Perfection - the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.
Jesus Christ embodies God’s glory and fullness. More than that, he is the only perfect man who has ever lived. Jesus became perfect through suffering, obedience, and God’s indwelling.
Jesus came to Earth to be our “perfect” substitute, dying in our place, paying the death penalty for our sin.
Romans 6:23 GNTD For sin pays its wage—death; but God's free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is why He was born of a virgin. God supernaturally planted a specially created seed in a virgin girl’s womb. That way Jesus’ Blood would come from that specially created seed.
Luke 1:34-35 GNTD Mary said to the angel, “I am a virgin. How, then, can this be?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and God's power will rest upon you. For this reason the holy child will be called the Son of God.
Jesus’ Blood came from a Perfect, Holy God, making Him the “perfect” sacrifice for our sin!
This made Jesus fully God and fully man. He was not some half-God, half-human freak! Jesus was the Perfect God-man, similar to Adam before he sinned. This is why the Bible calls Jesus “The Last Adam”.
1 Corinthians 15:45 GNTD For the scripture says, “The first man, Adam, was created a living being”; but the last Adam is the life-giving Spirit.
Someone had to pay the price for Adam’s sin and the sin of all humanity. It had to be a man, a perfect man.
Hebrews 10:14 MSG It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people.
Stop Trying to Be Perfect
By Rick Warren
“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (Ecclesiastes 11:4 TLB). (Emphasis mine)
When you learn how to relax in God’s liberating grace and break out of the prison of perfectionism, you will find a new level of joy and freedom in your life. Why? Because perfectionism is destructive to your life in several ways.
1. It defeats your initiative.
Have you ever had a project you haven’t been able to get started? You think, “One of these days I’m going to get around to it,” but you just can’t take that first step. One possible reason is perfectionism. You’re waiting for the perfect circumstance or timing, or you’re waiting until the kids get out of school, or you’re waiting until a certain amount of money comes in. When you set your standards so high, perfectionism causes paralysis, and you can’t get anything done.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 11:4, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (TLB).
2. It damages your relationships.
Nobody likes being nagged or corrected all the time. It’s frustrating and irritating! The Bible says, “Love forgets mistakes; nagging about them parts the best of friends” (Proverbs 17:9 TLB). Perfectionism—the desire to always correct—damages relationships because it’s rooted in insecurity. Perfectionists who are harsh and demanding on other people are really harsh and demanding on themselves.
3. It destroys your happiness.
Ecclesiastes 7:16 says, “Don’t be too virtuous, and don’t be too wise. Why make yourself miserable?” (GW). This Scripture isn’t talking about genuine righteousness or real wisdom. It’s talking about perfectionism. You can transform any virtue into a vice by taking it to the extreme.
Your worst nag lives under your skin, because you are your own worst critic. (That’s true for all of us!) Since we tend to resent and even dislike people who nag us, if you’re always nagging yourself, what does that say about you? It says that you don’t like yourself. You think you’re not good enough. And you think reminding yourself what’s wrong with you is going to motivate you into doing the right thing. It’s not! That’s called perfectionism, and it causes you to constantly put yourself down.
There’s just one antidote to perfectionism. It’s not in a self-help book or a doctor’s office. You can only learn to relax when you fully experience the liberating grace of God.
Every time something bad happens, a disaster, a death, an illness, or a financial catastrophe, many people either ask “Why would God allow this to happen” or why did God do this”? Why are we struck with a debilitating illness in the prime of life, why does one of our children die young, or why do we lose a job right after we sign a big mortgage? What about facing foreclosure because we haven’t been able to find a job? Why is your spouse stricken with a chronic illness ending in death? When these things happen in succession we search for answers.
When things happen that don’t appear to make sense, or go against what we think is good, we Christians say God did it or allowed it. I’ve heard that very thing more times than you think. We say that God does or allows bad stuff because we don’t understand how a God that we believe loves us, can allow us go through situations that stretch our abilities as human beings to handle or understand.
When it gets to this point we need to be reminded of the promises of God from His Word.
Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
That means He’s with you in the good times and the bad times.
Hebrews 13:5 NIV Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Psalm 34:19 NIV The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;
That sounds good, however when troubles lingers and even more trouble comes we may start to wonder if anybody hears or really cares. When it gets to that point we need to be reminded that God who made those promises that we read before, really does love us.
1 John 4:7- 11 NIV Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
That says that God really does loves us.
He’s also left us some reminders of that love,
Reminder #1 Creation
The creation itself should remind us of how all powerful God is. It is also evidence that He exists. The very fact that he created the universe and then allowed us to be masters over the earth should remind us that there is somebody out there who is bigger than we are.
Romans 1:20 (NLT)20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
These things about God’s creation remind us of how big God is, His faithfulness, and proof that He loves you.
Reminder #2 The People We Meet
God uses what we may consider chance meetings or encounters to benefit us later. God had plans for you before you were born. There are no mere coincidences. You’ve never met anybody by accident. Like the prophet Jeremiah
Jeremiah 1:5 (NLT) “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
Psalms 37:23 NLT The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Think about some relationships that you had when you were in school. Not those where you stayed in close contact but people that you haven’t seen for years or have never seen ever again, maybe a teacher, a coach, or just another classmate. Think about the impact on you and your life of something they said, an introduction to someone else, or an example you follow today.
When you doubt whether God cares about you and loves you think about the people that he has placed in your life over the years. If I just sit and think back about some of the difficult and stressful times I’ll remember somebody doing something, or saying something or giving me something, seemingly out of the blue that helped get me through. That wasn't just a coincidence that was a reminder that God loves me.
Reminder #3: Jesus - The Greatest Reminder
Jesus is the greatest reminder of all of God’s love. When we realize that God gave His Son Jesus so that He could pay the ransom for mankind and take the punishment of sin we know that God loves us. Jesus came and willingly laid down His life for us.
Psalm 34:17-18 NIV The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
When you wrestle with anxiety and stress especially in situations where you have no control remember all that He went through for you. Remember the agony in the garden of Gethsemane, the humiliation at His trial, the beatings and finally His crucifixion. It looked as if He had no control over any of this but on the third day He rose from the dead to show that God never lost control. Jesus is the Greatest Reminder that God loves you and He understands what you are going through, because He experienced the same kinds of suffering we experience.
Hebrews 2:14-18 NIV Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
A Savior Who Understands
Dr. Charles Stanley
We do not have a Savior who’s isolated in heaven with no idea what it feels like to have human struggles. No, our Lord left the glories of heaven behind and added humanity to His deity. He temporarily gave up the use of some of His attributes, applying them only as the Father directed Him.
Jesus understands precisely how we feel because He went through the same types of situations we do. Though details of our lives may not match His, the experiences and feelings are alike. Let's look at several examples of how He identifies with us:
Misunderstanding: People constantly misunderstood His claims to be the Son of God.
