the true saints reflect the divine attributes so they are not carnally minded. Their minds have become an arena of holiness. Having the mind of Christ they keep their body under refusing to let the impulses that lead to sin reign in their mortal bodies. This is a daily warfare. Temptations take many forms but there are three principle channels - the desire of the eye, the desire of the flesh and the pride of life. Of course, sometimes even in the best of saints, they can be drawn away by the carnal mind operating on the excited propensities of the flesh which is full of sin.
THE TWO PRINCIPLES.
"With the mind I myself serve the Law of God; but with the flesh the Law of Sin."
Although a sinner may have been "delivered from the power of darkness," or ignorance; and have been "translated into" (Col. 1:13) the hope of "the Kingdom of God and of his Christ" (Rev. 11:15), by faith in the divine testimony and baptism into Christ -- yet, if he turn his thoughts back into his own heart, and note the impulses which work there, he will perceive a something that, if he were to yield to it, would impel him to the violation of the divine law. These impulses are styled"the motions of sins" (Rom. 7:5).
Before he was enlightened, they "worked in his members," until they were manifested in evil action, or sin; which is termed, "bringing forth fruit unto death." The remote cause of these "motions" is that physical principle, or quality of the flesh, styled, indwelling sin, which returns the mortal body to the dust; and that which excites the latent disposition is the law of God forbidding to do thus and so; for, "I had not known sin; but by the law."
Now, while a righteous man feels this law involuntarily at work in his members, the law of sin, or of nature within him, he also perceives there a something which condemns "the motions of sins," and suppresses them; so that they shall not impel him to do what he ought not to do. The best of men, and I quote Paul as an illustration of the class, are conscious of the co-existence of these hostile principles within them. "I find," says he, "a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me." Yes; the principle of evil, and the principle of good, are the two laws which abide in the saints of God so long as they continue subject to mortality. Elpis Israel
...he "intellect" and "sentiments" of the apostle's brain, constituting "the fleshly tablet of his heart," had been inscribed by the Spirit of the living God, in a way that all believers are not the subject of. He was inspired, and consequently received much of "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God" by divine suggestion, or revelation (Gal. 1:11-12); others receive the same knowledge in words spoken, or written, by "earthen vessels" like himself, in whom "this treasure" was deposited (2 Cor. 4:7)
The means by which the knowledge is communicated matters not, so that it is written on the heart. When it gets possession of this, it forms that "mind, or mode of thinking and feeling," (nouv) with which the apostle said, he "served the Law of God." Being renewed by the divine testimony, his intellect and sentiments were sure to think and feel in harmony with the thoughts of God. Nevertheless, his "propensities" were only checked in their emotions. He kept his body under. This was all that he could do; for no spiritual perfection of thought and feeling could eradicate from the particles of his flesh the all-pervading principle of its corruption. While, therefore, with his mind he served the Law of God, his flesh obeyed the law of sin, which finally mingled it with its parent dust.
This new mode of thinking and feeling created in a true believer by the divine law and testimony, is variously designated in Scripture. It is styled, "a clean heart and a right spirit" (Psalm 51:10), "a new spirit" and "a heart of flesh" (Ezek. 11:19), the "inward man" (2 Cor. 4:16; Rom. 7:22), "new creature" (2 Cor. 1:17), "the new man created in righteousness and true holiness," and "renewed by knowledge after the image of him that created him" (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), the "hidden man of the heart" (1 Pet. 3:4), and so forth.
This new and hidden man is manifested in the life, which is virtuous as becomes the gospel. He delights in the law of the Lord, and speaks often of His testimonies. He denies himself of all ungodliness, and worldly lusts; walks soberly, righteously and godly in the world. His hope is the glorious manifestation of Jesus Christ, with the crown of righteousness, even glory, honor, and immortality, promised to all who look for Him, and "love His appearing," and desire His kingdom (Titus 2:11-14; 2 Tim. 4:1-8; Heb. 9:28). Nevertheless, the law of sin, through the weakness of the flesh, fails not to remind him of imperfection. Being delivered from the fear of death, he looks forward to it as to the period of his change; knowing that when he falls asleep in the dust he will afterwards be delivered from the principle of evil by a resurrection to incorruptibility and unalloyed existence in the Paradise of God.
From the 1928 Berean Magazine:
The head is the place where all evil is conceived. " The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be," it is "enmity against God.** (Rom. viii. 7). There the woman's seed,
Jesus, aimed his fatal blow at sinful thought wherein lies the enmity. The serpent's wound entered deeply into the flesh but failed to affect the mind of the woman's seed.
