NEWS FLASH! We Didn't Write The Bible....
...but, judging by the comment string on Wade Burleson's Blog, you'd think folks like you and me did.
Some seem to think that we have authority over the Bible, and not vice-versa. Isn't that what got Adam and Eve in trouble, in the garden? Not wanting to simply trust and depend on God, but to know, themselves?
I heard one time that what the Bible discloses, is ours to know, but what it doesn't, isn't. Put another way, it says to me that the Bible says what it means to say, and it says enough. Every time I hear lines like "Jesus was fully man as though He were not God at all, and fully God as though He were not man at all", I cringe. I haven't ever seen that line in the Bible .. I may be wrong, of course .. but I wonder why saying what the Bible says isn't enough.
The comment string on Wade's blog had a lot of comments, questions and the like about whether Jesus was/is eternally subordinate to God's will. Now I ain't no word expert, but I know a few things about what the Bible does say about Jesus. Like....
Jesus was, and is, God. Consider:
Hebrews 1:8-9: But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy." (NIV)
Wow. God calls Jesus "God". Even explains it further in verse 9!
Well, if He'd just been God, I don't think He could have died, unless He .. Jesus .. did something about it. So we have that whole being made as a man, like:
Philippians 2:5-8: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! (NIV)
So, Jesus was equal with God ... was, in His very nature, God .. but He chose not to grasp that equality. So He walked around here as a sinless man, and was tempted as we are. That means something, to me, only so long as He didn't grasp equality with God.
But that doesn't mean He wasn't still God.
Now, how about His will. Did He even have one, apart from God's will? I think so .. otherwise His comment about "Not my will, but thine", in the garden, would have been meaningless. He had to have a will of His own, then. But He consistently bent His own will to His Father's desires.
Any evidence of that? Sure:
John 5:19: Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. (NIV)
Then, I have to ask: what is it that might be God's will for Jesus to do, now, that would require Him to "subject Himself" .. or be "subordinate to" .. God's will? I know that one of His ongoing activities, now that victory over both sin and death have been accomplished, is:
Roman 8:34: Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-- more than that, who was raised to life-- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. (NIV)
No theologian here, but I kind of doubt that Jesus would have to set aside His own will, or His own authority, to intercede on behalf of those whose cries of our souls' lostness, across the centuries, were enough to make Him walk out of the carpentry shop and into the jaws of a world that mostly hated Him.
There's a lot of other stuff He said, and that was said about Him, of course. But those verses paint a picture of a God Who became man, here on earth, then denied Himself some of the qualities of being God while He was here, so He could live the Life and die the Death required to purchase my salvation. And yours. And that is tremendously encouraging to me on a couple of fronts.
He understands what it's like to be powerless here; in His case, He had perfect sin-stain-free communication with His Father .. He could discern His will perfectly, hear His Father clearly, and do His will perfectly. That tells me that God has power available for use here, in His work, beyond that which I ever dreamed. Unfortunately, much of the time I miss out on it, as my communication and understanding is worlds removed from the perfect sort that Jesus had.
People wronged Him as they had, and have, never wronged anyone. He forgave them. That tells me I can forgive beyond that which I have ever dreamed I could. And certainly beyond that which, in my sinful state, I've ever dreamed I'd want to.
Those things seem to be Biblical to me. And, in my life, God 's shown me their truth. I've forgiven folks who've wronged me, that I cannot dream of having forgiven 40 years ago. And God has done things in my feeble attempts to serve Him, here, that pretty well define the term "shock & awe", to me. Even, in some cases, 10 years and longer since they happened.
"The problem" exemplified on Wade's blog rears its ugly head when we start adding to what the Bible does say. Things like asking ... or telling ... about Jesus being subordinate to the will of God. Or to God. Something about lesser in power or rank. Such nonsense! Why do we need to even say that? To prove our superiority of knowledge? Or, worse yet, to draw some self-serving analogy to support our position on the subordination of certain people to certain other people? What a shameless way that would be, of self-aggrandizement or self-promotion.
Someone once said that no one had ever lost money underestimating the common sense of the American people. Apparently that applies to the common sense of some Baptists, too.