Rejection: He was unappreciated by the ones He came to love and die for.
Pressure: Crowds surrounded Him, begging for help and demanding His attention.
Exhaustion: He experienced all the weakness of humanity.
Loneliness: At Gethsemane, when He needed human companionship the most, His closest friends fell asleep.
Temptation: Satan hit Him with every imaginable type of attack and temptation.
Hatred: Religious leaders despised Him.
Injustice: Though Jesus lived a sinless life, He died a criminal’s death.
Pain: He suffered the excruciating pain of scourging and crucifixion.
Whatever you’re going through right now, remember that Jesus knows how you feel and sympathizes with your pain and weakness. He may not remove the anguish or change your situation, but He’ll always give you the grace to resist temptation, endure suffering, and grow in spiritual maturity.
Taken from “Our Savior Understands” by In Touch Ministries (used by permission)
Romans 10:15 NIV And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Bold mine)
When Paul wrote his letter to the church in Rome when he said
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”. He was quoting from;
Isaiah 52:7-10 (NKJV)7 How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"8 Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, With their voices they shall sing together; For they shall see eye to eye When the LORD brings back Zion.9 Break forth into joy, sing together, You waste places of Jerusalem! For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed jerusalem.10 The LORD has made bare His holy arm In the eyes of all the nations; And all the ends of the earth shall see The salvation of our God. (Bold mine)
What's This Good News?
This is one of the earliest usages of “Good news,” or as we would say today “the gospel.”
The word "gospel" comes from the Greek word evangelion (translated in Old English as "good news" or "good spell"). The term implies and includes salvation - literally meaning, the message that saves us.
So what is the good news being proclaimed by Isaiah? Isaiah is talking about a time when Jerusalem is desolate. Its ruination was no accident—it was God’s punishment for Judah’s long disobedience. Before Jerusalem’s destruction, God tried to call his people back to himself. He was patient beyond all reasonable bounds. He tried to win them with kindness. He tried to warn them with discipline. But they would not listen.
Isaiah 6:10 (NKJV)10 "Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed."
Finally, He sent Babylon to deliver His punishment and destroy Jerusalem.
Ezekiel 18:30-32 (NKJV)30 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!
He even abandoned his Temple
In the first chapter of Ezekiel the prophet saw a vision of the glory of God while he was among the exiles in Babylon. In that vision God showed Him that He was abandoning the temple. Which was the place of God’s presence. It indicated that He had had it with Israel’s disobedience.
Ezekiel 10:3-4 (NKJV)3 Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and the cloud filled the inner court.4 Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and paused over the threshold of the temple; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory.
Ezekiel 10:18-19 (NKJV)18 Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim.19 And the cherubim lifted their wings and mounted up from the earth in my sight. When they went out, the wheels were beside them; and they stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD'S house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.
It seemed as though human rebellion finally overwhelmed God’s gracious plan to bless the nations and restore creation. But then Isaiah announces, “Good news!” What is the news? “Your God reigns!” God has not given up on Israel, so there is hope for the world. God promises a day when he will establish his reign on earth and bring about his great restoration.
Isaiah 52:7 (NKJV)7 How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
The figure who accomplishes this is an unlikely hero: a suffering servant.
Isaiah 52:13-14 (NKJV)13 Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.14 Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men;
This servant ransoms and cleanses God’s people with his own blood.
Isaiah 53:5-9 (NKJV)5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
9 And they made His grave with the wicked-- But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
Kings and rulers mocked him at his death
Isaiah 53:3 (NKJV)3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Afterward they realized that his apparent defeat was actually His victory
Isaiah 53:12 (NKJV)12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.
So they exalt him as king of kings and lord of lords.
Philippians 2:9-11 (NKJV)9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
That good news is that Jesus, the suffering servant, reigns! Jesus brought about his rule by defeating, cleansing and ransoming a people for God. Isaiah spoke of this messenger to Israel before he ever arrived. We must hear his message and trust it before it is totally fulfilled at the return of Jesus. Your God reigns. That's good news!
Think about this for a minute. Those of us whose ancestors went through the degradation of slavery, the beatings, the separation of families, the total loss a personal and familial identity, ancestry and heritage we have a tiny idea of what it was like for Jesus when on the cross. He was beaten, and killed, not for anything that He had done but for all of the sins committed by all those before He came to earth, those committed during the time that He was on earth, and every sin that will be committed until He returns to the earth. Think about that and then think about this; God commanded that no Israelite be punished to the extent that he or she was degraded.
Deuteronomy 25:1-3 ESV "If there is a dispute between men and they come into court and the judges decide between them, acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty, then if the guilty man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall cause him to lie down and be beaten in his presence with a number of stripes in proportion to his offense. Forty stripes may be given him, but not more, lest, if one should go on to beat him with more stripes than these, your brother be degraded in your sight.
Yet He allowed His Son, Jesus, to be beaten to a pulp and then hung on a cross with a crown of thorns to mock the fact that He was a king. God the Father allowed His Son to be degraded, to be treated or regarded with contempt or disrespect for you!
This is something that we as humans can’t understand. All that we can do is praise and worship the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit for His love, grace, and mercy.
After reading “A Prayer of Praise for the Cross” written by Mark Altrogge, I have an even greater appreciation of what really happened on the cross.
A Prayer of Praise for the Cross
By Mark Altrogge
“If there is a dispute between men and they come into court and the judges decide between them, acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty, then if the guilty man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall cause him to lie down and be beaten in his presence with a number of stripes in proportion to his offense. Forty stripes may be given him, but not more, lest, if one should go on to beat him with more stripes than these, your brother be degraded in your sight.” (Deuteronomy 25:1-3)
How merciful God was in dealing with Israel. A convicted man was to be whipped in the presence of the judge. But he was only to be given a number of strokes in proportion to his crime. The maximum he could receive was 40 stripes, so that he would not be degraded in the sight of his brother. Some crimes might have deserved more than 40 strokes, but God in his kindness did not want to see anyone humiliated in front of his brothers.
But he did not show the same mercy toward his Son.
Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. (MT 27:26)
The ESV footnote for the word “scourged? says: “A Roman judicial penalty, consisting of a severe beating with a multi-lashed whip containing imbedded pieces of bone and metal.” These cruel whips would literally shred the skin of one’s back and sides.
God, who would spare a guilty man from excessive whipping so he would not be humiliated in front of his brother, did not spare Jesus from degradation. How dehumanizing it was when the Roman soldiers mercilessly whipped him, crowned him with thorns, draped a purple robe over his shoulders, placed a reed in his hands for a scepter, then bowed before him paying him mock homage. How degrading as they struck him and spit in his face. How degrading it was when they stripped him in front of everyone than crucified him like a criminal. How humiliating it was for Jesus to hang there gasping for air, while the crowd mocked and laughed at him in his suffering.