Herein was illustrated to perfection a body in which the serpent poison worked, but a
mind in complete service to God and gaining complete mastery over all evil motions. The sin in the flesh of Christ was crushed and the flesh in which it operated and received its defeat was transfixed to the stake where its power and sting were destroyed.
With thanks to Bro Stephen Male for this quote
"WHAT THINK YE OF CHRIST?"
REPLY TO AN ORTHODOX ATTACK UPON THE TRUTH CONCERNING THE NATURE
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God." On this he remarks, very truthfully, that here the Word is proved to have existed co-eternally with the Father; but he evidently fails to perceive-like the rest of those holding his faith-that "the Word" is not equivalent to "Jesus Christ"; and that the eternity of "the Word" does not prove the eternity of Jesus.
John distinctly says also, "the word was God." We can only understand this, by ascertaining the meaning of "word." A word is a sound by which the mind or will is expressed, and in the case of command, the expression of the mind, by word, leads to action. The action is the result of the word; and the word may be spoken of as the direct cause.
Hence "the Word" created all things, "in the beginning," and was "with God," and "was God." God's will is the antecedent; it is part of Himself, as it were-it is God. The enunciation or giving forth of this word or command, presents the phase expressed by the words "with God." The spirit was the vehicle, instrument, or channel.
The "Word," originating with God, was the first cause. Hence we read "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth." "He spake and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast."-(Ps. xxxiii. 6. 9.) "The worlds were framed by the word of God."-(Heb. xi. 3.) "By the word of God, the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water."-(2 Pet. iii. 5.) "God said Let there be light, and there was light;" the light shining as the result of the word spoken. But are we to say the "Word" in these passages signifies a personal agent distinct from the personality of the Father who commanded? By no means.
It is merely a personification of the will of the Almighty. After the style of language that personifies wisdom in Prov. viii. "The Word" existed from eternity; Jesus, who was its living expression, did not; yet, whilst going about his holy mission, he was not less the Word of God than if he had pre-existed. He was the Word made flesh. The spirit rested upon him, without measure, which gave him wisdom and power above mortals, and enabled him to speak with the authority of God.
He was the Word, in living revelation. God manifested himself and spoke through him. This is Paul's declaration in Heb. i. 2, "God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath, in these last days, spoken unto us by his Son."
It might be argued from this passage, that the prophets, equally with Christ, were constituted the Word, by God's use of them to declare his mind. To a certain extent, this was the case; but God only spoke through them in a partial manner, and by means of visions and messages. They were not the complete exemplification of the Word; neither did they, like Christ, owe their birth to the power of the Word which spake through them.
They were the mere instruments of the specific divine impulses brought to bear on them; Jesus was the embodiment and living reflex, as it were, of the Word. He could reveal the whole will of the Father; and received the knowledge he possessed, directly from the Father, being as it were, en rapport with him, in the Spirit.
"The Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that Himself doeth."-(Jno. v. 20.) "The Father who sent me, he gave me commandment what I should say and what I should speak."-(Jno. xii. 49; vii. 16; viii. 25-28.) Hence, he could say "I am come in my Father's name:" (v. 43.) If he had been the Deity himself, he surely would never have used such an expression as this. As we have said, he never once ascribes the works he did to his own power.Ambassador of the Coming Age, June 1868
THE "CHRISTADELPHIAN DOCTRINE OF CHRIST", THE CHRISTADELPHIAN: VOL 6, 1869. PAGE 241: W. D. wrote some time ago to say that after a careful consideration of Christadelphian writings, he failed to apprehend the Christadelphian idea of Christ-that he could not say whether Christadelphians believed him to be God or man. The answer was that he was more than man in being God manifest in the flesh by the Spirit, and less than God, in being the son of Eternal Power, begotten of the seed of David according to the flesh. This evoked the following: "I received your reply to my note on the nature of Christ, but I must still acknowledge that I do not understand what Christadelphians do hold concerning what Christ was between his birth and his resurrection from the dead. You say he was more than man in that he was God manifest in the flesh. Am I to understand by this that God was clothed with flesh, or am I to understand that the word that was with God, and was God, became flesh, as the 182nd page of your last Ambassador seems to say? I think that God could not be in the flesh of Christ in any other way than clothed with it, for Christ said, when hanging on the cross, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'" The answer to this was couched in these words: "Broadly described, Jesus was God manifest in the flesh; but the literal sense in which he was so, must be obtained from the facts. These facts are simple. The Father, dwelling in light unapproachable, is one with the Universal Spirit. In our conceptions of Him, we cannot separate the essence of His inscrutable person from the power of His universal presence. They are both but the aspects of an eternal and universal unity, just as a jet of gas and the light caused by it throughout a room, are one. What the central Father does by His irradiant spirit, He does himself; for the Universal Spirit is, so to speak, the extension of himself. ('Do not I fill heaven and earth? Can any hide himself from me?' Jer. 23:24). With this in view, the mystery of Christ is more tangible. The Spirit begot him in the womb of Mary. Therefore, though a man as we are, he was the flesh-embodiment of the Father-Spirit, which made him a prepared vessel of righteousness, truth, and wisdom. When this vessel was perfected by mature development, it was taken possession of by the Father (who begot him), in the overflowing effusion of spirit-power, at his baptism. He was, then, the active medium of the Father's mind and will. In the hour of trial, Eternal Power left him, and the natural life of the prepared vessel was poured out unto death.
