For many Christians today it is quite difficult to live in a hostile pagan world, while trusting in the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. The Christian needs to walk in the Victorious life that Christ has provided us, as the children of God. We often do the opposite while meaning to live out a faith that relies completely on Jesus. In a recent interview, I had a slip of the tongue. I meant to say one thing as I uttered the exact opposite. I was so embarrassed as I faced my inability to speak clearly. What made the matter worse was that I did not realize my mistake until much later, after the damage was done. To error is human.
So let me clearly state what I believe. I believe in the two natures of Christ as I have stated many times. I do not believe in the two persons of Christ, which is a false doctrine that separates Jesus from the Godhead. Sometimes I speak out my dyslexia and so I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to clarify the doctrine beliefs that the church has held universally for the last 2000 years.
No one person is infallible except for Jesus. Nothing about Christ demonstrates a fallible nature, but can we trust in the sufficiency of Christ for our daily lives? Absolutely we can! For the believer in Christ, it is critical to fully place our trust in the sufficiency of Jesus. But to do so, we have to recognize and understand Jesus. We can know God, God reveals himself through His word and through His creation. It is through scripture that Jesus is revealed and we recognize that He was both fully man and is God, not two separate persons, but one person with two natures. Jesus was fully 100% man and 100% fully God.
The earliest declaration in scripture, that the messiah was God came in the names of Adam and his decedents. Dr. Chuck Missler provided the following chart of the Hebrew names and their meaning:
Dr. Missler then breaks down their meaning into a clear sentence that boggles the skeptical mind and provides strength for the believer. “Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest. Here’s the Gospel hidden within a genealogy in Genesis! The implications of this discovery are more wide spread than is evident at first glance. It demonstrates that in the earliest chapters of the Book of Genesis, God had already laid out His plan of redemption for the predicament of mankind. It is a love story, written in blood on a wooden cross which was erected in Judea almost 2,000 years ago.”1
This adds clarity to the other prophecies of the Old Testament as our eyes are opened to the congruency of scripture in unveiling the truth of Gods word. We see this in the following Old Testament scripture:
6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Not only is Jesus declared to be God, but it matches with the message given in the genealogy of Adam. It also declares the second nature of Christ that he was also man. This was fulfilled in the New Testament by John who wrote the following.
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. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:1-5)
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
So clearly as the Old Testament revealed, God became flesh the nature of man. Jesus is also then, the visible form of the invisible God, embodied in the fullness of the Godhead.
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:8-10)
Notice the warning from Paul, “Do not be cheated by “philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world.” Our principles should be biblically built on the foundation of Jesus, in Whom we are complete, who is the head of all principalities and power. When we are in Christ, Satan has no power and his realm is stripped. So why do we live in fear and in weakness?
So why did Jesus have to become man? The reason that we can trust Jesus the man is because he walked out in our existence to fully understand what we endure and go through. Jesus understands human trauma, grief, loss, betrayal, and injustice. This is why Paul wrote these words in Hebrews:
14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 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. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Even in these verses we see the articulation of the two natures of Christ. Jesus who embodied the weakness of man, sympathizes with our weaknesses, comprehends our struggles with sin; yet provides us mercy and grace for our transgressions as only God can. We can trust in the sufficiency of Jesus Christ because as a human, Christ made the perfect sacrifice on the cross for our sin, neutralizing temptations condemnation and sin’s death grip on our soul.
We can trust in the sufficiency of Jesus Christ because as God He has provided access to the throne of God’s majestic sovereignty. It is to this throne we may boldly come, as adopted children bought with blood of Jesus, so that we may obtain mercy and grace from our Heavenly Father.
Philip Hughes paints the scene with these words, “Just as in the tabernacle of old to enter the holy of holies was to stand before the mercy-seat, so the throne of God’s grace is also his mercy-seat, with the result that in drawing near one is certain to receive mercy and to find grace which manifests itself in providing help in time of need, that is, help which is opportune and appropriate to the particular need of the moment.”2
Yet the pagan world continues to cast doubt on the humanity and divinity of Jesus
Muslim apologists will often ask Christians, “Show me a verse where Jesus says, I am God worship me.” Sadly most christians fumble in their response. A wise man once responded, “Sure, If you can first show me a verse where Jesus said, I am not God, do not worship me.”