Jesus endured the ultimate degradation of becoming so identified with our sin that his own Father poured out his wrath upon him.
He did all that for us – guilty sinners – we deserved to be degraded and humiliated in the ultimate sense. To perish in hell for eternity. But when we believe in Jesus and call upon him to save us, instead of receiving the degradation we deserve, he clothes us with his righteousness, adopts us as his own children, crowns us with glory. What an incredible, amazing God we serve!
O Lord Jesus, you were scourged and humiliated and degraded for me that I might be lifted up, adopted as a child of God, and share in your inheritance. All glory, honor and praise to you.
Mark 16:14-20 NIV Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
Many Christians use this scripture as evidence that all Christians are able to “drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”, but is that really true. Let’s take a look at the context of the scripture and what followed after Jesus was taken up into heaven.
The "them" is referring to the apostles, therefore, there is no evidence that all believers can do what the apostles did. What did occur is the word was first preached and the signs and wonders followed to validate the new leadership for the Church. In much the same way Jesus’ miracles were to validate his person and message.
Signs and wonders were to follow those who believe, not the believer following after the signs.
Acts 14:1-3 NIV At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders (emphasis mine).
Signs and wonders, miracles are not for the Christians who already believe, they accompanied the Gospel and were done in the presence of the unbelievers to have them believe in the message. If we look at the book of Acts who was it that took up a serpent? (not on purpose) Paul an apostle. Who laid hands on the sick? The apostles. This was never a normal occurrence for everyone who was a Christian. It's not that we can't pray for the sick today, we can. And the Lord may use whoever he may wish to today (The Holy Spirit has given some, not all, the Spiritual Gift of Healing). If signs and wonders were to follow all who believe how could one tell who the apostles were. There would be no distinction in leadership. The very reason for the signs and miracles were to appoint the apostles as a governing leadership over Gods new entity the Church. This was not entrusted into everyone's hands that believe but those who were hand picked and spent time with Jesus. Those who were to dispense the new teaching of Jesus God used and validated by working through them signs and miracles like Jesus.
Acts 2:42-43 NIV They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles (emphasis mine).
Acts 5:12 NIV The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. (emphasis mine)
If you are strong in faith you don't need signs and wonders to know that the Father cares for you. You don’t need to be further convinced of God by the exhibiting of power. We don't need signs and wonders to prove that He exists or that He hears our prayers.
Romans 10:17-18 NIV Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
Without seeing any evidence of supernatural manifestations, we can believe because God has granted us grace to believe based upon the testimony of His Word.
Signs And Wonders Attract, Love Reaches
John 13:34-35 NIV “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
What's the difference between attracting and reaching?
To attract is cause to come to a place or participate by offering something of interest, favorable conditions, or opportunities. To reach is to stretch out in order to touch or grasp something.
God has a strange way of reaching the world. There was a guy who followed and served Jesus for two decades. But one morning he woke up and realized he did not really believe any of it. He prayed for things that God never gave. He asked to hear God’s voice, but never heard a sound. He asked to see God, but never did. So he framed a blank piece of paper and set it on his desk, telling God to write something on it if he was real. Until then, he would live as an atheist. To this day, that paper is blank. Wouldn’t God be wise do one of these things for every living person, so that no one could deny his reality?
Jesus says, “No. I will show myself in a different way.” Perhaps he knew better. After three years of undeniable miracles, people still put him to death. He also knew the story of Israel, how it only took a few months after the miracles of the Exodus for them to bow down before idols. Miracles simply aren’t as convincing as we think. But real-life love between friends, spouses and a community is deeply convincing (especially when that love transcends socio-economic, ethnic and national borders).
This is, perhaps, why Jesus said he would convince the world not through miracles, but through our love.
As missionaries who reach their neighbors and co-workers by loving each other well? When people see and hear our love, they will finally ask: what empowers you to love so strangely? When we answer, “Jesus,” we might just convince someone.
Matthew 22:37-40 NIV Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Galatians 6:2 NIV Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
There is much debate among Christians about our requirements for obeying the Law as presented in the Old Testament. The Law they are talking about is really all of the rules and regulations that God gave Moses (including the Ten Commandments) during the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites.
The key to understanding the relationship betweening the Christian and the Law is knowing that the Old Testament law was given to the nation of Israel, not to Christians. Some of the laws were to reveal to the Israelites how to obey and please God (the Ten Commandments Exodus 20:1-17,). Some of the laws were to show the Israelites how to worship God and atone for sin (the sacrificial system Numbers 15). Some of the laws were intended to make the Israelites distinct from other nations (the food and clothing rules Leviticus 11, 13, 19, ). The Old Testament law is not binding on Christians today. When Jesus died on the cross, He put an end to the Old Testament law.
Romans 10:4 NIV Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
Galatians 3:23-25 NIV Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
Ephesians 2:14-15 NIV For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace,
Christians are under the Law of Christ, not the Old Testament Law
Galatians 6:2 NIV Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
The law of Christ a summary of Jesus’ response to a question about the greatest Commandment.
Matthew 22:34-40 NIV Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
This doesn’t mean the Old Testament law is irrelevant today. Many of the commands in the Old Testament law fall into the categories of “loving God” and “loving your neighbor.” The Old Testament law can be a good guidepost for knowing how to love God and knowing what goes into loving your neighbor.
The Ten Commandments were essentially a summary of the entire Old Testament law. Nine of the Ten Commandments are clearly repeated in the New Testament (all except the command to observe the Sabbath day). If we are loving God, we will not be worshipping false gods or bowing down before idols. If we are loving our neighbors, we will not be murdering them, lying to them, committing adultery against them, or coveting what belongs to them. The purpose of the Old Testament law is to convict people of our inability to keep the law and point us to our need for Jesus Christ as Savior.
Romans 7:7-12 NIV What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
Galatians 3:23-24 NIV Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.
While we will never keep God’s commandments or be righteous before Him by our own efforts, Christ did. It is His sacrificial death on the cross that causes our sins to be imputed to Him and His righteousness imputed to us.
Romans 3:21-22a NIV But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
Here's the problem;
Romans 7:14-20, 25 NIV We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Here's the solution;
Romans 10:9-13 NIV If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Salvation is not by the Law
The gospel message is that we can receive forgiveness of sins through faith in the sacrifice of Christ. It was Jesus who kept of the law perfectly and never sinned sacrificed His life and died for our salvation.
1 Peter 2:21-22 NIV To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
Christians have "died with Christ"
Romans 6:4 NIV We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
That means that they have also died to the law
Romans 7:4-6 NIV So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
Therefore, Christians are not obligated to keep the law in order to be saved. But, when we love God, love our neighbor, and love one another, it's love that fulfills the law.
