Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"Core Values for Christians: The Son of God"


(This article is taken from the July Newsletter of Concordia Ev. Lutheran Church of Sikeston, MO. That entire newsletter can be viewed as a pdf file at:http://groups.yahoo.com/group/concordialutheran-sikeston/ . At the end of the below article I will include the text - and introduction - of Article II of the Augsburg Confession -- or, go to this link and read it yourself: http://www.bookofconcord.org/augsburgconfession.html .)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ our Lord:

Yes, I know, to you who have been properly instructed and who gladly receive God’s Word in worship every Sunday, to say that Jesus is truly the Son of God is a “no-brainer.” For this fact, you should get down on your knees and give thanks to God that you have been properly taught. :)

You see, not every person has been thus properly taught. For that matter, not every person who calls him-/herself a “Christian” has been thus properly taught. And, sometimes, people who have been properly taught have rejected the true Christian doctrine which was given to them for their souls’ comfort!

As a result, there truly are people who do not realize that “The Son of God” is THE “core value” of the Christian faith. It is easy to become distracted by trends and fads which come along in Christendom, or to be distracted by our own “felt needs” to start to think that there are other “core values” than “The Son of God.”
 
+ Article III - The Son of God  +

God has revealed Himself to us as three separate and distinct Persons in one God. He has revealed Himself as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is the blessed and adorable Trinity. You are right: the word “Trinity” and “Triune God” are not in the Bible. Nevertheless the doctrine is plainly there. 

Please go read Article III of the Augsburg  Confession at the end of this post OR at the post noted above). Then come back here. Please? Thanks! I’ll wait . . .  

So . . . assuming that you have read the Article, what does it mean? In a nutshell it means that we call ourselves “Christian” because we know and worship the “Christ.” This “Christ” is the very Son of God who has accomplished not just our salvation but the salvation of every man, woman, and child in the world.

When did He become the “Son of God?” That would seem a logical question since, to our finite way of thinking, everything and everyone has to have come from somewhere. Nevertheless Jesus is called the eternal Son of God. He has no beginning nor does He have an end. He is God. To say that Jesus is the “only-begotten Son of God” is simply to use Biblical language. God has chosen to reveal Himself to us in this way so that we may have some sense of realization of the gift of God in the giving of His Son for our salvation!

+ Why It Was Necessary for Jesus to be True Man!  +

It was necessary for our salvation that Jesus be true Man because we are sinners. A man needed to satisfy the justice of God because of sin. It was, after all, man who had broken God’s Law in the Garden of Eden and who had cast the whole world into sinfulness.

According to Luther’s Small Catechism, (Question #122 in the 1991 edition - or go see this online at: https://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/LCMS/explanation.pdf ), Jesus had to be true Man in order to: [1] “act in our place under the Law and fulfill it for us;” and [2] “be able to suffer and die for our guilt because we failed to keep the Law.”

The Law of God, of course, is holy and therefore demands our obedience. The problem is that we who are afflicted with Original Sin simply cannot, no matter how hard we might try, keep God’s Law perfectly.

So God takes our flesh and blood upon Himself (born of the Virgin Mary) and becomes the Man first who keeps God’s Law perfectly — He is tempted in every way just as we are tempted but He never sins — He is tempted and He never sins and He keeps God's Law not just once, but all the time!

Then, because God’s righteous justice demands a sacrifice for the sins already and continually being committed, Jesus the Man suffers and dies in our place.

Want proof of God’s “commitment” to you? Want proof of God’s love for you? Go stand at the foot of Christ’s cross and refelct upon what He endured for you, me, and for the whole world!

+ Why It was Necessary for Jesus to be True God! +

Even as Jesus had to be true Man in order to effect our salvation, He also had to be true God in order to effect our salvation. It is not hard to figure this out, is it? We naturally born people are sinners! We have inherited the problem of “sin” from our parents.

