We are now in the fourth week of our series examining the only two possible worldviews people can hold, either consciously or unconsciously. One is biblically based, meaning one’s view of the entirety of life is understood through the lens of God's inerrant and infallible revelation. The other view is pagan, meaning the person does not view life through the full and immutable lens of God's word.
We’ve seen that both worldviews ask and answer three basic questions: 1) Who are we? 2) How did we get here? and 3) Where are we going? And I want to again be clear about this: ONLY a Biblical worldview can save us from our own personal, family, and national social disasters.
The first element of a Biblical worldview we briefly examined is this: The God of the first chapter of Genesis is the ONLY true God. He is eternal. He has never been anything other than almighty God. He has revealed Himself to humanity through the entire Scripture as a triune Being: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each person is coeternal, coequal, and coexistent with each other: Three Persons, three Natures within the One God and Creator.
The second element of a Biblical worldview we briefly examined is this: The same God who created everything and everyone has also given us a series of love letters that describe His passionate affection for each of us. Letters that tell us again and again – not only on paper between the covers of our Bible, but also in the most supreme and substantive way the omnipotent God could demonstrate it – on Calvay’s cross. We call those letters, the Bible.
Last week looked at the THIRD element of a Biblical worldview. We kept our focus on God's love letters but came at it from a different perspective – the perspective that tells us His love letters are framed by His commandments. The God who loves us wants to protect us from self-destruction and, ultimately, eternal agony in the Lake of Fire.
These three elements of a biblical worldview now bring us to the fourth component of a biblical worldview. That essential component is this: The almighty Creator of the universe, who exists outside of creation, time, and space – the One who identified Himself to Moses as the Great ‘I AM’ (see Exodus 3) – this same “I AM” took on human flesh and lived among us for 33 years before His creatures crucified Him.
Here is that text from Exodus (3:13ff) “Moses said to God, “If I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors sent me to you,’ but they say to me, ‘What is his name,’ what should I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Then he said, “You will say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM sent me to you.’ . . . This is my name forever. This is the title with which I will be remembered from one generation to the next.”
Let’s pause briefly at this critical point for emphasis: Almighty God told Moses His Name is, “I AM.” It is THAT name by which He would be remembered from one generation to the next. Now look at what Jesus said of Himself when speaking to some Pharisees: (John 8:56-59) “Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day, and he saw it and rejoiced.” So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and You have seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, ‘I Am.” Therefore, they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and left the temple grounds.”
We HAVE to catch the enormous weight of this scene. The Pharisee knew precisely what Jesus was saying about Himself. They knew He was claiming to be the One who spoke to Moses from the burning bush. The knew He was telling them HIS NAME is the great ‘I Am.” They fully understood Jesus was claiming to be Almighty God. THAT’S why they picked up stones to execute Him – for blasphemy.
Now then, if Jesus is NOT almighty God incarnate, then the Pharisees had every good reason to want him dead. Furthermore, if Jesus is not God, then we ALSO should also applaud his crucifixion. And furthermore once again, if Jesus is not God in the flesh, then every God-fearing man and woman should also indict Him as a blaspheming demonic-inspired teacher who was leading people away from God.
We really have no other alternative. None.
Listen to C.S. Lewis on this point: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [that is, Christ]: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse…. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” (In ‘Mere Christianity’)
Said very simply and clearly so as to not cloud the point: The religious leaders understood Jesus far better than many so-called theologians understand Him today – they knew Jesus was claiming to be God who took on human flesh and was living among them.
St Paul speaks of Jesus this way: (Colossians 1:15-17): “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation: for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
In the next chapter of that letter he continues: (Colossians 2:8-9a) “See to it that there is no one who takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception in accordance with human tradition, in accordance with the elementary principles of the world, rather than in accordance with Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.”
Some might ask why this point about the full divinity AND simultaneous full humanity of Jesus is such an important element in our worldview? It is crucial for at least two reasons. First, if He is NOT almighty God in flesh and blood, then He AND all the writers of the New Testament have lied to us on a pivotal point of our faith. And if they have lied to us about such an essential truth – then what else have they lied to us about? His resurrection? The forgiveness of sins? Eternal life? Heaven? Hell?
And second, if Jesus is NOT God incarnate, then His sacrifice on the cross is completely and fundamentally ineffective as an atonement for our sins. Therefore, we are all without hope of eternal life.
I will say that again, if Jesus is not God incarnate then His sacrifice on the cross can NOT have become an atonement for our sins. And we are ALL without hope for eternal life.
For those two reasons alone this point about the full divinity and simultaneous humanity of Jesus is NOT an insignificant question. Our eternal destiny rests squarely on the shoulders of our answer.