Hold on, don't get to excited. Yes I know that without the cross and Jesus’ death,His sacrifice, on it, that our sins would not have been forgiven. I know that by His stripes we are healed. I know that He was bruised for our transgressions. I know all that. But what if He was never resurrected. His death would have been just like the sacrifice of the goat on The Day of Atonement. The other goat used that day symbolically carried the sins of the people away from God into the wilderness. This had to take place over and over every year.
Leviticus 16:6-10, 34 NIV “Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat. Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the Lord and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat. “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.” And it was done, as the Lord commanded Moses.
I have often said that Jesus’ resurrection was the proof that the Father had accepted His sacrifice as the last one needed to cover mankind’s sin. Jesus was the last sin offering and the last scapegoat. Although the Holy Spirit had made this crystal clear to me I had never been able to explain it to others in a way that was clear and concise.
I know that Resurrection Day (Easter), is long past, this year but I need to share what I read in my quiet time.
No Salvation Without The Resurrection
Excerpts from "Death Is Dead, Christ Has Conquered" by Sam Allberry
Too many of us view the resurrection of Jesus similarly—as little more than a nice, happy conclusion to the gospel story. As if after all the darkness of the betrayal, denial, and death, Spielberg was brought in to do the ending. Somewhere in the background a lavish sunset blazes away.
But the Easter story isn’t just “what happens next” to Jesus after his death. It doesn’t just wrap up the story; it fulfills it. In fact, there really is no story without it. It’s not just a matter of chronology but theology—vital, glorious theology. Without it we have nothing, and are nothing. The resurrection saves us. Good Friday is no good at all without Easter Sunday.
The resurrection doesn’t just wrap up the story; it fulfills it. Good Friday is no good at all without Easter Sunday.
No Resurrection, No Salvation
Paul reveals the necessity of Easter in a striking way: “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Rom. 4:25).
He connects the resurrection to our justification. He’s not saying we’re half-saved by the cross and half-saved by the resurrection. But he is saying without the resurrection, we are lost. No resurrection means no justification: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).
If Jesus is dead, our sin debt remains unpaid, and we remain under sin’s dominion. If there was no Easter life for Jesus, there is no new life for us. The blood of Jesus saves us because he is now alive.
But why exactly do we need the resurrection for these things to be certain? The wider story of the Bible shows us. The raising of Jesus from death is significant because death is significant. Only when we understand what death means will we be able to grasp what Easter means.
Sin Births Death
Death is the consequence of sin. Adam was told this as far back as Genesis 2—eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and “you will surely die” (Gen. 2:16–17). God is life, so turning from him is fatal. Sin both earns death (Rom. 6:23) and births death (James 1:15). Death is what sin chooses, what sin receives, and what sin deserves.
This accounts for why we have such a strange perception of death. Death is, when we think about it, one of the most normal things about life in this world, as sure as our birth. Yet we can’t reconcile ourselves to this reality. Death never really feels natural. It feels wrong. So we put huge effort into living as though death is not going to happen.
Our unease with death indicates we know perhaps more than we realize. Death (like sin) does not belong here. It’s something we were’t meant to experience. But sin leads to death, and so the existence of death proves the reality of sin.
As we grasp the significance of death, we can start to see the significance of resurrection. Raising Jesus from the dead was not an arbitrary stunt by God the Father. It wasn’t just a mega-miracle to prove he’s still there and still bigger—though that is true. No, the resurrection has meaning. The resurrection is the outworking and proof of our salvation because death is the outworking and proof of our sin. Jesus’s new life shows us the cycle of sin and death has finally been broken. There is new life to be had. Sin has been conquered.
It is therefore the resurrection of Jesus—and can only be the resurrection of Jesus—that assures us of salvation. Only the resurrection proves that our sins have been fully dealt with, that death is no longer our destination but a gateway to perfect, endless life.
The cross is not a starter pack. God doesn’t drum up most of what we need only to leave us fishing around in our pockets to provide the rest.
By dying and rising for us, the Son has closed the deal. In raising him from the dead, the Father has signed for it.
This article originally appeared on TheGospelCoalition.org. Used with permission.
John 14:6 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
I’m publishing this post in light of the conversation and debate surrounding the Christian belief that Jesus is the only way to salvation. That conversation and debate have become more active and visible with the release of the Netflix movie “Come Sunday”. The movie, based on actual events, is the story of Pastor Carlton Pearson change from the belief the Jesus Christ is the way to salvation, to the belief that all humans are saved and nobody goes to hell. Carlton is the former pastor of one of Tulsa's biggest churches. He controversially denounced the existence of Hell, which caused his peers and other faith leaders to brand him as a heretic. It also led to the foreclosure of the Higher Dimensions Evangelistic Center after his congregants abandoned his church.
Bruce Ware in an article Christianity.com answers the question; to “Is Jesus Christ really the only way to escape hell?”
Only One Way? The Exclusivity of Jesus Christ and the Gospel
By Bruce Ware
Editor’s Notes: Scriptures added by the publisher of this blog.
Two Questions, Three Positions
Three positions abound today on the question of whether Christ is the only way to salvation. All three can be detected by how each answers these two fundamental questions: First, Is Jesus the only Savior? More fully: Is the sinless life of Christ and his atoning death and resurrection the only means by which the penalty of sin is paid and the power of sin defeated? Second, Is faith in Christ necessary to be saved? More fully: Is conscious knowledge of Christ's death and resurrection for sin and explicit faith in Christ necessary for anyone to become a recipient of the benefits of Christ's atoning work and so be saved?
Pluralism answers both questions, ‘No.' The pluralist (e.g., John Hick) believes that there are many paths to God, Jesus being only one of them. Since salvation can come through other religions and religious leaders, it surely follows that people do not have to believe in Christ to be saved.
Inclusivism answers the first question, ‘Yes,' and the second question, ‘No.' To the inclusivist (e.g., Clark Pinnock), although Jesus has accomplished the work necessary to bring us back to God, nonetheless, people can be saved by responding positively to God's revelation in creation and perhaps in aspects of their own religions. So, even though Christ is the only Savior, people do not have to know about or believe in Christ to be saved.
Exclusivism answers both questions, ‘Yes.' The exclusivist (e.g., Ron Nash, John Piper, Bruce Ware) believes that Scripture affirms both truths, first, that Jesus alone has accomplished the atoning work necessary to save sinners, and second, that knowledge of and faith in Christ is necessary for anyone to be saved. The remainder of this article offers a brief summary of some of the main support for these two claims.
Jesus is the Only Savior
Why think that Jesus is the only Savior? Of all the people who have lived and ever will live, Jesus alone qualifies, in his person and work, as the only one capable of accomplishing atonement for the sin of the world. Consider the following ways in which Jesus alone qualifies as the exclusive Savior.