Christ, the Lamb without spot or blemish
Comment by Richard Lister, editor of the Apocalyptic Messenger
The carnal mind is enmity against God, i.e. the thinking of the flesh. If the Lord had committed any of those thoughts recorded in the wilderness (Mtt.4), then he would have been guilty of rebellion against his Father. This shows they were sinful thoughts. Christ was above men, the loins of his mind were continually girded with the Spirit. There has to be one man amongst the sons of Adam that prevailed to conquer sins' flesh. Everything depended on it. This man was the Christ, the Lamb without spot or blemish, not as to the flesh, but as to his mind. Therefore it pleased Yahweh to bruise his only begotten son, that sins' flesh might be put down in every sense and that includes carnal fleshly selfish thoughts which are sin.
It is folly to argue that corrupt thoughts would have crossed Christ's mind from his enemies (Pharisees etc). This is another phony argument. Yahweh knows all the thoughts of man, but he is not defiled by them, he will destroy them when he is ready at the appointed time. It is only when a person sympathises with an evil thought, or his flesh is aroused, that he sins. It is not the theoretical knowledge of sin that defiles. Christ knew what an adulterer was but he wasn't defiled. In fact he says that anyone that looks upon a woman to lust (commit adultery in his heart), then he hath sinned in his thoughts.
2. To say that the carnal mind is the same as sinful flesh or sin in the flesh, is to confuse clear divine concepts. The carnal mind is the thinking of the flesh or minding of the flesh. This is caused by the sinful passions of the flesh (the nature, body), transmitting thoughts through the brain, or brainflesh. This is the thinking part of the flesh. The body doesn't think. As Bro Thomas says the heart is to blood, as the lungs are to breathing, and the brain is to thought. This is so obvious that a person that doesn't see this is defective in their thinking. It is all beautifully expounded in Elpis Israel by the Dr (p.88-95 and p.126-131).
3. To argue that a corrupt thought directed at the Lord externally, is the same as a thought generated by his own flesh promptings, is the old argument for justification of carnal thinking, and is a totally false and confused argument. In fact these two cases are totally different. In the first case a person is undefiled so long as he repudiates the thought. But if he sympathises with the corrupt thought then he sins. Yahweh knows all the thoughts of man yet is undefiled. So with Christ. In the second case if he generates the corrupt carnal thought of himself, through his own flesh promptings, then he sins. His mind is polluted.
4. If Christ thought a sinful thought, even momentarily, then he sinned and we have no Redeemer. Christ was the Logos made flesh, I and my Father ae one. He who hath seen me hath seen the Father. My words are not my own. You are from beneath, I am from above. He was the Ish Khasid, the Holy One of God (Deut.33.5), the Anointed Cherub (Hb.1.3). He kept his body under, the loins of his mind were continually girded with the Spirit. His mind was the Temple of God, and sin never defiled it.
5. Bro Roberts says the internal temptation is "untenable" = cannot be held (Christendom Astray). Bro Thomas says that in the case of Adam and Job the tempter was external and these are types (Elpis Israel).
6. The thought of foolishness is sin (Pv.24.9). To be carnally minded is death (Rom.8.6).
Has anyone said that Christ did not have a sin's flesh nature in this correspondence, and that he was not a man of like passions to his fellows?
Is.11 however says he was not ruled by sight of eyes of hearing of ears, but by the Spirit of Yahweh. The Word totally dominated Christ's mind, to the extent that he could be descibed as "the Word made flesh."(Jhn.1.14)This means that the natural impulses or passions created by these stimuli (lust of eye, ear, flesh, pride) in a natural man, were not generated in the Lord's mind. Why? Because he was not ruled by them, as the prophet says, nor was he ruled by the pride of the flesh, the stumbling block to most brethren.
Yes he hungered. But that does not therefore automatically make Christ think that "yes I could turn the stones into bread." This would be to frivolously abuse the powers God had given him, and would nullify Christ as the Redeemer or to be worthy of it. We are told the angels visited Christ and ministered to him (Mk.1.13).
