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A Good Quote

This is an oldie but goodie. “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” From G. K. Chesterton.

Chesterton’s works are a balm for the soul and a rest for the weary (but they are not for the lazy). And even though he was a diehard Catholic and hated Calvinism more than any other brand of Christianity, I find in him a kindred spirit. How weird is that? [1] [2]

A Bach Christmas!

OK folks, THIS is where to point your browser between Dec 16 and Dec 25th. BBC Radio 3, bless them, is going to play every known work by Bach in those ten days. It’s easy to listen live wherever you have an Internet connection.

Be sure to check out the cool interactive “Bach Advent Calendar” on that page.

Why Did Jesus Become A Man? - 2

Letâ??s consider some reasons why Jesus Christ had to be a true man. In Scripture, there are many reasons. (I am indebted to Wayne Grudem for the following categories, found in his Systematic Theology.)

1. For representative obedience. In the first Letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes how the resurrection of Christ is the only basis for our hope in this life. (See point 6 below for more on the resurrection.) In the process, he calls Christ the â??last Adamâ? and the â??second Man.â? His point is that because Adamâ??s disobedience, which plunged our race into sin, was committed by a man, the corresponding â??act of righteousnessâ? (Romans 5:18) had to be the action of a man. There is a sense in which Christ re-enacted the original testing of man, and passed the test (unlike the first Adam). This means that mankind is actually rescued by a member of our own human race.

2. To be a substitute sacrifice. Closely related to the first point is the fact we needed a Substitute to suffer for our sins, in our place. God foreshadowed this fact in many ways to the Jewish nation by the system of animal sacrifices. However, as the author of the Letter to the Hebrews says, â??it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sinsâ? (Heb 10:4). In fact it was a member of our own human race that spilled his own blood as a sacrifice for us. â??Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the peopleâ? (Heb 2:17).

3. To be the one Mediator between God and Man. While we may believe, in our ignorance, that approaching the immortal God directly is the best way, the Scriptures are much more careful. In fact, the Old Testament has many stories of people afraid to even speak to God, much less hear his voice, because they were so sinful and un-Godlike. The Father, in his wisdom, solved this problem by sending his Son as a true man, who could be understood as both a man and as revealing God. Like any mediator, Christ is our representative towards God, and He is also Godâ??s representative towards us. â??For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesusâ? (1 Tim 2:5).

4. To fulfill Godâ??s original purpose for Man to rule over creation. When God created Adam and Eve, He gave them a command: â??Fill the earth and subdue it: have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earthâ? (Gen 1:28). Sadly, this command has never been fulfilled completely, because Adam and Eve sinned and lost much of their authority over the earth, which was now cursed by God (Gen 3:17-19). But we are promised that Christ will one day assume full rulership of this world. As God, He already rules and reigns, but as man, He will one day fulfill the commandment God gave to Adam. â??And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb [Jesus Christ] shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Himâ? (Rev 22:3).

5. To be our example and pattern in life. This needs no explanation. By walking on earth as a man, Jesus Christ showed us how all men should walk. We all understand that if we want a picture of what a perfect life would be, we look at the life of Jesus. How much less would we understand about a perfect life before God, if it had not been showed to us as an example by One who was a true member of our race?

6. To be the pattern for our redeemed bodies. As we said before, the resurrection of our bodies is the true hope for every Christian. A disembodied life in heaven is not promised in Scripture; instead, we are taught to believe that our human bodies have great value before God, and will be raised and will live eternally. Once again, we have Jesus Christ as our great example. He did not appear to his disciples after the crucifixion as a disembodied spirit, a vision, or some other mystical appearance. Instead, He proved that He was resurrected in a real body by showing them the wounds of the crucifixion (John 20:27), by asking them to touch him, and by eating fish in front of them (Luke 24:39-43).

7. To sympathize as high priest. Jesus represents his people before the Father as high priest, always interceding for them (Heb 7:26). By becoming a human being, Jesus for all eternity knows how it was to be tempted as a human. â??For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are temptedâ? (Heb 2:18). â??For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of needâ? (Heb 4:15,16).

I hope that this quick summary will inspire you to study your Bible, and see if these things are so. If you are a Christian, then praise God for his wisdom in saving you through a man, and redeeming and recovering His creation story which He has never abandoned. There is a great and eternal hope for you, living in a permanent, resurrected human body like your Lord!