1. Christ alone was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin , and as such, he alone qualifies to be Savior.
Isaiah 7:14 (NKJV) Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Matthew 1:18 (NKJV) Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1:26-31 (NKJV)26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.
Why does this matter? Only as the Holy Spirit takes the place of the human father in Jesus' conception can it be true that the one conceived is both fully God and fully man. Christ must be both God and man to atone for sin (see below), but for this to occur, he must be conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a human virgin. No one else in the history of the world is conceived by the Spirit and born of a virgin mother. Therefore, Jesus alone qualifies to be Savior.
2. Christ alone is God incarnate , and as such, he alone qualifies to be Savior.
John 1:1 (NKJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Hebrews 1:1-3 (NKJV)1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Philippians 2:5-8 (NKJV)5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV) For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
As Anselm argued in the 11th century, our Savior must be fully man in order to take the place of men and die in their stead, and he must be fully God in order for the value of his sacrificial payment to satisfy the demands of our infinitely holy God. Man he must be, but a mere man simply could not make this infinite payment for sin. But no one else in the history of the world is both fully God and fully man. Therefore, Jesus alone qualifies to be Savior.
3. Christ alone lived a sinless life, and as such, he alone qualifies to be Savior. As Leviticus makes clear, animals offered as sacrifices for sin must be without blemish.
Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV) For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 9:13-14 (NKJV)13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
1 Peter 2:21-22 (NKJV)21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:22 "Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth";
This prefigured the sacrifice of Christ who, as sinless, was able to die for the sins of others and not for himself. But no one else in the history of the world has lived a totally sinless life. Therefore, Jesus alone qualifies to be Savior.
4. Christ alone died a penal, substitutionary death, and as such, he alone qualifies to be Savior.
Isaiah 53:4 (NKJV) Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
Romans 3:21-26 (NKJV)21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Galatians 3:13-14 (NKJV) Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"),14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
The wages of sin is death.
Romans 6:23 (NKJV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And because Christ lived a sinless life, he did not deserve to die. Rather, the cause of his death was owing to the fact that the Father imputed to him our sin. The death that he died was in our place. No one else in the history of the world has died because he bore the sin of others and not as the judgment for his own sin. Therefore, Jesus alone qualifies to be Savior.
5. Christ alone rose from the dead triumphant over sin, and as such, he alone qualifies to be Savior.
Acts 2:22-24 (NKJV)22 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know--23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
Romans 4:23-25 (NKJV)23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him,
24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NKJV)3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
The Bible indicates that a few people, other than Christ, have been raised from the dead, but only Christ has been raised from the dead never to die again, having triumphed over sin. The wages of sin is death, and the greatest power of sin is death. So, Christ's resurrection from the dead demonstrates that his atoning death for sin accomplished both the full payment of sin's penalty and full victory over sin's greatest power. No one else in the history of the world has been raised from the dead triumphant over sin. Therefore, Jesus alone qualifies to be Savior.
Christ alone qualifies as Savior, and Christ alone is Savior. Jesus' own words could not be clearer: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). And the Apostle Peter confirms, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). These claims are true of no one else in the history of the world. Indeed, Jesus alone is Savior.
Faith in Christ is Necessary to be Saved
Why think that faith in Christ is necessary to be saved? The teaching of the apostles is clear, that the content of the gospel now (since the coming of Christ) focuses directly upon the atoning death and resurrection of Christ, and that by faith in Christ one is forgiven of his sin and granted eternal life. Consider the following passages that support the conviction that people are saved only as they know and trust in Christ as their Savior.
1. Jesus' own teaching shows that the nations need to hear and repent to be saved.
Luke 24:44-47 (NKJV)44 Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.46 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
The people Jesus here describes are currently both unrepentant and unforgiven. To be forgiven they must repent. But to repent they must hear the proclamation of Christ's work in his name. And this is true for all the nations, including Jews who haven't trusted Christ. Jesus does not envision the "nations" as already having saving revelation available to them. Rather, believers must proclaim the message of Christ to all the nations for people in those nations to be saved.
2. Paul teaches that even pious Jews, and everyone else, must hear and believe in Christ to be saved.
Romans 10:1-4 (NKJV)1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Paul's heart's desire and prayer is for the salvation of his fellow Jews. Even though they have a zeal for God, they do not know that God's righteousness comes only through faith in Christ. So these Jews, even though pious, are not saved. Whoever will call upon the name of Christ will be saved.
Romans 10:9-10, 13 (NKJV)9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 13 For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."
But this requires that someone tell them. And this requires that those are sent. Missions, then, is necessary, since people must hear the gospel of Christ to be saved.
3. Cornelius's story demonstrates that even pious Gentiles must hear and believe in Christ to be saved .
Acts 10:1-2, 34-38 (NKJV)1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. 34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ--He is Lord of all--37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Far from being saved before Peter came to him, as some think, Cornelius was a pious (Acts Gentile who needed to hear of Christ, and believe in Christ, to be saved. When Peter reports about the conversion of the Gentiles, he declares that only when he preached did Cornelius hear the message he needed to hear by which he would "be saved"
Acts 15:7-9 (NKJV)7 And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: "Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.8 So God, who know the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us,9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
Despite his piety, Cornelius needed to hear the proclamation of the gospel of Christ to be saved.
Conclusion: Jesus is the only Savior, and people must know and believe in Christ to be saved. May we honor Christ and the gospel, and manifest our faithfulness to God's word, by upholding these twin truths and living in a manner that demonstrates our commitment to them.
Dr. Bruce Ware, Professor of Christian Theology at the southern baptist theological seminary, is a highly esteemed theologian and author in the evangelical world. Dr. Ware has written numerous journal articles, book chapters, and book reviews and, along with Thomas Schreiner, has co-edited The Grace of God and the Bondage of the Will and Still Sovereign. Ware is the author of God's Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism; God's Greater Glory: The Exalted God of Scripture and the Christian Faith; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance.
Originally published April 09, 2009.
Philippians 2:5-8 (ASV)5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped,7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men;8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross.
After publishing the post When Jesus Emptied Himself” He Was Still Fully God I decided to ask: “Philippians 2:7 says that Jesus emptied himself. When he did, was he less than God making him not God at all?” on Quora the mega social networking Q&A site where anyone can ask a question and get answers.
Before I give you the answers that I got let me tell you a little about Quora. Anyone can ask a question and people answer. Quora gets around 100 million monthly visitors. It is different from the other major players in the reference space, with its focus on cultivating an environment dominated by subject matter and topic experts, such as doctors, economists, Ph.Ds. and other industry and professional insiders. Through a “credits”-based Q&A ranking system the answers that are delivered generally have more depth and expert opinion than the straight fact based delivery of information one would find on Wikipedia and other sites.
