Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Finite blood, infinite value.

Philip. 2:5-11 (ESV)
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, [6] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, [7] but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, [8] he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. [9] Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, [10] so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, [11] and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Christ made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men, found in human form. Oh I used to cringe reading that, being formed in the fashion of a man, in the likeness. As if that meant not the real thing. “He was like a man, but not.” Old heresies, various Gnostic sects, docetism more specifically would come to mind. Docetism is the heresy that says Jesus just looked like a man, but he really wasn’t. You still find it cropping up here and there today. Sometimes they are silly enough to try use this verse to support them. But this verse does not offer support of that position. The real word at issue is Schema. This often means the same as outward appearance, but it does not need to imply that the outward appearance is deceptive, as the German Augenschein does. Here it is more along the lines “looks like a duck, quacks like a duck…”
You see the issue at hand is this. If Jesus was not fully human, then he could not make a sufficient sacrifice for man. the sin of man requires the flesh, blood, and life of man. In fact it is doubtful that he could have made any sacrifice here at all if we wasn’t fully man. The text is not calling into question the true humanity of Christ.
So why this questionable language? Let’s face it the devil will twist anything and make it questionable. Paul isn’t trying to imply that Jesus was less than a true man in his incarnation. Paul is leaving room here to imply that though Jesus was fully man, he was also more than man, even after he emptied himself of his divine glory for his humiliation (Kenosis). Kenosis is an important doctrine that also finds its seat here. Kenosis is from the Greek for “to empty,” the doctrine is Jesus emptied himself of divine glory, Jesus though he was in the form of God, Kenosed himself taking on the form of a servant. This is why you don’t see him always and constantly making use of his divine attributes as a man, it also makes it possible for him to die. What Paul is saying here is that, though he became like us, became one of us, he never lost his divine nature, he was never really without it. When he died he died as God. God died.
That he was in the form of God, does not mean that he was not God. So that he has the form of a servant does not mean that he isn’t a servant. The other words are being used as synonyms as part of a Hebrew style poem that uses parallelism. Hebrew poets were all that concerned with rhyming, but saying the same thing twice (or more) with different words. So it is not that Jesus is less than a man, he is fully man, but also more than man. He is God. In this way when the man Jesus died, it was the blood of God that was shed. The finite was given infinite value, because the finite contained the infinite. What a blessing. Infinite value! Enough for all, more than enough for everyone, blood to cover all sin and sanctify every soul. How beautiful.

5 comments:

Louie (aka the Jerk...S.Martin_ said...

Fully God and fully man!

The mormons believe that, right?

The infinite is enough for all of us.

I have heard it said that we are not saved by faith in Jesus, but rather by the faith of Jesus. He had enough faith for all of us and that He gives us what we need.

Bror Erickson said...

To believe is to be known by God.

steve martin said...

Hey. Louie Lipshitz just got a job (part time -trade show)

I start tomorrow at the Convention Center in Anaheim

Don't worry...I'll still come and get you on the 12th.

Daniel Skillman said...

Here is an excellent place to comment on the distinction between Lutherans and the Reformed (broadly considered), especially with reference to the genus maiestaticum (the attributes of Christ's divine nature are ascribed and communicated the the human nature) and genus apotelesmaticum (that classification of attributes in Christology whereby each nature operates with the other thus resulting in one theanthropic [God-man] act).

For the reformed, it is questionable if, following their own doctrine and logic, the blood of Christ actually has infinite value. You can quickly see what this teaching does to redemption.

In Christ,
Dan
Out

Bror Erickson said...

"For the reformed, it is questionable if, following their own doctrine and logic, the blood of Christ actually has infinite value. You can quickly see what this teaching does to redemption."
Exactly, but it doesn't much matter as long as your soul is able to ascend to heaven and drink it.... Do they hear themselves?