Moses was 40 days in the wilderness of Sinai. So was Elijah. They were sustained by the Spirit of Yahweh. If Christ did not think in this way then (i.e. carnally) (Mtt.4), neither did he at any other time. This is so obvious it is hardly worth stating. And this is why the argument revolves around the temptation, and why both Bro Roberts and Bro Thomas rejected the internal temptation. They didn't have to look for other instances because the same principles and victory over the flesh applied.
Yes the Lord could have sinned in his thoughts. Yes he could have yielded to the lust of eye, and lust of flesh and pride of life. He could have conceived carnal thoughts. But if he did then he sinned, and we are dead in trespasses and sins for there would be no one in the human race who overcame sins flesh.
Jms 1 is saying that sin is conceived in the mind, where else? Sin was condemned in the flesh by Christ (Rom.8.3). You have to put all the scriptures together. Sin in the flesh couldn't have been condemned if the Lord had yielded to it. His body was as unclean as the bodies he died for. But as Bro Thomas says he kept his body under. This is where I stand.
Sin is in the very physical constitution of the body, this is the physical constitution we all bare, including the Lord (Rom.5.12, Rom.3.24, Hb 2.14). Yet he was "without sin" (Hb.4.15), "the Lamb without spot or blemish", not as to his flesh, but as to his mind. "Holy harmless and undefiled and separate from sinners" (Hb.7.26), not grovelling in the lusts and instincts of the flesh, but full of the fruit of the spirit.
The Mind of Christ
An exhortation by Brother Gilbert Growcott
"If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom. 8:9).
This is a plea for a searching self-examination of our lives, to see whether we are on the way of life.
I do not believe there is sufficient realization among us of the magnitude of the divine call -- of how deeply it should reach into and transform every aspect of our lives -- of the great changes it must bring about in our characters and the direction of all our activities -- of how we spend ALL our time and efforts and money.
The prize that we seek is infinitely beyond anything we can comprehend. For the devotion of a brief lifetime, God is offering us perfect joy for all eternity. The present is such an infinitesimal fraction of the future that it is the uttermost folly not to give up everything possible in the present in order to assure the future. This folly will be tragically apparent at the judgment seat.
What God asks -- and it is such a pitiful little compared to what He offers -- is complete devotion, complete dedication, complete putting away of the present, complete consecration of the whole life to the service of God.
Everything depends upon the COMPLETENESS of the dedication. One-half will not do; three-fourths will not do; nine tenths will not do. God requires ALL our life, ALL our interest, ALL our labor and activity.
The reason part time service will not do is that there is no such thing as part time service to God. We CANNOT serve two masters. If it does not involve the whole heart and life and strength and love, it is no service to God at all.
It is the few who perceive this who find the way of life. The many who do not, only follow the way of death.
Jesus expresses it most broadly and deeply when he says:
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart, and with ALL thy strength, and with ALL thy soul, and with ALL thy mind."
This, he says, is the first commandment. He says it comprises ALL commandments.
The trouble is that we can read commandments like this, fully accept them, and yet never realize or comprehend the fulness and depth of their meaning -- the magnitude of WHAT THEY REQUIRE OF US.
If we could really and fully perceive the infinite greatness of the destiny offered us, it would completely transform our lives. Every thought and action would be affected. We would be entirely different creatures from the common world around us, instead of being so sadly like them in so many ways.
The best this world offers -- its greatest riches, its fullest pleasures, its highest honors, its most distinguished powers and positions and opportuntties -- are less than NOTHING, compared to the destiny that awaits the approved of God.
In the ebb and flow of this uncertain world, the presidency of the United States is at the moment the greatest power and prominence to which man can aspire. Its honors are great, its powers and prestige are great, its opportunities for affecting human history and advancing human welfare are great. But all these things are mere children's mud-pies compared to the position of the LEAST of those who attain to the Kingdom of God.
We know this theoretically. We fully accept it as a logical proposition. But do we FEEL it and LIVE IT IN OUR LIVES? Are our lives consistent with this tremendous conception? Or are we just a few more natural creatures thinly veneered over with a little religious sentiment?
Do we conduct our lives in harmony with what we profess to be -- THE HIGHEST ARISTOCRACY OF THE UNIVERSE -- the divine, eternal aristocracy of righteousness -- infinitely higher than all the kings and presidents of this poor little passing world of wickedness?
We say, quoting Scripture:
"The whole world lieth in wickedness" (1 John 5:19).
-- and truly it does. Whatever is natural, whatever is human, whatever is not intelligent and purposeful godliness is wickedness.
But how different are WE? Just believing a few first principles of Bible truth and calling ourselves Christadelphians does not automatically make us saints. It could much more easily make us hypocrites.