Because a very large number of Quora users consider themselves experts in their fields many of the answers are written to impress others resulting in many answers with much to much theory, intellectualism, and bravado. It doesn’t mean that you should disregard the answers just be aware that you may have to wade through the fluff to find the the “jewel”
Four years ago I asked “Which side are you on in the religion versus science debate?” As I expected most people answered that they were on the side of science. I was a little surprised at the answers to my most recent question because most of those answering did acknowledge believe Jesus did walk the earth, and that He was crucified. The answers are all over the map but most question or deny that Jesus is God. The other thing that his exercise did for me was to really understand the warnings throughout scripture against false prophets and teachers.
Jeremiah 23:16 (NKJV)16 Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; They speak a vision of their own heart, Not from the mouth of the LORD.
Matthew 24:24 (NKJV)24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NKJV)3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
2 Peter 2:1 (NKJV)1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
The people answering this question as you will see consider themselves experts. I’m reminded by what Paul said;
1 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.
I know the names and some background of the people who gave the following answers however I will not identify them in this post. I will do more of this from time to time and will share the answers with you.
Philippians 2:7 says that Jesus emptied himself. When he did, was he less than God making him not God at all?
* NO! This willingness not to stand on his own dignity, resulted in Jesus making “himself nothing” (2:7). The King James Version translates this as “he emptied himself” and this rendering has long been used in support of a view which treated Jesus as only human (eg-Jehovah’s Witnesses). He was regarded as having emptied himself of his own deity by virtue of becoming incarnate. But that is not how the KJV translation should have been understood. To conceive of the possibility that one who was God should cease to be God should have been a thing unthinkable.
How then, should the KJV expression ‘he emptied himself’ have been understood ? At the outset it should be said that the beguiling question “what did he empty himself of?” should not be asked, if only because the passage does not provide an answer to that. Instead, we should ask “what did it mean for him to empty himself?” Two answers are provided to that question in the New Testament.
This is what can justly be termed a “making of himself as nothing” because of the immeasurable distance between deity and Humanity, sovereignty and servanthood. God became the God—man.
*You need to read it from verse 3 to get the full context of the verse. Paul was talking about cultivating humility, and he proceeded to use Jesus as a model to imitate.
Verses 5 and 6 shed more light on what is referred to in verse 7:
Keep this mental attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God So while Jesus was in heaven, he didn’t become presumptuous and try to be equal to God.
Verse 7 proceeds to show the extent of Jesus’ humility:
No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and became human. i.e. he was so humble that not only did he avoid reaching out to try to be like God, he was willing to be “degraded” even further to the state of a human, a lower form of life.
Verse 8 concludes with how far he went to humbly fulfill God’s will:
More than that, when he came as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, yes, death on a torture stake
He was “degraded” further by being executed like a common criminal.
Verses 9 and 10 again show that Jesus has always been and continues to be under the authority of God:
For this very reason, God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend—of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground— and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Notice that GOD is the one who exalts Jesus, not Jesus himself; and acknowledging Jesus meant glory to the one higher than him, God the Father.
*THE MAN-GOD OF NAZARETH
The “soul” for the Middle Eastern cultures at the time of Christ was not a separate concept from the body and the soul of a person was thought to be essentially interdependent with the body. The Christian understanding of “soul”, as a separable entity, was originally developed by the ancient greeks and only later adopted by the Christians.
Nowadays, we are much more familiar with the concept of an immaterial, independent, interactive and all-performing soul, that can be literally independent from the body; if such is the case, we would not need the awkward body ascension to heaven. But Judaism had not developed that concept. So if Christ resurrected and went up to Heaven, the first Christians had to insist that he “went up” with his body too. Hence the Ascension story.
We reject the “fully man-fully god, at the same time” dogma about Christ. We think it more adequate to say that Christ was god and man, not at the same time, but sequentially. We understand that He began to exist before the beginning of time as the first created being, the Son of God. To incarnate, he surrendered his godly powers, began to live as a man, with very little memory of his former being, but of course keeping some of his powers.
After the Ascension, he returns to his full powers and keeps the memories of his life as a human. He ceases to have any development of his former human character, and keeps only his human soul. This is an important point because if someone pretends to have found the bones of Christ, Christianity will then be able to just shrug it off. If you are God, you don’t need a human body after your life on earth. In that sense, his body was no longer necessary.
Come to think about it, it would absolutely be cumbersome, and therefore his body may afterwards have been left behind, to be buried, while He returned to Heaven. Or just disappeared in a flash, no remnants. No need for the Ascension of the body which, by the way, is a very odd act. We, unlike the ancients, do not believe that heaven is “up”. Gods may have their places, another dimension perhaps, but definitely not “up”. But the Gospels report that Christ went up, until he disappeared into the clouds. How very embarrassing, this story!
The concept of an active independent soul, as we understand it today, was not a common knowledge. The common thought at the time was that the dead had their souls in a semi comatose state, waiting for the bodily resurrection to become active again. So it was essential for the first Christians to believe that Christ, body and soul, went up to heaven.
So now Christ’s time sequence reads: “god-human-god again”. An updating of Christianity, incorporating this scheme, would make it far more resilient to attacks than it is now. It would make easier to incorporate the new archaeological findings that will surely come up. It would make even possible to accommodate that perhaps he was married. We are not here actually supporting that idea but we are pointing that if it came to that, we could handle it, following the principles we exposed here.
*This is an important question because it strikes at the heart of the statement by Jesus- “the works that I do you shall do also and greater works than these shall you do.” John 14:12
How can we do greater works if Jesus is God?
The problem with the church is that they have trouble separating the Jesus of now, as he is, Jesus is Lord, with the Jesus born in a manger, growing in wisdom, favour and stature with God and with man.
Can God grow in wisdom?
Philippians can be interpreted with a little help from John 17:4-5 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane just before the arrest. He acknowledged that he had laid aside glory which he had before he came to earth. This means he removed something which made him God.
How can a man who is God sweat blood due to stress of the pending crucifixion? Was Jesus so compartmentalised he separated humanity and God within himself? That is an extraordinary deception to play on humanity.
I believe that Jesus was divine while on the planet because God was his father but he was not Lord, he was not God. Jesus did nothing on the planet in his godhead power. He consistently said he only does what he sees his Father do.
“Of myself I can do nothing” John 5:30
When he was resurrected he did nothing in his new divine power and position except teach and instruct his disciples.
The Amplified bible has a fuller translation of Philippians 2:6-7 6 Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained,7 But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.
The works Jesus did he was able to do because he was anointed by the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:18)
I Co 15 calls Jesus the second Adam. Jesus was as human as Adam was when he was created, and Adam was as much God as Jesus was. The other thing they shared was they were both righteous (before the fall).
