Monday, May 30, 2011

Christ is God

For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. (Hebrews 03:03-04, NKJV).
Biblical Christianity insists that Christ is God; more precisely that Christ is the Son of God, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead. This is a great mystery, and it took some time to formulate after the church was born on that momentous Feast of Pentecost, but it was and is the clear teaching of Scripture, with the verses in view here being one of the many instances.

The formulation took awhile, not because it wasn't obvious, but because it was. The apostles were more concerned with living out their faith than with constructing the formal systematic theology contained in some of our venerable Creeds today, but the foundation of those Creeds are within the infallible words of the Biblical text itself. And always has been.

Paul, Peter, John, James, and the other pillars of the early church were planted firmly on the Foundation, which is Christ, and they taught and wrote incontrovertibly that Christ is God, but it was conveyed as naturally as breathing, and nothing like a seminary class with syllabus and official lectures.

That only became necessary in the church after that first generation passed away, and the message of the pure and simple gospel became infiltrated with later thinking. Anticipated heresies arose, faded, and arose again, and these required formal refutation. The cyclic attacks of the enemy on the Person of Christ is the fundamental strategy for undermining the Christian faith, and will have its most nefarious and tragic results in these Last Days, culminating in the ascension of one who will be hailed as Christ, but will in fact be what the Bible calls, The Antichrist.

None of this surprises a believer who has as the foundation of his faith the Word of God rather than the mere words of mortal men, or philosophical systems, or institutions of science, or even diluted faith-statements of some churches. Make no mistake, the whole planet will be deceived by the coming of this ultimate heretic, and he will be empowered to present himself in an irresistible fashion to those who have not received the love of the truth.

Ironically, it may be the largest and most influential churches in today's world that will lead the way to having this Antichrist heralded as the globe's savior, for many modern denominations promulgate a foggy vision of Christ, obscuring His divine origins and nature, and substituting the true gospel for a socio-ecological one; where no one is or can be saved, and works of conscience and informed civility are the basis for assuaging the undeniable, unacknowledged, and therefore unrequited inherent guilt of the Fall.

As bleak as this prospect is, it is only fitting because it is human pride that always and only causes rejection of the Gospel of Christ. When God is removed from the throne of an individual's life, any fool or demon can take His rightful place, and all Hell inevitable enters in.

The earliest Christians suffered under this temptation as well, but more organically, and with more immediacy. The writer of Hebrews included the passages above to remind his audience gently, graciously, of Christ's superiority over Moses with this subtle, yet profound statement of Christ's deity with the phrases, He who built the house and He who built all things is God.

Moses you see, was counted worthy of glory as a member of the house of God. As such, the Law-giver wielded historic influence over the Children of Israel, leading them through the Wilderness and delivering to them the Law of God, through which they fulfilled the Father's plan to be His witnesses to the world.

His veneration by the Jews ever since was a result of his tremendous impact. But in comparison to Christ, Moses was a mere household slave. “And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. (John 8:35, NKJV). Thus Christ, as Son, was in a much higher position.

But the writer does not stop there, He identifies Christ as not just the Son of the House but its builder, as well.  Further, he equates the "house of God" to all of existence itself (all things), and reveals that the builder of all things is God.

To hold Moses, a man, in more reverence than Christ, the Son of God, is to worship the creature rather than the Creator.

Judaism has been fulfilled in Christ. Everything about its ancient rituals, ceremonies, and practices pointed to, and were completed in Christ. The Law represented His righteousness. The Tabernacle and Temple, His embodiment as a Man. The sacrifices were symbolic foreshadowings of the shedding of His blood to not merely cover, but take away the sin of the world. And through that propitiation, providing those who believe eternal life.

To hold to Moses and reject Christ is the equivalent of mistaking a photograph for the reality it pictures.

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17, NKJV).