Becoming Like the Man Christ Jesus

 

By Craig Bluemel

 

May 26, 2007

 

 

 

To truly love God is impossible without loving others.  There are plenty of self-deluded or church-indoctrinated Christians whose love for God and for His son Jesus is ethereal.   The tendency towards mystic or cosmic forms of worship is much more common than most believers realize, particularly in large church congregations where emphasis is placed upon corporeal praise. This statement is definitely going to rub a lot of folks the wrong way and those who bark the loudest will become very offended and defensive.

 

The term ‘ethereal’ originates from an ancient Greek word that was used as a nuance by early philosophers, such as Socrates and Plato, which was descriptive of the cosmic atmosphere of ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge.’ 

 

John 4:7-12  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.   By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son {to be} the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.  (New American Standard )

 

For us to fulfill Jesus' prayer in John chapter 17, to be made whole (or complete; perfect), we must love one another in the same manner that God manifest His love through Jesus:

 

John 17:11  "And I am no more in the world; and {yet} they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee.  Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, {the name} which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We {are.}  (NAS)

 

John 17:21-23  That they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, {art} in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.   And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.  (NAS)

 

As we know, God is spirit, and He is invisible.  But what is interesting is this:  In the context of 1 John 4:7-12 God makes it very clear that His love was made known to us through His son, the man Christ Jesus. 

 

Jesus loved, as a man, (not as a God-man), and he reflects the manner in which we ought also to love one another.  We cannot become a sacrifice for sins as Jesus was, but it is the attitude of heart that God desires.  In Hebrews we get a glimpse of what this means:

 

Hebrews 1:2-3  In these last days has spoken to us in {His} Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.  And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature...  (NAS)

 

The scriptures specify how we can represent the nature of our God and Father.  One clear example is in the Book of Romans:

 

Romans 12:1-21  I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, {which is} your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.  For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.  And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, {let each exercise them accordingly}  if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.  Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.  Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.  Respect what is right in the sight of all men.   If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.  Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath {of God,} for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.  "But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head."  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (NAS)

 

These are just a few of the many ways in which we, as individual members of Christ’s body display the Father’s love.  It is not the miracles, nor the power of God's might that brings us into perfection.  It is our everyday lifestyle; being the representation of the nature of God to those we have the privilege of serving.  Each person is unique in the way they choose to use what God has given them. There are many factors that affect us, including personality types, acquired abilities, talents, gifts, experience in life, etc..  Yet with all the diversity there is, we can all relate to the instruction given to us in the scripture.  It's simply amazing!

 

In 1 John 4:12 it says:

 

"No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us."

 

Now, compare this with John 1:18:

 

No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained {Him.}  (NAS)

 

So, what's the point?  Even though we have not seen God at any time, when we love one another, the "only begotten God, " explains Him.  Only begotten God? 

 

We know God cannot be begotten, but the earliest and most reliable manuscripts use the Greek word "theos" here.  That is why the NASB translated it this way.  However, the Greek word, "theos," need not always mean a "deity."  Strong's Dictionary of the NT defines "theos" as follows:

 

theos (theh'-os); of uncertain affinity; a deity, especially (with 3588) the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very: KJV-- X exceeding, God, god [-ly, -ward].

 

Have we overlooked this definition?  Could it be that Jesus, the only begotten Magistrate, who is (present tense) in the bosom of the Father?  A magistrate is defined as a person of great importance, such as a president.

 

What exactly is a magistrate?  ISBE says:

 

MAGISTRATE: The Messiah is designated as the "prince (archon) of the kings of the earth" (Rev 1:5 the King James Version), and by the same term Moses is designated the judge and leader of the Hebrews (Acts 7:27,35).  The wide application of this term is manifest from the fact that it is used of magistrates of any kind, e.g. the high priest (Acts 23:5); civil judges (Luke 12:58; Acts 16:19); ruler of the synagogue (Luke 8:41; Matthew 9:18,23; Mark 5:22); persons of standing and authority among the Pharisees and other sects that appear in the Sanhedrin (Luke 14:1; John 3:1; Acts 3:17).  The term also designates Satan, the prince or chief of the fallen angels (Matthew 9:34; Ephesians 2:2).  (from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Database Copyright (C) 1996 by Biblesoft)

 

Lest we be accused of heresy, we will seek other sources that may corroborate this interpretation of the glorified son of man:

 

MAGISTRATE: 2. archon ^758^, "a ruler," denotes, in <Luke 12:58>, "a local authority, a magistrate," acting in the capacity of one who received complaints, and possessing higher authority than the judge, to whom the "magistrate" remits the case. See CHIEF, PRINCE, RULER.  (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)  (Copyright (c) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

 

PRINCE: 1. archegos ^747^, primarily an adjective signifying "originating,  beginning," is used as a noun, denoting "a founder, author, prince or leader," <Acts 3:15>, "Prince" (marg., "Author"); <5:31>; see AUTHOR, No. 2.  (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)  (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

 

In light of these definitions, read the following texts from the Book of Acts:

 

Acts 3:14-26  "But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, {the one} whom God raised from the dead, {a fact} to which we are witnesses.  And on the basis of faith in His name, {it is} the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which {comes} through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.  And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.  But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He has thus fulfilled.  Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until {the} period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.  Moses said, 'The Lord God shall raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed in everything He says to you.  And it shall be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.'   And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and {his} successors onward, also announced these days.  It is you who are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'  For you first, God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one {of you} from your wicked ways."  (NAS)