* * *
Paul says (Rom. 8:9), and this is the key passage of our subject:
"If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
Here, then, is a clear test. Do we have the spirit of Christ? This is the most important question anyone can ask himself.
First of all, what does it mean to have the spirit of Christ? How would you define It? How would you test yourself to see whether you had it or not?
If we cannot define it, we can be reasonably sure we have not got it, because the spirit of Christ is only acquired by learning what it is in its various aspects of character, and consciously effortfully -- adopting it.
We can begin to define it from this same Romans 8:
"They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit" (v. 5).
This gets us a little closer, but is it really reaching us? Is this another of those statements that we accept without comprehending? What are the "things of the flesh" and what are the "things of the Spirit," and what does it mean to "mind" them?
The things of the flesh are the things of this present life food, raiment, shelter, entertainment -- all human and natural activity -- the natural daily round of possessing and enjoying. The things of the flesh also include all natural thoughts, reactions, emotions, desires, affections, pleasures, etc.
Some of the things of the flesh are good and some are not. Those that are good are those necessary for the continuance of our life and maximum usefulness to God. Whatever does not contribute to this is a harmful detriment.
Where does the line of necessity come? Where does necessity end, and unfaithful stewardship and misusing our Master's goods begin?
It is not for us to say in individual cases, but we are sure that the Scriptures, frankly faced, leave no doubt that the line of duty cuts lower and deeper than most of us desire to live.
The Scriptural standard is:
"Having food and raiment, therewith be content."
And Paul's accompanying observation is:
"For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can take nothing out."
The mind of Christ, and certainly the example that he gave us, is that we should be content with the bare necessities of life, and beyond that point should concentrate ALL our labor and time in the service of God. He gave us an example to follow, and he gently but very pointedly reminded us that:
"The servant is not above his Lord."
The apostles who followed him, and lived as he lived, call our attention to his example in this respect.
And even the bare necessities must not be our primary concern, for that is lack of faith:
"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you."
We seem to be speaking more of restrictions -- what we should not do, rather than that we should do, but this is not really the case. The biggest harm in many things of the flesh simply lies in the fact that they fill the mind and take the time and effort and attention from spiritual things.
We are called upon to be positively spiritual, to be CONSTRUCTIVELY spiritual -- to "always abound in the work of the Lord." We are not called upon to be just negatively spiritual just to not do things forbidden -- we are here to work actively and to the fulness of our strength in the works of God.
In many things the positive will crowd out the negative if the positive gets big and strong enough.
We must not only "always abound in the work of the Lord" we must WANT to do so, we must be lovingly and gratefully anxious to do so. God insists upon, not just all our strength, but --far more important -- all our heart and soul.
If a brother or sister truly gets the spirit of Christ, truly IS Christ's, it will not be necessary to exhort them to "always abound in the work of the Lord."
It will not be necessary to exhort them to attend and support all the classes and meetings of the ecclesia. If they have the spirit of Christ, if they truly are Christ's -- in heart and not just in name -- they just could not stay away, if it were humanly possible to get there. Their whole heart and soul and mind would be with the brethren and sisters -- those few whom God has given us as companions in the glorious pathway to the Kingdom.
Paul agonizingly travailed in birth over many, long after they had passed through the waters of baptism, that Christ should be truly born in them.
A brother with the spirit of Christ would not dream of missing a meeting he could possibly attend, or of not supporting to the fulness of his means, yea, and beyond his means, every activity of the Truth and work of the Lord.
* * *
"They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh..."
Do we regard our real life and joy as the time we are able to give to God's work, keeping all other activity to a minimum so that we can give the fulness of our heart and strength in thankful service to God?
Or do we live like the rest of the world -- busy days, lazy evenings, pleasure-seeking weekends, minds full of worldly things -- wrapped up in houses, gardens, cars, boats, sports, food, raiment, personal adornment, and the pitifully childish decking out of these vile, perishing bodies -- interested in the world's activities -- excited about sports, stupified by television?
The call of the Gospel is a call to WORK -- lifelong work, and it does not mean just a poor little self-satisfied hour a week sending out lecture invitations.
It means continuous day-in and day-out labor and dedication, in season and out of season.
Consider a few passages:
"Who is a faithful and wise servant... blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh shall find so doing."
"Thou wicked and slothful servant! Take the pound from him and give it to him that hath ten pounds."
"Occupy till I come."
"Unto whom much is given, from him shall much be required."
"Depart from me: I was hungry and ye fed me not, thirsty and ye gave me no drink; naked and ye clothed me not, a stranger and ye took me not in."
"When ye have done ALL that is commanded you (who can ever feel they have?) say, We are unprofitable servants."
