Saturday, September 10, 2016

Christ, the Faithfulness of God

Paul called Jesus Christ both the power of God and the wisdom of God (1Cor. 1:24).  Jesus called himself the way, the truth and the life of God (Jn. 14:6).  Jesus is also our hope (1Tim. 1:1) and the resurrection, in person (Jn. 11:25).  He is the embodiment of God’s love and goodness, and of the grace of God that saves.  He is everything, and the only thing, that redeems man and reveals God to man, not the least of which is God’s faithfulness.  That Christ Jesus is the faithfulness of God is repeatedly suggested in Psalm 89.

Psalm 89:1: Let me sing of the Lord’s eternal mercies!  Let me make known with my mouth your faithfulness through all generations!
Christ did not come to earth merely to talk about God; the whole world was doing that before he got here.  Christ made God’s faithfulness known, by coming to earth, taking on human form, and being God’s faithfulness in person, showing us God’s faithfulness in himself.

Psalm 89:2: Truly, I say, eternal mercy shall be established; in heaven shall you establish your faithfulness.
The Father established His faithfulness in heaven when He raised Jesus from the dead and settled him at His right hand – no longer a hidden Son, as he had been since the foundation of the world, but revealed and openly occupying his appointed place.

Psalm 89:4–5: I will establish your seed forever, and I will build up your throne through all generations.  Selah.  Then heaven will praise your wonderful work, O Jehovah; how much more shall your faithfulness be praised in the assembly of the saints!
In these verses, the Son foretold that after the Father created the body of Christ (verse 4), he himself would declare God’s praise in the midst of those saints.  In Psalm 22:22, the Son said it this way: “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation will I praise you!”
But notice as well that the Son foretold of heavenly beings praising God for His “wonderful work”.  That “wonderful work” is His Son, the only “work” God has ever done.  Everything else, the Son did (Jn. 1:3), as the Father willed it to be done.  The reason it was prophesied that angels would someday praise God for that work is that only in the future could they praise God for the Son, for until the Son was revealed in Jesus Christ, they knew nothing about him.

Psalm 89:8: O Jehovah, God of hosts!  Who around you is mighty like you and your faithfulness, O Jehovah?
The Spirit is asking the Father, “Who is like you and your Son?”

Psalm 89:24a: My faithfulness and my lovingkindness are with him.
The Father is explaining how it is that the Son could be His power and His wisdom, and His life, His goodness, His faithfulness, etc.  It is because everything that is true about God is in the Son.

Psalm 89:37: Like the moon, he shall be established forever, a faithful witness in heaven.  Selah.
The Son did not merely bear witness to God’s faithfulness; he himself became the faithful witness, settled in heaven forever at God’s right hand.  In Revelation 3:14, Jesus proclaimed himself to be “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.”  And earlier in Revelation (1:5a), John referred to Jesus as “the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead.”

Jesus is everything that is true about God; all the wisdom and knowledge of God is in him (Col. 2:3).  Without the Son, no creature knows, or can know, God.  This is why, when Philip asked Jesus to reveal the Father to him, Jesus replied, “Have I spent so much time with you, and yet you don’t know me, Philip?  He who has seen me has seen the Father.  So, how is it you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me?  The words I’m saying to you, I’m not saying on my own; but the Father who lives in me, He is doing the works” (Jn 14:910).
After reading aloud that passage from John, my father once asked a congregation, “Has anybody seen God in you lately?”  That is the real question, for Jesus was the light of the world only while he was here (Jn. 9:5).  Now, those to whom he has given the holy Spirit are supposed to be shining in his stead.  After all, it is the Spirit that was in Jesus, the same Spirit that is now in us, which is the light (Jn. 1:4).  That light shined through Jesus, and men saw God in him, but Jesus is gone now.  So, men have no way of seeing God now unless they see Him in us who have the Spirit and are still here.
Jesus was God’s way and truth and light and faithfulness for men.  He did his job and finished his work.  May God help us to be the light now “in Christ’s stead”.

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