 

Acts 5:30-31   The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.  He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.  (NAS)

 

RULER: 1. Archon ^758^, "a ruler, chief, prince," is translated "rulers," e. g., in <1 Cor. 2:6, 8>, RV (KJV, "princes"); "ruler," <Rev. 1:5> (KJV, prince).  See MAGISTRATE, PRINCE, No. 2.  (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)  (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

 

Revelation 1:4-6  John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, and He has made us {to be} a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him {be} the glory and the dominion forever and ever.  Amen.  (NAS)

 

Luke 1:31-33  "And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus,  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end."  (NAS)

 

1 Corinthian 15:22-28  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.  But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, then {comes} the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign until He has put all His enemiesunder His feet.  The last enemy that will be abolished is death.  For He has put all things in subjection under His feet.  But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.  And when all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all.  (NAS)

 

Rev 11:15  And the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become {the kingdom} of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever."  (NAS)

 

Rev 20:4  And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them.  And I {saw} the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  (NAS)

 

Rom 5:17  For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.  (NAS)

 

Rom 5:20-21  And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (NAS)

 

REIGN (VERB AND NOUN):

 

2. sunbasileuo ^4821^, "to reign together with" (sun, "with," and No. 1), is used of the future "reign" of believers together and with Christ in the kingdom of God in manifestation, <1 Cor. 4:8> (3rd part); of those who endure <2 Tim. 2:12>. cf. <Rev. 20:6>.# (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

 

2 Tim 2:10-15  For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus {and} with {it} eternal glory.  It is a trustworthy statement: for if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him; If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny himself.  Remind {them} of these things, and solemnly charge {them} in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless, {and leads} to the ruin of the hearers.  Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.  (NAS)

 

Rev 20:6  Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.(NAS)

 

Well, what do you think?  Jesus as a “ruler”, “prince,” or a “magistrate” seems to fit with the general tenor of the entire New Testament, and Old Testament teaching of the Christ. One last thought: Vine's suggestion to compare the word, "CHIEF":

 

CHIEF, CHIEFEST, CHIEFLY (Nouns):

 

1. kephalaion ^2774^, akin to the adjective kephalaios, "belonging to the head," and kephale, "the head," denotes the chief point or principal thing in a subject, <Heb. 8:1>  (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

 

Heb 8:1  Now the main point in what has been said {is this}  we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.  (NAS)

 

2. archiereus ^749^, "a chief priest, high priest" (arche, "first," hiereus, "a priest"), is frequent in the gospels, Acts and Hebrews, but there only in the NT. It is used of Christ, e. g., in <Heb. 2:17; 3:1>; of "chief" priests, including ex-high-priests and members of their families, e.g., <Matt. 2:4; Mark 8:31>. (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

 

Heb 2:5-3:6  For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking.  But one has testified somewhere, saying, "What is man, that Thou rememberest him?  Or the son of man, that Thou art concerned about him?  "Thou hast made him for a little while lower than the angels; Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, and hast appointed him over the works of Thy hands;  Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet."  For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him.  But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.  But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, {namely,} Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.  For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.  For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one {Father}  for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, "I will proclaim Thy name to My brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing Thy praise."  And again, "I will put My trust in Him."  And again, "Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me."  Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.  For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.  Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.  Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.  He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.  For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house.  For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.  Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ {was faithful} as a Son over His house whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.  (NAS)

 

3. archipoimen ^750^, "a chief shepherd" (arche, "chief," poimen, "a shepherd"), is said of Christ only, <1 Pet. 5:4>. Modern Greeks use it of tribal chiefs.# (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

 

1 Pet 5:1-4  Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as {your} fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,  shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to {the will of} God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.  (NAS)

 

5. akrogoniaios ^204^ denotes "a chief corner-stone" (from akros, "highest,extreme," gonia, "a corner, angle"), <Eph. 2:20> and <1 Pet. 2:6>.# In the Sept., <Isa. 28:16>.# (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

 

Eph 2:19-22  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner {stone} in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.  (NAS)

 

CHIEF, CHIEFEST, CHIEFLY (Verb):

 

hegeomai ^2233^, "to lead the way, to preside, rule, be the chief," is used of the ambition "to be chief" among the disciples of Christ, <Luke 22:26> (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

 

Luke 22:26-32   "But not so with you, but let him who is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant.  For who is greater, the one who reclines {at the table,} or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines {at the table}  But I am among you as the one who serves.  And you are those who have stood by Me in My trials; and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.   "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded {permission} to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (NAS)

 

Isn't it interesting that Christ is at the Father's right hand, having had all things (except God of course) put in subjection to Him, and yet His example to us, as the Master (i.e. leader; magistrate), is to be servants, strengthening one another.  He is the chief shepherd, God’s magistrate, and the greatest among all.

 

 

SELAH…Pause and reflect

 

Craig Bluemel

The Bible Answer Stand Ministry

1 Peter 3:15 Always be ready to give reasonable justification to anyone who asks you for an explanation of the hope that is within you,  but do it considerately and courteously.

 

 

 


 

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