“And now, little children, abide in him (Jesus Christ), so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.” (1 John 2:28, ESV)
The most basic expression of the identity of Jesus is simply the statement “Jesus is Lord!”. In Romans 10:9 and 1 Corinthians 12:3 Paul presented that statement as the essence of the Gospel. Jesus is the Son of God, as Peter correctly stated in Matthew 16:16.
The identity of Jesus has often been misunderstood. Claims about Jesus include thinking that he had only one nature, that he was two distinct persons, or that he was fully human but not fully divine.
However, orthodox Christianity has always maintained that Jesus was one person with two distinct natures – the nature of his humanity and the nature of his divinity. It was necessary for Jesus to be human so that he could die; it was necessary that Jesus be God so that he could be the perfect once-for-all sacrifice for sins.
“Jesus of Nazareth is God; He who was conceived in the womb of the virgin and born in Bethlehem’s manger is now, and always was, God over all, blessed forever. There is no gospel if he be not God. It is no news to me to tell me that a great prophet is born. There have been great prophets before; but the world has never been redeemed from evil by mere testimony to the truth, and never will be.
Tell me that God is born, that God Himself has espoused our nature, and taken it into union with Himself, then the bells of my heart ring merry peals, for now may I come to God since God has come to me.”
(Charles Haddon Spurgeon)
500 years ago today an Augustinian monk nailed a document to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. That action ignited what has come to be known as the Protestant Reformation, and the date came to be referred to as Reformation Day. One of my favorite quotes from Luther is:
“So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: “I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!”
“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”
(Jesus Christ, as recorded in John 12:25-26, ESV)
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
(1 John 1:8–9, ESV)
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
“We teach with Christ and say, “Believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). This Gospel is the joyful tidings of God’s favor and grace toward us, and of the forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ. This message faith accepts through the Holy Ghost; the believer does not behold his former righteousness or unrighteousness, but, like Abraham, “against hope believes in hope” (Rom. 4:18) with the whole heart depends entirely upon the grace, word and promise of the Lord, since he well knows that God is true and His promises can not fail.
Thereby the heart is renewed, converted, made spiritually minded, peaceful and joyous, a child of God is born. The believer approaches with full confidence the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16) and becomes a joint heir with Christ and of eternal life.”
“If we are not in love with Christ Himself
and if we are satisfied with a knowledge of the works of God and of systems of theology,
our hunger for God will not be satisfied.”