What Jesus had was his humanity and the dominion given to all men, and the anointing of the Holy Spirit to fulfill his calling. He was not God on this earth.
*First, let’s make sure just how confused you were by verses 5 and 6, because verse 6 is the go-to verse for the KJV-only crowd, to prove that Jesus is God, but verse 5 tells the reader to have the same mind as Christ has, in them:
“5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:” - Philippians 2 (KJV)
In other words, we are to think like Christ did, that it wouldn’t be robbery for us to be God. That’s right, “you had one job to do”. (Oh wait, did the translators in 1611 say that they’re time-traveling Mormons?)
The Catholic contemporaries of the Protestant KJV translation team should have had the biggest laugh of the 17th century at them, and probably would have, if only they hadn’t been so busy making exactly the same mistake in the Douay-Rheims Bible.
That’s what both translation teams get for repurposing verbiage from another eisegetic Bible translation; this one from the 16th century, the Bishops Bible.
To make it comprehensible, let’s read all this from a Bible that doesn’t play that game:
“5 Yes, keep this attitude in you that the Anointed Jesus had. 6 For though he once existed in the same form as God, he didn’t consider trying to make himself equal to God. 7 Rather, he emptied himself into the shape of a slave and became a human.” Philippians 2 (2001 Translation)
By letting verse 6 show us what verse 5 is really telling us to do, we may understand that though Jesus was in the same form as God, that didn’t make him equal with God to begin with, let alone make Jesus God himself.
Therefore, what Jesus was, that he emptied, was being in the same form as God.
*Yes. That is exactly true.
However, what is more, he was already less than God before emptying himself. Notice just before the verse you asked about, in verse 6 it says who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God (New World Translation)
who, when he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as a prize, (Byington Bible)
who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, (American Standard Version)
It is clear from verse 6 that, while in heaven, Jesus did not consider himself equal to god. In fact the New World Translation, quoted first, says it would’ve been a “seizure”. That is the translation of the Greek word ἁρπαγμὸν (harpagmon) which means to seize, plunder, or rob something. So according to hat verse Jesus considered the thought of equality with God to be seizing authority that did not belong to him.
Instead, as we learn in verse 7, he humbly emptied himself and became human, lower even than the angels as Hebrews 2:9 says.
(Of course that begs the question, why then does it say that Jesus existed in God’s form? Well, when we compare that to Colossians 1:15 which says
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; (New World Translation)
Who is image of the invisible God, firstborn of all creation, (Byington Bible)
who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; (American Standard Version)
and Hebrews 1:3 which says
He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power. And after he had made a purification for our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (New World Translation)
being beam of his glory and imprint of his essence, and actuating all things by his word of power, took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high when he had made purgation of sins, (Byington Bible)
who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; (American Standard Version)
It becomes clear that this does not mean he was God. Rather, like the scriptures says, he existed in his form. He was a spirit creature, just like God. He was the firstborn, the “spitting image” of his Father as the saying goes. He perfectly reflect his Father’s glory and yet, he never thought of being equal to him. Instead he humbled himself and became even lower, a human. And then lowered himself even further to be put to death as a criminal. And all of that for his Father’s name and for our salvation.
That is what that scripture is saying. And it’s a really beautiful lesson about Jesus.
*Phil 2:6 …who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
The commonly accepted interpretation is absurd, seeing that firstly they tell us that God was in the form of God(??) and did not seek equality with himself(?) (because this is supposed to be what took place in heaven preceding the incarnation) then they tell us that God divested himself of Godliness to make himself human. The problem is you can’t identify Jesus as being in heavenbecause that name is given to Mary’s son. The verse actually says that Jesus—the man, born of a woman—lived as an example of true humility and emptied himself of kingly aspirations, not that God emptied himself of the attributes of God to become a man.
These are the problems caused by trying to teach doctrine in a circular manner; the teaching you want to prove only exists in the verse you are using to prove it. They patently mislead the reader, having a preconceived notion by which they deliberately make the verse say what it isn’t saying.
What it really means:
Paul is speaking about humility and saying that Jesus, son of a carpenter, did not use his power as Messiah to make himself king but subjected himself to God’s will. This is described in his wilderness experience where he rejected the temptation to show some Messianic signs to convince the multitudes or to take the kingdoms of the world by force, Rome in particular.
The interpretation of Philippians 2 is difficult due to Greek idiom. Misguided trinitarian scholars see in it an opportunity to make out as if Paul believed in the pre-existence of Jesus but that assumption would have us believe that Paul suddenly decided to include an unprecedented doctrinal point in a letter to an ecclesia that was miles off topic and would have put a millstone around his neck.
His lesson was about the humility of Christ, the son of a carpenter who lived among the poor and gave his life on the cross, not seeking the majesty of his role as Messiah which he could have taken by force.
Here is my unofficial translation:
6 Who, though he was in the image of God, did not try to grasp equality with God but emptied himself of all aspirations to privilege, taking the role of a servant, having been born as a common man. And living as that ordinary man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
*He was made lower than the angels - but he was still God.
Here is a very poor analogy. You have a cake factory, and you supply the whole world with cake. If you take a piece of cake home from the factory, what is it? it is still cake.
Jesus is the same “stuff” Just as the Father is YHWH - So Jesus is still YHWH. But by entering his creation by being born, Jesus is also 100% human as well.
I think St. Augustine’s version may be a little better than mine.
That the Son is Very God, of the Same Substance with the Father. Not Only the Father, but the Trinity, is Affirmed to be Immortal. All
*God creates the universe in stages. I believe that Jesus had a particular beginning in time as Creator Son. God exists outside of Time and Space, then God creates Time and Space and God creates Time and Space inside Himself - so things are both complicated and also difficult to explain. If Jesus emptied Himself as Paul said, then it occurred in God’s universe, actually inside God since everything is in God. Without God, none of this could take place.
As far as the details of your question, that is something we don’t have access to. Paul said what he said about it and he doesn’t go into any more detail about it. We can speculate about such things but I don’t know if there is any place to get more information. Jesus emptied Himself and God held onto Jesus soul and kept His Son safe. I’m not sure why you would ask for further details except out of curiousity.
God sets the universe up to be a certain way. To have God’s power, you have be loving and humble and walk by faith. These rules also applied to Jesus who was also the very Son of God.
*That was not quite the point of these verses. The NIV reads:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;7 rather, he made himself nothingby taking the very nature[b] of a servant,being made in human likeness.8 And being found in appearance as a man,he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death--even death on a cross!
The notion that he made himself nothing is the very act of not-only placing others before himself, but he took on the human form for the soul purpose of enduring all the hardships that we as humans face so that his “sacrifice” would be real. It was also done as an example for others to follow. It’s much in line with his teaching that we treat others better than ourselves. It’s also well in line with “he that is last shall be first”. Jesus took the role of the servant a few times in the gospels. Notably when he washed the feet of his disciples (again, he was leading by example).