"ALWAYS ABOUNDING in the work of the Lord."
Are these discouraging? Not a bit of it! But they are challenging, they are thought-provoking; they are deeply searching and penetrating. Do we have the mind of Christ?
"I must be about my Father's business."
If we have the mind of Christ we shall eagerly desire, like Paul, to "spend and be spent" in the service of our beloved Master. We shall resolutely strip our life of all non-essentials that cater to the flesh, and devote all our time and strength and goods to the welfare of the Truth and the Brotherhood.
"If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is NONE OF HIS."
* * *
The mind of Christ is more than eager labor for God. It is love, kindness, gentleness, patience, joyfulness, cheerfulness, rejoicing even in tribulation, eagerness to make peace, to forgive and seek forgiveness, to cover a multitude of sins. Let us frankly rate ourselves in these characteristics.
"If we would judge (diakrino-examine) ourselves, we should not be judged (krino--chastened, punished, condemned by God)."
Paul says in verse 8 (still in Rom. 8):
"To be spiritually minded is life and peace."
Therefore, if we do not have peace -- inner peace --peace of mind -- cheerful, joyful inner harmony -- we are not spiritually minded -- we have not the mind of Christ -- we are none of his.
Upon what does peace of mind depend? Upon two things:
1. Recognizing that "ALL things work together for good." That whatever happens is for the best and has a wise and loving divine purpose, and if fully accepted and property used, will lead us forward on the way toward etemal joy.
Therefore Paul could say:
"I rejoice in tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience godliness."
2. A consciousness of harmony with God, to the best of our ability, and ever striving for closer harmony.
We shall never be perfect. We shall never be able to do all we would, or as well as we would, but if our life as a whole is dedicated to God and to love, and we feel in ourselves we are each day getting just a little closer, we shall have peace of mind.
* * *
The mind of Christ is unselfishness. We shall never be any good to God as long as we are wrapped up in ourselves, wrapped up in our own petty pleasures and problems.
There is nothing smaller than a self-centered mind. There is nothing larger than a spiritual mind. It comprehends eternity. It is free and untrammelled. It radiates power and goodness,
In the first eleven chapters of Romans Paul paints a broad and glorious picture of the purpose of God with mankind. It is tremendous and overwhelming, especially as compared with this petty, crawling existence, and Paul himself expresses the godly mind's awed and reverent reaction at the end of chapter 11:
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God..."
"For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory for everl"
Then, beginning chapter 12, he brings the whole weight and force of this magnificient divine revelation to bear directly upon you and upon me:
"I beseech you THEREFORE, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice."
This word "beseech" is a strong one. In 2nd Corinthians 8:4 it is translated "with much entreaty." It carries the sense of great urgency -- intense pleading and persuasion. It expresses Paul's deep conviction that this is the only POSSIBLE way that gratitude can respond to such divine love and wisdom.
'I beseech you therefore by the mercies of God."
He does not command, by the judgment of God, but be seeches by His mercy. We, too, must maintain this approach. The deeper we go into the responsibilities and obligations of the Truth, the more we must present them as a beseeching because of mercy, rather than a commanding because of judgment.
In view of the infinite mercies of God, His love, His forbearing, His kindness toward man in providing such a glorious destiny, I beseech you to present your bodies a living sacrifice.
* * *
"I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1).
This, too, is a familiar passage with Christadelphians. It has a powerful, stirring ring, and adds life to any exhortation.
But do we know what it MEANS? Have we DONE -- are we DOING -- what he so impassionedly pleads with us to do?
"That ye present your BODIES a living sacrifice."
Why our bodies? Why does he not say our hearts, our minds, our lives? Because he wants to drive it home in as practical and powerful way as possible.
Most people prefer to keep their religion indefinite and ethereal -- feelings and emotions -- sensations and experiences.
But Paul says, Present your BODIES, your hands and feet, your eyes and ears and mouth, you, yourself, in all your daily activity -- your attention, your abilities, your strength.
"A living sacriftce" -- a life of sacrifice. Sacrifice is a yielding up -- an offering -- a total devotion to a purpose. Sacrifice is a joyful thing -- a privilege and an opportunity. The sacrifices of the Mosaic Law were for reconciliation, for thanksgiving, for fellowship and communion with God -- a joyful seeking of His presence, a thankful recognition of His goodness, an expression of participation in the greatness of His purpose.
"Holy." This is an essential part of the mind of Christ:
"Be ye holy, for I am holy."
"Be ye holy in all manner of conversation."
"Without holiness no man shall see God."
Holiness is separation, both mental and physical, from all that is unclean and defiling. The world is unholy, fleshly, carnal. All its actions are unholy -- for they are natural and animal. "The whole world," says John, "lieth in wickedness."