Because of that problem we simply could not keep God’s Law perfectly. We could, of course, suffer and die for our sins, but our sufferings and deaths would not be sufficient to pay for our own sins, much less for the sins of the whole entire world!

So, the Small Catechism (Question #122 in the 1991 edition - or go see this online at: https://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/LCMS/explanation.pdf ) says that our Lord Christ had to be true God so that [1] “His fulfilling of the Law, His life, suffering, and death might be a sufficient ransom for all people;” and [2] so that “He might be able to overcome death and the devil for us.”

We do not need to stand around wondering, or lay on our sleepless bed in the middle of the night wondering, or be wracked with doubts while lying on our death bed wondering IF Christ has sufficiently paid for our sins and/or IF Christ has truly satisfied the almighty God! He is God. He has done it perfectly!

+ The Comfort of Jesus as True Man! +

There is also great daily comfort for you, dear reader, in the realization that Christ is true God and true Man. The fact that He is true Man is God’s reassurance to you that God truly can “relate” to you and me.

Ever had someone try to destroy you? Ever suffered innocently? Do you ever wrestle with temptation? God knows! Jesus is your Brother! Hebrews 4:14-16 is one of my favorite texts! Check it out.

+ The Comfort of Jesus as True God! +

You do not ever need to wonder if Jesus has worked out your salvation “enough.” You and I often wonder if we have done some thing good “enough.” Not so with Christ! As God He never sins. Ever. He is never insufficient. He never only “comes close.” Because He is God you can rest in the sure knowledge of His work (for your salvation!) being complete.

+ Two Incredible Mysteries as The Church’s “High” Festivals +

The Son of God is true Man and true God! This is wondrous! Him we worship, for He has accomplished the whole world’s salvation.

AT CHRISTMAS the Church marvels in the truth and rejoices in the fact that God became a Man and, at a specific point in time, stepped into our world as a flesh and blood man! Oh, the ecstasy (and the agony) of knowing God’s love for us! Angels sang of it!

ON GOOD FRIDAY, we thankfully (but with overwhelming sadness in our hearts) watch God die nailed to a Cross as the bloody payment for mankind’s sins. Oh, the agony (and the ecstasy) of God’s suffering because of our sins. Oh, the joy of the forgiveness of our sins! And on Easter morning angels announced that He had risen!   +

In Christ, /S/ Pastor Wollenburg

The Augsburg Confession
“Chief Articles of Faith”
Article III
The Son of God
Our churches teach that the Word, that is, the Son of God (John 1:14), assumed the human nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. So there are two natures — the divine and the human — inseparably joined in one person. There is one Christ, true God and true man, who was born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried. He did this to reconcile the Father to us and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of mankind (John 1:29).

He also descended into hell, and truly rose again on the third day. Afterward, He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. There He forever reigns and has domininon over all creatures. He sanctifies those who believe in Him, by sending the Holy Spirit into their hearts to rule, comfort, and make them alive. He defends them against the devil and the power of sin.

The same Christ will openly come again to judge the living and the dead, and so forth, according to the Apostles’ Creed.
+ + +
In Concordia The Lutheran Confessions A Reader’s Edition of the Book of  Concord, there is this “forward” which is intended to help first time readers of the Augsburg Confession understand the context in which it was written:

“The Augsburg Confession teaches the historic, biblical doctrine of Christ. Many early controversies about Christ’s human and divine natures were resolved thorugh careful study of God’s Word, and are reflected in the Nicene Creed. Article III echoes that creed - our Lord Jesus Christ is one person having two natures: truly God and truly man. This is another mystery of the Christian faith that we receive with thanks, bowing before Christ in humble adoration. His incarnation in the womb of His virgin mother, Mary, was for our salvation. He is, and remains, for all eternity the God-man, the One who appeased, or propitiated, God’s wrath against our sin and won for us eternal life. Even now He is present with us through His appointed means of grace - the Gospel and the Sacraments. He comes to strengthen, sustain, and support us, and to bring us safely to our heavenly home.(See also Ap III; SA II I; FC Ep VIII and SD VIII.)