This is a powerful response because, Jesus never stopped anyone from worshiping him and yet He also claimed to be God. In one such example Jesus articulated his pre-incarnate state when He declared, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58) Jesus is establishing His divinity by referencing Exodus 3:14. This scene in Exodus is referred to as a Christophany.
A Christophany is defined as, “those unsought, intermittent and temporary, visible and audible manifestations of God the Son in human form by which God communicated something to certain conscious human beings on earth prior to the birth of Christ.”3
This would fit with what Paul wrote in Colossians, “15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:15-16)
Another example of Christ in the Old Testament is the story of Jacob wrestling with God (Genesis 32:22-32). This account is memorialized by the name Jacob gives it, “So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” This is interesting because Jesus said that no-one has seen God the Father, except Him (John 6:46). This means that Jacob wrestled with the pre-incarnate Christ and Jacob was declaring Him God. Hosea the prophet affirms this in scripture when he writes,
The Lord also brings a charge against Judah,
And will punish Jacob according to his ways; According to his deeds He will recompense him.
3 He took his brother by the heel in the womb, And in his strength he struggled with God.
4 Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed; He wept, and sought favor from Him.
He found Him in Bethel, And there He spoke to us—
5 That is, the Lord God of hosts. The Lord is His memorable name. (Hosea 12:4-5)
James Borland points out, “here the angel is called God in verse three and is definitely equated with Jehovah in verse five.4 Thus we can trust in the sufficiency of Jesus Christ because he is the eternal God, the Alpha and Omega. The visible form of the invisible God.
The New Testament is all Jewish, with maybe the exception of Luke. These writers understood very clearly that only God was to be worshiped and nobody else, yet the made it clear in their writings that Jesus was worshiped.
“Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me.” (Isaiah 45:21)
The Jews fully understood the consequences to their disobedience.
“Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.” (Deuteronomy 8:19)
So why did the writers of the New Testament consistently ascribe worship to Jesus? 16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. (Matthew 28:16-17) Clearly the disciples worshiped him because, Jesus is God. Jesus was worshiped many times in scripture. The Magi worshiped Jesus as a child (Matthew 2:11), the crowds worshipped Jesus at his entrance to Jerusalem (Matthew 21:9; John 12:13), the disciples in the boat worshiped Jesus after He walked on water (Matthew 14:33).
There are many other examples in scripture and in none of them, does Jesus try to stop those from worshiping Him. We are to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Worship is about knowing our great God and Savior, communing with Him, serving Him and trusting Him. In the end we can trust in the sufficiency of Jesus Christ because he Loves us and wants to know us, His intent is pure and faultless; bound in the Holiness and fulness of the God Head.
The reason why a Christian should study the natures of Christ is ultimately reverence. Today the church is filled with irreverence for God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ. Many are leaving the Church today for paganism and some are switching denominations because of a lack of reverence for God.
How can any Christian live in the sufficiency of Jesus, while demonstrating such a lack of reverence for the God who redeemed them? Simply, they can’t. They are living according to their sinful nature.
In some traditions Mary is even exalted through veneration and declared to be the Mother of God. Mary a human cannot be the mother of the pre-incarnate Christ, nor the mother of God the Father or the Holy Spirit. The God Head has always been and will always be. God is Holy. Only He can accomplish all things to His will for our blessing. Seek Him first, reverently; not a dead saint, or a pastor, or some strange divination. Only God can help.
1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber. (Psalm 121:1-3)
It is because of scripture and the life of Jesus that we can conclude, that there is a connection between Old Testament prophecies and the revelation of Jesus as God in the New Testament. The Christophany affirms Jesus’ divinity and humanity. God’s Word emphasizes that Jesus became man to fully provide mercy and grace for our weaknesses and sins. We, therefore, can trust in the sufficiency of Jesus Christ and believe in His divinity and humanity; especially, as we approach Him with reverence and worship for the forgiveness of our sins.
- A Commentary On The Epistle To The Hebrews, by Philip Edgcumbe Hughs 1977. Pg 174
- Christ in the Old Testament, by James A Borland Pg 10.
- Christ in the Old Testament, by James A Borland Pg.39