Thursday, January 8, 2009

We Beheld His Glory - Part II

In my last post, I discussed the deity of Christ and His praiseworthiness as such. As believers, we find so much joy and inexpressible awe before God at His good and perfect plan to take on flesh for our sake. But, this linchpin belief of Christology is often at the center of Satan's attack and the world's attack on our faith in the very God who saves us. Why is Christ's deity under such scrutiny? More so than the doctrine of scripture, the mere existence of God, or even the seven-day creation, the world seeks to deny that Christ was God in the flesh.

The reason is simple: If Jesus was God, then we must believe what He said. Christ brings a simple message that God is in control. Christianity is a faith of submission, of confession, and of reliance upon one that shows us for who we really are. "If we can but show that Christ is not God," the world says, "then we can continue to be god to ourselves."

To receive Christ is to cast out the tattered being that we are and accept from God the promise of redemption by His power and not of our own. How distasteful to an enlightened people! How humiliating a thought to a society that has evolved from ape to this higher being. How ridiculous a discipline to deny one's self in light of all we as men are capable of.

That's certainly what the Jews must have thought in their seemingly "perfect" execution of the religion they thought was Judaism. But Stephen told them what Christ revealed, "You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts... you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it" (Acts 7:51-53). When Stephen looked to heaven he declared aloud what he saw: Christ with God as the eschatological Son of Man figure from Daniel 7. It was a convicting statement that, if they were to believe Christ, would require that they admit their frailty and failures and humbly ask forgiveness. Instead, they found murder to be an easier resolution.

But, I do not wish to conclude this thought with the harsh convicting power of Christ that damns those hardened in unbelief. We do well to recall who it was that presided over this rage-filled murder of Stephen: the young Saul. As we see evidenced in Saul's conversion, the power of Christ is not merely the power to judge, but the power to save. Jesus is Lord! By His power—the almighty power of the only true God—Jesus saves us! Praise Jesus for being God. Amen.

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