(Source: CONCORDIA The Lutheran Confessions A Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord. p. 57. © 2005, CPH, St. Louis, MO.)

2 comments:

Adam Pastor said...

Greetings Pastor Alan Wollenburg

Indeed without a doubt
our Lord Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God. Amen. This is indeed a “no-brainer.”

Likewise, just as clear is the fact that the Scriptures do not plainly teach that Almighty GOD has revealed Himself to us as three separate and distinct Persons in one God.

There is simply no verse in scripture that teaches such a thing.
In all the occurrences of the word "God" in Scripture, not one example can be shown to mean "three separate and distinct Persons in one God"

Also Jesus indeed had a beginning!!
Matthew actually says in Matt 1.18 in the Greek, Now the genesis of Jesus Christ was on this wise.

"Genesis" means beginning.
Jesus of Nazareth began his existence in the womb of his mother.
Both Matthew & Luke simply have no concept of a "eternal Son of God".
That is not the "Jesus" they write about!
The "Jesus" they know, began his existence in the womb of his mother; his miraculous conception coming about by the power & spirit of the living GOD.
For that reason, (dio kai); said Gabriel,
he was to be called "the Son of GOD.
[Luke 1.35]

The article speaks of Why It was Necessary for Jesus to be True God!

Hmmm! Rather, Jesus identified his Father as the only true GOD.
(John 17:1) These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, ...
(John 17:3) And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

I could continue.
Basically the article with its Lutheran statements presents a "traditional" view of "The Son of God".
That is, a "Son of God" based on "traditions" of men who came hundreds of years after Christ; and whose traditions were based on Hellenism and Platonic philosophy; and not the Hebraic teaching of Scripture!
[Col 2.8; 2 Cor 11.4]
And we know what Christ had to say about traditions?
[Matt 15.6; Mark 7.9,13]

Therefore, Pastor Alan Wollenburg;
On the subject of the trinity,
I recommend this video:
The Human Jesus

Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you in your quest for truth.

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor

Pastor Alan Wollenburg said...

Dear Adam: Thank you for bothering to read my blog. Thanks, too, for your reply.

However, friend, you are very wrong. The Scriptures do indeed plainly teach that Almighty God has revealed HImself to us as three separate and distinct Persons in one God. Study the Holy Scriptures closely and you will see that the Scriptures ascribe to each Person: [1] divine names; [2] divine attributes; [3] divine works; and [4] each is to be given divine honor and glory. This is the accepted teaching of Christendom from the very beginning, a teaching which is affirmed in the Apostles' Creed (dating from approx. 100 A.D.), affirmed again in the Nicene Creed (dating from 325 A.D.), and affirmed yet again in the Athanasian Creed. This view is not just a "traditional" point of view -- it is the correct and Biblical point of view. It is a marvelous and divine mystery which God's Spirit gives us faith to believe and courage to humbly confess.

Jesus, as a Man, most certainly did have a beginning. He was conceived within the Virgin Mary's womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. The right way to say it is that Jesus as true God has been, is, and will be God from eternity to eternity. He was, is, and always will be the "Son of God," a term which teaches His relationship to God the Father. Does that make Jesus inferior to the Father? Absolutely not. Does it make Jesus less important or less powerful than the Father? Absolutely not. According to His flesh, He did become a Man at a point in time, and He remains true Man (and God!) unto eternity.

Our Lord Jesus Christ did call the Father "God." With that I would concur. But please read all of the Scriptures (instead of watching a movie) and note particularly how Jesus asserts that "I and the Father are one," and other such statements of our Lord Christ.

Thanks, too, for your attempts at using Greek to make your arguments. I am also trained in the use of the original languages of the Bible (Hebrew for the O.T. and koine Greek for the N.T.) . . . if you are going to invoke the Biblical languages, be sure that you use them properly.