Let’s take a few moments to look more closely into the words of Jesus and of the New Testament writers that establish the infallible and inerrant historical reality of Christ’s full divinity and humanity.
Here is John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word [i.e. Jesus] was God.”
And now John 1:18 - “No one has ever seen God; the only God [i.e. Jesus], who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”
Listen to John 20:28: “Thomas answered Him [i.e. Jesus], ‘My Lord and my God!’” – And we must note that the Lord did not rebuke Thomas for calling Him ‘God.’
Here now is Titus 2:11-13 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously . . . 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”
Now Hebrews 1:8, quoting from the Old Testament (Psalm 45): “But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.’”
Two verses later in Hebrews 1, the writer again attributes the Psalmist’s words to Jesus: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands; They will perish, but You remain.”
The evidence for Jesus’s divinity is hardly limited to these examples, but for the sake of time, look with me at just one more – 2 Peter 1:1 “Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Do you remember the text in Isaiah’s prophecy which promises one of Messiah’s names will be ‘Emmanuel’ – meaning ‘God with Us”? Let’s then take a few more minutes to look at the role God-with-Us plays in the forgiveness of our sins.
The Pharisees challenged the Lord with this accusation: (Mark 2:7) “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And they rightly challenged Him because ALL sin is ultimately sin against God. The example of David comes to mind. In the incident of Bathsheba and Uriah, David against them both when he committed adultery and murder, but notice what David said in his prayer recorded in Psalm 51:3b-4:
“Against You, You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak, and blameless when you judge.”
We understand from our own experiences the principle of forgiving someone for their sins. For example, if Joanne commits a sin against Melba, only Melba can forgive that sin because it was committed against her. That means that Richard cannot forgive Joanne’s sin against Melba. Only if Joanne commits a sin against me, only THEN do I have a right and the authority to forgive that sin.
Now look at this text in Matthew 9:2-6 - “And they brought to Him a paralyzed man lying on a stretcher. And seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man who was paralyzed, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming!” And Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He *said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, pick up your stretcher and go home.”
When Jesus forgave the paralytic his sins, He forgave his sins against God – for, as we have just seen – ALL sins are ultimately sins against the Almighty. No wonder the Pharisees went ballistic. How can a mere man forgive sins?
Do you see how belief – or DISBELIEF – in the deity of Jesus will alter our worldview? As St Paul told the Christians at Ephesus that before they put their trust in Jesus as their Lord, their God, their Savior (Ephesians 2:12-22), they were “separate from Christ . . . having no hope and without God in the world.”
Why were they without hope? Why were they separated? As Isaiah tells us:
(Isaiah 59:2) “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”
Our sins – your sins, the sins of Jews and of Gentiles – our sins have made an irreconcilable rift between us and almighty God – irreconcilable until and unless God Himself brings us together. And since all sins are ultimately against God, only He can forgive those sins. We are all without hope unless His initiates that forgiveness. Which is another reason St Paul continues his promise to the Ephesians (2:13) “But now in Christ Jesus you who previously were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
My brethren, please hear this: There is a mysterious, mystical, incomprehensible truth that God sacrificed Himself in the person of Jesus, so you and I would not suffer His wrath which we all richly deserve.
And since God took on Himself in the incarnation a body just like ours, a body that feels pain, that bleeds, that suffers physical agony – since Almighty God loves us SO MUCH that He took on a body just like ours to suffer and die for me and for you – then how can anyone question His incomprehensible love for us in all circumstances and in all situations – even when we find ourselves carrying our own heavy cross?
Listen, I do not understand all of what God has done for us. What the Triune God has done for us in God-incarnate is utterly inconceivable and incomprehensible.
BUT just because it is inconceivable, just because it is incomprehensible doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. No, no – we should EXPECT the inconceivable and incomprehensible from God because He Himself IS inconceivable and incomprehensible. If He was not, He would not be God.
The full deity and simultaneous humanity of the incarnate God will change our worldview because those who trust Him know that we know that we know our sins – all of them – are forgiven in Christ Jesus’ bloody sacrifice.
Scripture tells us again and again that with confession and repentance our sins are GONE. OBLITERATED. We will never, ever face the penalty for any of them.
“Man of Sorrows!” what a name/For the Son of God, who came/
Ruined sinners to reclaim/Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Bearing shame and scoffing rude/In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood/Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Guilty, vile, and helpless we;/Spotless Lamb of God was He/”Full atonement!” can it be?/Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Yes, indeed, what a Savior, our Lord and our God – Jesus Christ.