3. Just then,... (during his change back to the son of man),... there appeared before them Moses and Elijah,... (having left the body of Jesus),... talking with Jesus.
Fri *“Emptying himself out” refers to the metamorphosis called the Transfiguration in English. He emptied the spirit of Elijah, out his psyche.
*Yes. Jesus didn’t tell he is Jehovah God. He always said he is the Son of God.
*He made himself into flesh…a lowly being but it didn’t diminish his godliness whatsoever. Hebrews 2:17 if a king dressed himself with a commoner’s clothing, would he really be a commoner or would he still be king?
**BTW, God and the Lord Jesus Christ are two different persons 1 Corinthians 8:6
*Which version of the Holy Bible did you read that he made himself empty? When he took on the lowly part of the servant, he was being totally obedient to God. Know ye not that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh…. Read John chapter 1: 1–14
*Yes, while on Earth, he was not God at all. He ate, drank, presumably defecated, urinated, sweated, and cried. He bled, he was not God. He was a powerful healer, but he made it clear that anyone who followed him would connect with the Father as he did and heal people.
*Not at all it’s an idiomatic expression, in that he temporarily vacated the position, of being God, i.e. he emptied himself of being in the position with all the trappings of angelic forces and servants at his every whim, while being God and king, of heaven and earth, does that make any sense to you? After all being God without anyone recognizing you as God would be a real step down would it not? It’s like saying he condescended to become flesh, and again because he did big time, I hope that isn’t to difficult, but he was still very much God.
*The Christian God is Trinity – Father, Son & Holy Spirit. All three of these “persons” of the Trinity are fully God. So Jesus, the Son of God is God. Period.
Philippians 2:5-8 (ASV)5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped,7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men;8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. (emphasis mine)
This is one of the scriptures that those who say that Jesus is the Son of God, but He is not God. I’ve written several posts that I believe provide proof of Jesus’ divinity (see my blog category Who Is Jesus ), but have not addressed the questions raised by this scripture in Philippians. Those who question Jesus’ divinity say how can God empty himself, become a man, and still be God? As I said in my previous posts Jesus, while taking on human flesh and nature, minus sin, still retained the attributes of God, making Him fully human and still fully God. The following is from Jesus Has Attributes That Are Attributes Of God Alone.
Jesus was not created; He existed eternally.
John 1:1-3 (NKJV)1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 He was in the beginning with God.3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
The Word did not become; he was. “With God” suggests equality as well as association. “The Word was God” (deity) without confusion of the persons. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
Jesus is everywhere-present (Omnipresent)
Man is limited by a physical body, and can be only in one place at any one time. God, however, is spirit and can be everywhere in the universe at the same time. This attribute, is also related to His unlimited power to act and to know. God is present everywhere in the sense that everything everywhere is in His presence. He can see, know, and act in all places at once.
Jesus promised His disciples that He would be with them no matter where they were.
Matthew 18:19-20 (NKJV)19 Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."
Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
Jesus is all-powerful (Omnipotent)
Man and other created beings have limited power over other created things. Only God has unlimited power over all creation. Absolutely nothing is impossible for Him.
Job 42:1-2 (NKJV) Then Job answered the LORD and said:2 "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
While on earth, as a human, Jesus exercised power over;
Luke 8:24-25 (NKJV)24 And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm.25 But He said to them, "Where is your faith?" And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, "Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!"
Matthew 8:2-4 (NKJV)2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.4 And Jesus said to him, "See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
Mark 1:32-34 (NKJV)32 At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed.33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door.34 Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.
John 11:14-15, 41-44 (NKJV)14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead.15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him." 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me."43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!"44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."
Jesus is all-knowing (Omniscient)
Colossians 2:1-3 (NKJV)1 For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh,2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Peter and his friends were experienced fishermen and after working all night in a place that they knew well they didn’t caught any fish. Jesus however, a carpenter’s son and no fisherman, knew exactly where to go to catch the fish.
Luke 5:4-9 (NKJV)4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."5 But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net."6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; John 16:30; 21:17 - Jesus' disciples claimed that He knew all things. He never contradicted this claim nor rebuked them for it.
Peter needed money for the taxes and Jesus knew where to get it.
Matthew 17:24-27 (NKJV)24 When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, "Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?"25 He said, "Yes." And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?"26 Peter said to Him, "From strangers." Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free.27 Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you."
Jesus Is Worshiped
Scripture is emphatic that only God can be worshiped.
Exodus 20:3 (NKJV) You shall have no other gods before Me.
Yet there are many examples of people worshiping Jesus. There is no account in scripture where He stopped the worshiper.
Matthew 8:2-4 (NKJV)2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.4 And Jesus said to him, "See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
Matthew 28:17-20 (NKJV)17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
John 20:28 (NKJV) And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
As you see Jesus did not lose any of these of God when He took on humanity. Let's look at the Greek word kenosis which is translated “emptied himself”. The word means “to empty”.
This appears to mean when Jesus put on humanity He accepted limitations, constraints. The problem then is that if Jesus gave up, or emptied Himself of any of the attributes of God He became less than God and therefore not God at all. For example when asked when the end would come here’s how He answered;
Mark 13:32 (NKJV) “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
If Jesus knew all things, as is implied in His divine nature, then why did He not know the day or hour of His own return. The answer is that Jesus cooperated with the limitations of humanity and voluntarily did not exercise His attribute of omniscience. He still was divine but was moving and living completely as a man. If Jesus was not fully divine, then His atoning work would not be sufficient to atone for the sins of the world.
Jesus is both fully God and fully man and did not give up any divine attributes while as a man on earth.
Colossians 2:9 (NKJV) For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
How Did Jesus 'Empty Himself'?
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. -- Philippians 2:5–8 (emphasis mine).
This passage is so rich; we only have space to examine one jewel. It’s the phrase, He “made himself nothing” (v.7a). Notice, Jesus “made Himself.” He didn’t get a memo. He wasn’t pushed out of heaven. He was fully engaged in God’s whole plan!
That phrase there, “made himself nothing,” is actually the basis for a lot of false teaching. Some translations rightly put it, “He emptied Himself.” Then the question becomes, emptied Himself of what? Some falsely suggest that Jesus emptied Himself of Deity and that He literally became a first-century Jewish man; that there was no God, just Jesus, the man. But the Bible teaches the Incarnation of Jesus, 100 percent God; 100 percent man, undiminished Deity dwelling in humanity.
You ask, “Well, what did He empty Himself of then?”
Answer, at least five things:
Taken from “Jesus’ Selflessness” (used by permission).
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.