Friday, March 21, 2008

Who is God?

But this Jesus whom you crucified, God has made him both Lord and Messiah (Acts 2:36).

This dual title, 'Lord and Messiah', gives a clue as to how the Hebrew scriptures were understood. In their Greek translation, the covenant name of God, Yahweh (Exod 3) is translated 'Kyrios'. For example, in Psalm 110:1, the Hebrew text says 'YHWH says to Adon, sit at my right hand...'. The two characters in the dialogue are distinguished by two different titles. The Greek translation of Psalm 110:1, however, from which Peter quoted in Acts 2:34 reads: 'the Lord says to my Lord...'. Our English versions reflect the fact that the same noun is used for both persons. The distinction that was clear in the Hebrew text became ambiguous in the Greek text.

What distinguishes the Father and the Son is not a difference in divine essence, but a difference in their persons and it belongs to the person of the Son to become incarnate, but the incarnate Son is and remains consubstantial with the Father.

God the Son did not first appear in the history of redemption in the incarnation, but has been mediating the knowledge of God and saving his people for millennia before. This is how the Apostle Paul read the history of salvation and why he declared: 'There is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus' (1Tim 2:5). We see this way of thinking in his admonition to the Corinthians regarding their conduct at the Lord's Table, where he reminded them that they were not the first to be baptised (1Cor 10:1f) and they were not the first to eat the Lord's Supper (1Cor 10:3). Indeed, they ate the same food and drank the same drink we do: 'For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ'. Paul did not see only occasional types of Christ in the Hebrew Scriptures. Rather, he saw God the Son actively operating throughout Scripture. In other words, the unity of the covenant of grace is not merely typological but substantial.

Christians today are partakers of the same justifying and saving grace by which God the Son justified and redeemed his people before the incarnation. Paul said this much when he told the Corinthians: 'For the Son of God Jesus the Messiah whom we preached among not Yes and No, but in him the Yes has come. For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him. Wherefore also through him is our Amen to God for his glory' (2Cor 1:19-20).

'You were redeemed...with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake' (1Pt 1:19f).


Blogger Span Ows said...

Today is also, of course , your anniversary...a burning issue resolved!


21 March 2008 at 14:25  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace
i think I see what you are illuminating,lord always seems to go hand in hand with law ,but the messiah is somthing for which there is no law .
jesus was very reluctant to take on titles that others wanted him to be for them , many people wanted a warrior savior , with powers to defeat the enemy with physical/magical power.

the temple keepers know of the messiah prophecy and were expecting somthing very regal even golden to speak to them and through them first.

mighty rome was not troubled by anything that could not match its legions.

what i find so fascinating is that christ did not appear to these men as powerful. this reference of son to father has the most significance for me on the fullness of love that is obtained by our actions and thoughts towards one another .

you would expect the son of god to show the perfect relationship to his father ,and equally the son of man to be weak in his /her failings and frailities.

the messiah must be for the son of man and lord for the son of god .

21 March 2008 at 17:32  
Anonymous Brother Jonathan said...

Christian theology is so abstruse that only a few experts really comprehend it, or pretend to comprehend it. Christian morality, on the other hand, is a most beautiful and liberating thing. I thank you for trying to explain the first and continually pointing us to the second.

May your Easter be full of wonder and gratitude.

21 March 2008 at 21:19  
Blogger Surreptitious Evil said...

It is not that we "were redeemed", in the words of St Paul who was addressing those alive at the time of the Crucifixion: it is that we, alive now, are still redeemed by that once and eternal sacrifice - the redemption of the sinful by the act of the sinless.

Happy Easter.

21 March 2008 at 22:16  

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