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Jesus is God, the Eternal Son of the Father – and he died

Jesus is the Revelation of God and that He is both fully God and fully human. He is not half of each, but ALL of both.

This is a part of what we mean when we speak of the doctrine of the Incarnation.   Jesus is a Human being with two natures and yet without distinction or confusion. In other words, the God in Him is not Man and the Man in Him is not God, but He is not two Persons – He is the Son of God AS Fully Man.

Jesus is Wholly other than us EXCEPT NOW in His freedom to be the Son of God as a Human Being.  So, now, Jesus is also Wholly like us as Human beings.  Jesus is the very essence of God, right down to the very last detail. There is not one part of God that is not contained in Him. He possesses everything that God is, in Himself as the Man Jesus Christ. There is no wedge between God and the Man Jesus Christ as they are of the same being.  This is attested to in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, where he writes:  “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form…”

One challenges sometimes asked by those who doubt the Incarnation of God in Jesus is the notion that “God cannot die,” so “Jesus cannot die!”

Jesus, the Son, absolutely did die – but that did not mean that God stopped “being.” The Trinity continues to BE…and even the death of Jesus, the Son, did not stop God from being.  Jesus, the Eternal Son of God, incarnate in human flesh, died. This was his choice. Just as it was his choice to become one of us. John’s gospel declares “The Word became (indicates choice of will) flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Now the death of Jesus who is “fully God and fully man” is great and glorious good news for ALLhumanity.  As the scrptures teach, “Scarcely for a friend will one choose to die…., but God demonstrates his love for us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…”

Jesus death does not bring an end to his being. Death is part of the creation. If God is going to enter human existence as one of us, death is going to be a part of that existence.  Death is a point on a timeline that has to do with heart beats. Being is part of his essence. We are resurrected not with a revitalization of the flesh alone to heartbeats and breaths, but with a change in being of the flesh. We no longer exist because of blood, breath, and brain waves. We exist, or will exist, because of the shared eternal being, the zoe, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The import there is that God, the Word, the eternal Son of the Father who is eternally begotten of the Father, in and through and by and for whom all things exist and all things are sustained did die on the cross. It is a curative, this death on the cross, setting not only one, but all of humanity free from the power and the slavery, and not just the penalty of sin.  God is Love and Life as the Self-Existent One and has decided to share His Life with us in such a way that we may always live with Him as the Son will in His humanity.

What’s unique about Jesus death, beyond the fact that he is Incarnate God, is that his death at the cross was something he chose for us and for our salvation.  The book of Phillipians says,

(Jesus) Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

The problem with human reasoning is that it suggests that Jesus cannot be God and die.  The doctrine of the Trinity affirms the biblical revelation that God can and does condescend to not only ‘appear’ with his creation, but to be a part of (rather than apart from) His creation. This includes entering every part of our existence, even the worst parts, EVEN DEATH.

In the minds of some, the death of God in Christ the Eternal Son of the Father on the cross makes God look weak. This was one of the issues delt with by Paul in his letters, including his first letter to Corinth, where he writes:

“Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.* For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”

About the sinlessness of Jesus…He was sinless in ACTUAL sinful flesh, as the Son of God as fully Man, therefore redeeming our sinful flesh in His undoing of the sin. This is the “Undoing of Adam” that takes place in, through, and by Jesus, who is “the Second/Final Adam.” This answers the question as to what reason He died and for whom. He died so that sin and sinful flesh (ours – ALL flesh) might also die. Through His death, and His Resurrecting, we died and are resurrected in Him. We are, as Paul wrote, “crucified in Christ, nevertheless we live, yet it is not us, it id Christ…and the life we now live is by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us.” In Christ we are a New Creation by the gift of His life, “the old has died, the new has come.”

So, yes, Christ dies…and YES he is God.  Yet death (nor anything else about our human brokenness) has the final say, because Christ is also raised from the dead.  And he shares that resurrection and new life with us.  That is our salvation.  Paul writes to the Romans,

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

The Father, Son and Spirit are One. Each One is fully God WITH the others, and all things were created and are sustained by this Three-in-One, One -in-Three God. God doesn’t come in parts, only in His whole Self in His nature and being as God of God. One God in Union and Distinction with neither carrying more weight than the other. Yet (and this is where your understanding is lacking) He is as Fully God Free and able to do a lot of amazing stuff, including become an actual part of creation without it becoming Him and with all of the distinctions of the different natures remaining. Never once does He tell us how this is so, only that it is so. We can never avoid simple faith and our logic and reason just won’t make the grade on this one! We must worship and adore, or at least should!

The Renewal of Trinitarian Theology: Themes, Patterns and Explorations
by: Roderick T. Leupp
publisher: IVP Academic, published: 2008-12-08
ASIN: 0830828893
EAN: 9780830828890
sales rank: 1263383
price: $11.45 (new), $6.36 (used)

Everyone seems to be talking about trinitarian theology these days–theologians, pastors and theologically smart laypeople. If you have felt like an outsider to these conversations, or just wondered why trinitarian theology has generated so much talk, this book is for you.

Roderick Leupp describes the renewal of trinitarian theology in recent decades and introduces us to the trinitarian thought of theologians such as Karl Rahner, Karl Barth, Jrgen Moltmann, John Zizioulas, Robert Jenson and Catherine LaCugna. Leupp shows us how is an adjective for the very grammar of the Christian faith. And he helps us see how our thinking about the Godhead, the cross, the church, ethics and spirituality can be transformed by trinitarian theology.

Writing in a style that is always reflective, often poetic and sometimes deeply personal, Leupp puts theology in conversation with life, making connections we might otherwise miss. And piercingly, he weaves into his reflections on the triune God his own experience of the traumatic injury of his daughter. This is a book that will expand your understanding of the triune God who is Father, Son and Spirit.

 

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