Mankind is defiled because of sin. ALL natural thinking, ALL natural activity is sin. It is part of the sin constitution; it is unsanctified. Ungodliness, unholiness is our natural atmosphere and condition as sons of Adam.
Holiness is a repudiation of all that is natural, and a prayerful endeavor to think and act in harmony with all that is spiritual. It is a day-to-day and moment-to-moment subduing of the flesh.
Holiness in its deepest aspect is a purifying of the mind from natural thoughts and desires and reactions, and filling the mind continually with spiritual thoughts -- thoughts of God and His goodness and His glorious purpose and revelation.
Holiness is feeding deeply on the Word of God -- striving to fill the mind with its beauties -- to expand the mind from the natural pettiness of the flesh to largeness and breadth of comprehension. Paul says:
"The natural man cannot know the things of the Spirit of God ... but he that is spiritual discerneth all things. . ."
"We have the mind of Christ."
Holiness is cleansing the heart by the washing of the Word, recognizing that the natural motions of the flesh are evil, selfish, impatient, unkind, harsh, proud, unclean -- realizing that only by constant prayer and study and effort can the natural man be put to death within us, and the new man be created and nourished into newness of life.
The fruit of the Spirit -- the mind of the Spirit -- is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control.
* * *
The fruit of the Spirit -- the mind of Christ -- is love -- a spirit of sympathy and kindness and compassion and mercy -- a Godlike, Christlike outlook toward others -- not condoning sin, but sincerely desirous of helping others out of the way of sin into the way of life -- a deep fellow-feeling for all the victims of this death-tending body of sin.
This was the mind of Christ:
"I came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them."
This must be our mind too.
Holiness forbids us from associating with sin and error, but it is not ours to condemn, only to exhort and persuade.
The flesh is quick to criticize and condemn, to find fault, to talk of the sins and weaknesses of others. The flesh is very quick to impute motives, to pass judgment.
Truly we must preach righteousness, as Christ did, clearly and fearlessly, we must preach holiness; we must preach perfection. Truly we must condemn sin.
But we must do it as a doctor, seeking to heal and make strong, rather than as an executioner, zealous to destroy.
We must point out with crystal clarity, and to the best of our ability, what is wrong and what is right, what leads to life and what leads to death, what is of the flesh and what is of the Spirit.
But how sad -- how unutterably tragic -- when our condemnation of the flesh is made in the spirit of the flesh! And this we find is usually the case, for the loving, forgiving, reconciling, spiritual mind of Christ is so rare among men, even among men called brethren.
How quick we are to call down fire from heaven! How we like to feed our pride and self-esteem with what we like to call "righteous indignation" and "zeal for the Lord"!
Christ led a life of patience, and gentleness, and submission to evil, praying for his enemies, doing good to them that hated him, even as he taught his followers.
But on rare occasions, by the direct authority and inspiration of God, he spoke in burning condemnation of stubborn, entrenched wickedness and self-righteous hypocrisy which had seen the Spirit manifested in mighty power, and had presumptuously rejected it.
Because our flesh is evil, we would much rather copy him in the latter than in the former -- much rather ape his special divine authority than follow his self-crucifying example.
"Love suffereth long, and is kind; love seeketh not her own, thinketh no evil, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things; love covereth a multitude of sins."
The fruit of the Spirit -- the mind of Christ -- is joy. This must be our basic frame of mind -- joy in God, joy in His infinite goodness and mercy -- joy in the assurance that all things work together for good, joy that -- regardless of the trial and discouragements of the passing present -- we are on the winning side, the eternal side, the side of righteousness and power, the side that is guaranteed the eternal victory.
Joy that we have been shown the meaning and purpose of the present groaning travail of creation -- that it is merely the brief birth pangs of a glorious eternal creation of righteousness -- a new heaven and earth of eternal beauty.
These are the things to which God's love has called us, and all our frustrations and struggles and problems are stepping stones to that glorious destiny.
If we have the mind of Christ, we shall be filled with an unearthly joy and thankfulness that radiates to all around us. They will perceive, as men did of the apostles, that we have been with Jesus. We shall seek to communicate our joy to all, and embrace them in its transforming power.
We shall joyfully forgive seventy times seven.
We shall fervently pray for those who oppose and abuse us.
We shall eagerly return good for evil, thanking God for the opportunity that opposition gives us of manifesting the living power and beauty of goodness.
And we shall do this with joy and kindness and thankful humility that God has entrusted us with just a little bit of His divine wisdom to manifest to men the beauty of holiness.