If you are not a Christian, then consider: God has worked in your life, putting the Gospel before you. In your community, and by this article, â??Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucifiedâ? (Galatians 3:1). The Father has set forth the Son as the way that He will â??save His people from their sinsâ? (Matthew 1:21). Will you answer his call? This life is not about your â??spirituality,â? and the next one is not about strumming harps in the clouds. It is about your physical human, life, now and forever. A savior who is God and Man is the only kind of Savior you are offered.

And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:40)

Why Did Jesus Become A Man?

If the thing happened, it was the central event in the history of the Earth. â?? C. S. Lewis

Why did the Son of God have to become a true human being?

It may surprise you that you would need to consider a question like this. If you have been a Christian for many years, you may suppose that Jesusâ?? humanity is the least of your worries, because you may have had to spend time trying to convince other people (your friends who are in cults, for instance) that Jesus was really God. Youâ??ve never had to waste any time proving that He was actually a man!

Unfortunately, if you are a Christian you may find that you have never considered this issue at all. In fact, you may suspect, deep in your heart, that Jesus was really not a real man. You may wonder whether He really sympathizes with you in the problems of human life. After all, wasnâ??t He sinless? How hard can that be?

On the other hand, if you are not a Christian, I hope that by considering the question of whether God had to become a man, you will be able to see clearly why you needed this kind of Savior, and why there can only be one Savior of the world.

I am assuming for the sake of argument that Jesus Christ is God the Son, Second Person of the Trinity. My task here is to ask, Was it necessary for God to become fully human, and why?

You may be surprised at this, but the New Testament writers spent as much time trying to convince people that Jesus came as a man as they did trying to prove that He was God. Letâ??s just review a few of the places in Scripture that insist that Jesus came as a man. Iâ??ll put the important words in bold so they are easy to see.

Gal 4:4,5 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.

Heb 2:16,17 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.

You see that the apostles were very concerned that people know that their Savior was a true man, a man of â??flesh and blood,â? not an image or a spirit or simply an appearance.

Tomorrow: What are some reasons why Jesus had to become true man?

Challies is interviewing Derek Webb

Tim Challies, one of the greatest Christian bloggers out there, is featuring an upcoming interview with Derek Webb, one of the greatest Christian musicians out there. He invites your submission of questions.

Which comes first: Magician, or Lion?

My, my. Some of my children are quite exercised that the publishers of The Chronicles Of Narnia have been arranging the book sets so that The Magician’s Nephew comes first, rather than The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I never thought it was of great importance, but now that National Review has taken a stand, I guess I stand corrected!

Cool pic

OK, since I’m not getting comments on anything anymore (whine), I think I’ll resort to posting pictures of my kids. (Talk about desperate.) Here is a cool picture of Ellen that was taken by Emily, on film, for a class project.

Backyard Circus

While we’re on the subject of the State Fair, I have to mention our good friends Bill and Johnnie. Every year they come to the Fair to put on the best show at the whole place — the Backyard Circus. It’s free with your admission and it is so good for kids from 4 to, well, 22. I don’t think any of our kids has gotten over being best friends with Bill and Johnnie for so many years. It’s a privilege to know them and to be their “customers” every year. I won’t try to describe the Backyard Circus except to say that it is very participatory. They and their co-workers travel the country every year, so if you ever see a Backyard Circus at your fair, be sure to go see the show!

Thanks Bill and Johnnie for another great Fair season! And it’s not over yet! (And, a great big thank you to Dallas’s Schepps Dairy for sponsoring their show this year.)

When life gives you lemons, you make apple cobbler

Don’t miss Kim’s appearance in the Dallas Morning News article today, where she pops up briefly. (She didn’t win yesterday.)

You can also still catch the feature article on Kim from last year.

The Rockford Files: Season One

OK boys and girls, as this blog continues its devolution from “thinking great thoughts a la George Herbert” to “lame Christian riffs on politics and now pop culture,” we must all pause in reverence at the fact that the greatest detective TV show of all time, the Rockford Files, is soon to be released on DVD. It doesn’t get any better than this, folks. (But to really own it? Not sure I’d go that far. Far better to have it in a very convenient rental format, or even better, online! Hey Verizon! You know that fiber that you strung to my house?)

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