February 8, 2010

Chapter 7 For Us and for Our Salvation

For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became truly human.

1.  The Fathers of Nicea were anchored in the love of God in salvation.  They used as a 'theological compass' the truth that Jesus as the Son of God is not separate from Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. 
2.  At the core of the incarnation is love.  God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. (John 3:16)
3.  Why did Jesus need to be both God and man?
         Athanasius is quoted in reply - "If Jesus Christ the incarnate Son is not true God from true God, then we are not saved, for it is only God who can save; but if Jesus Christ is not truly man, then salvation does not touch our human existence and condition."  [from Trinitarian Faith pg 149]
4/5.  The Arians tried to show from the scriptures that point to Christ as a servant in his human condition, the contrast with the majesty and glory of the Father.  This is clear, but far from weakening Jesus' position as Son, it magnifies our praise for the one who loved us so much He became one of us.
6.  Athansius embraced the human weakness and servility that the Son became as fundamental to salvation.  The irony of the incarnation becomes a point of praise.
7.  Gregory of Nyssen exclaims [ Trinitarian Faith pg 153] "Why did the divine being descend to such humiliation? Our faith staggers at the thought that God the infinite, inconceivable, and ineffable reality, who transcends all glory and majesty should be clothed with the defiled nature of man, so that his sublime activities are abased through being united with what is so degraded."
8.  Jesus incarnation as truly human allows him to sympathize with our weakness.  He truly understands us and all our frailties and temptations.  He can relate to us when we cry out to Him. He became fully man to take our place.  This is true philanthropy.
9.  Verses:
 John 8: 56-58   "Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad." "You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!"
"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"
Hebrews 1:2-3  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
 Hebrews 2:10  In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Hebrews 2:14-18   Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.