The fruit of the Spirit -- the mind of Christ -- is peace. Peace is harmony with God:
"Great peace have they that love Thy law, and nothing shall offend them."
We can never have peace while our heart is divided, or interested in worldly things. Peace can only come through single-minded devotion to spiritual things. Paul says to the Philippians (4:4-7), giving four sure, divinely-attested steps guaranteeing peace:
1. "Rejoice in the Lord."
2. "Let your gentleness be manifest to all men."
3. "Do not worry about anything."
4. "But in everything -- (there is the key word) -- in EVERY THING by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God."
-- and the promised result is positive and inevitable:
"The peace of God which passeth all understanding, SHALL keep your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ."
Do we have this peace of God which he describes in such marvelous terms? Do we experience this quiet, unassailable, joyful tranquility of which the world has no comprehension? We are invited to partake of it. The way is clearly shown:
1. Rejoice in the Lord.
In view of God's infinite goodness, there is no other possible frame of mind for His children.
2. Be gentle, loving, and forebearing toward all men.
In view of man's pitiful frailty and weakness, there is no other possible attitude for God's children.
Gentleness is the key to all worthwhile relationships. It is self-control and spirituality-beauty and dignity and maturity of character. The flesh is naturally rough and crude, and if we have the mere facts of the Gospel without its gentle spirit, our zeal for God will be but fleshly self-assertion and rudeness.
3. Do not worry about anything.
Worry is distrust, fear, unfaith, disbelief, lack of trust in God.
4. Draw near to God in everything and for everything -- in thankfulness and prayer.
Drawing near to God does not mean merely pious supplication. It means a quiet and consistent effort to approach unto the likeness of His glorious character and holiness.
This is peace. This is the mind of Christ. This is the mind of the Spirit -- the overcoming of the flesh and of the world. This is the way of life -- the only POSSIBLE way of life:
"To be fleshly minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."
"If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his" (Rom. 8:6-9).
Paul commands (Rom. 12: 10):
"Be kindly-affectioned one to another, with brotherly love."
This clearly does not refer to times and circumstances when this comes naturally, for then we have no need of the exhortation.
Its significant bearing is upon times when circumstances would provoke us to be otherwise. Brethren are always brethren, no matter how they act. They must some day answer for it as brethren. Our kindness and affection may be the one needful thing in winning a brother back to the way of life, so in failing to manifest them we may have a brother's blood upon our hands at the Judgment seat of Christ. We are our brother's keeper, and it is the erring ones that most need our love.
* * *
In chapter 14 (of Romans) Paul expounds and manifests by example one of the deepest and most powerful aspects of the mind of Chrtst -- a divine principle of conduct that can solve easily and simply nearly all problems among brethren.
Paul is speaking of cases where the action of one brother, though perfectly legitimate in itself, causes concern or offence or distress to another. HERE is the great test of the mind of Christ:
"Let no man judge his brother, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."
"If thy brother be grieved with thy meat -- or anything you may do that is not essential to be done -- now walkest thou not in love."
"Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died."
Christ gladly died for him, even while he was yet a sinner, in the hope of his redemption, but if we willfully distress others and cause them to stumble by persisting in things which they do not believe are right (v. 21):
"It is good neither to eat flesh, nor drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak."
If we persist in anything that troubles another brother or sister, we create tension and estrangement that gradually erodes ecclesial unity and frays the bonds of affection that are essential to sound ecclesial life. "No man," says Paul in this chapter, "lives to himself."
Our every act has an eternal, unchangeable effect, for good or ill. A small evil may have everlasting reverberations. Speaking on the same subject to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 8:13), Paul sums up his own mind, and the mind of Christ:
"Wherefore if meat make my brother to offend, I WILL EAT NO FLESH WHILE THE WORLD STANDETH lest I make my brother to offend."
The pre-eminent motive of love is the welfare of others, and the forebearing of one's own desires and advantage for the common good.
WHOEVER IS NOT DEEPLY IMBUED WITH THIS SENTI MENT AS THE MAIN-SPRING OF THEIR LIVES IS NOT A BROTHER OF CHRIST AND NEED EXPECT NO WELCOME FROM HIM WHEN HE RETURNS.
"If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
"We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves."
"Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification."
"For even Christ pleased not himsetf, but as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me."
CHRIST HIMSELF, THE SON OF GOD, THE KING OF KINGS, THE HEIR OF THE UNIVERSE, PLEASED NOT HIMSELF, BUT CHOSE THE PATH OF REPROACH AND SUFFERING AND SELF-DENIAL FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS.
Paul again stresses this essential principle of godliness in writing to the Philippians (2:1-5):
"Fulfil ye my joy; be likeminded; have the same love: let nothing be done through strife or pride. . . "
"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."