In many religions man becomes a god, but in the true faith the Son of God became the Son of Man. We sat in Bible class opened to the first chapter of John when a Christian of thirty years raised his hand, “I’ve never thought of Jesus being eternal, that he’s the Deity.” The fact of the matter is our salvation depends upon that reality.
No mortal of total human descent has had the power within to resist the Tempter.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
Death spread to people because all of us since Adam have sinned (Romans 5:12). When Jesus came the entire world sat in the region and shadows of sin’s darkness (Matthew 4:16). It was the Son who brought life and light to our souls. The Lord’s plan for our righteousness had to include the sending of the eternal Son because there was no earthly mortal capable of becoming the perfect propitiation, the atoning sacrifice. For many yet still, the notion of Deity becoming something less than God is incredible. The notion in their mind seems absurd.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11).
The chosen people had been waiting centuries for the Messiah. When the King of souls came they rejected Him. They wanted Him dead (John 11:8). He was spat upon, mocked, beaten, lied about and eventually murdered. Light was unwelcoming to eyes that only knew the dark.
How could it be believed that Deity died? According to the Gospel, it was not considered robbery for the Son to be equal to the Father in essence, but He “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 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” (Phil. 2:7-8). The key to grasp this was in the fact that the Son changed forms. It was called incarnation. Or, as John 1:14 explained, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” When Jesus died, Deity did not. The Bible explained death as the separation of the spirit from the body (James 2:26 et al). When any mortal dies, the soul continues its course. The body rests in the earth’s bosom but there remains that part which proceeded from the Creator and returns to its life-giver (Ecclesiastes 12:7). “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory” (1 Tim. 3:16). Without the eternal nature of the Son, there could be no perfect atonement for our sins. Without the death of God’s Son, there could be no life for the penitent.
“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor. 15:12)?
Some questioned the eternal essence of the Son; some doubted He lived the perfect, sinless, life; some found difficulty with the idea the King died as the essential atonement; others doubted the resurrection. Paul combated the problem, “if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (1 Co. 15:13-14). Was it so incredible that God loves us? The Father wants a relationship with the beloved souls Satan deceived and killed. No other plan removes the guilt, the shame of it all. Salvation wasn’t in any other name than Jesus the Christ (Acts 4:12). Without the resurrection there was no hope. All was lost and meaningless without the risen Savior. Weekly participation in the Lord’s Supper, communion, was a proclamation of Jesus” death (1 Corinthians 11:27) and regular proclamation of the Good News, a promulgation of life after the grave. Baptism itself was a unity with the death, burial and resurrection of the Son. “Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). No resurrection, no salvation. Know the resurrected Lord; know salvation.
Incredible faith is the faith the world has trouble accepting. The world has not known God. But, Jesus said you could. Listen to Him say,
“If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him” (John 10:37-38).