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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Humility

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

“I was always exceedingly delighted with that saying of Chrysostom, “The foundation of our philosophy is humility”; and yet more pleased with that of Augustine: “As the orator, when asked, What is the first precept in eloquence? answered, Delivery: What is the second? Delivery: What is the third? Delivery: so if you ask me concerning the precepts of the Christian religion, I will answer, first, second, and third, Humility.” (Institutes of the Christian Religion)

Fully God and Fully Man

Hypostatic UnionKenosis and the Bible:

“Kenotic theology” attempts to understand the incarnation of Jesus in light of the kenosis (The renunciation of the divine nature, at least in part, by Christ in the Incarnation) of Philippians 2:7. Its aim is to solve some of the supposed paradoxes arising from Jesus having both a divine nature and a human nature. The danger comes when it is concluded that in the incarnation, the second person of the Trinity took on human nature and gave up or lost some of the divine attributes. The doctrine of the two natures of Christ (known as the hypostatic union) maintains that Jesus possessed a full undiminished human nature and a full undiminished divine nature.

What does it mean when Scripture says Christ “emptied” Himself? Deity cannot stop being deity or He would never have been true deity to begin with. Orthodox Christianity maintains that Jesus did not “empty” himself of any of his divinity in the incarnation, although it is true that his divine attributes were veiled. Kenosis theory sometimes concludes that Jesus is or was less than God. This is regarded as heresy.

What is meant by “Seeing God”?

Jonathan EdwardsWe are so accustomed to depend upon our senses that we are ready to agree that seeing things with the bodily eyes is the most perfect way of understanding them. Yet, the eye of the soul is more perfect than the eye of the body. Jonathan Edwards writes:

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

It is not any sight with the bodily eyes. The blessedness of the soul does not enter in at that door. This would make the blessedness of the soul dependent on the body or the happiness of man’s superior part dependent on the inferior. And this would have confirmed the carnal and childish notions of the Jews.

God is a spirit, and is not to be seen with the bodily eyes. We find it attributed to God that he is invisible. Heb. 11:27, “As seeing him, who is invisible.” Col. 1:15, “Who is the image of the invisible God.” It is mentioned as a part of God’s glory. 1 Tim. 1:17, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” That it is not any sight with the bodily eyes is evident because the disembodied souls of the saints see God, and the angels also, who are spirits and were never united to bodies. Mat. 18:10, “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones: for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”

It is not any form or visible representation, nor shape, nor color, nor shining light that is seen, wherein this great happiness of the soul consists. Indeed God was wont to manifest himself of old in outward glorious appearances. There was a shining light that was called the glory of the Lord. Thus the glory of the Lord was said Glory of Godto descend on Mount Sinai, and in the tabernacle of the congregation. There was an outward visible token of God’s presence and the seventy elders, when they saw God in the mount, saw a visible shape. It seems also that when Moses desired to see God’s glory, and when God passed by and covered him with his hand in the cleft of the rock, that Moses saw some visible glory. …

The saints in heaven will behold an outward glory as they are in the human nature of Christ, which is united to the Godhead, as it is the body of that person who is God; and there will doubtless be appearances of a divine and inimitable glory and beauty in Christ’s glorified body, which it will indeed be a refreshing and blessed sight to see.

But the beauty of Christ’s body as seen by the bodily eyes will be ravishing and delightful, chiefly as it will express his spiritual glory. The majesty that will appear in Christ’s body will express and show forth the spiritual greatness and majesty of the divine nature. The pureness and beauty of that light and glory will express the perfection of the divine holiness. The sweetness and ravishing mildness of his countenance will express his divine and spiritual love and grace.

Thus it was when the three disciples beheld Christ at his transfiguration upon the mount. They beheld a wonderful outward glory in Christ’s body, an inexpressible beauty in his countenance. But that outward glory and beauty delighted them principally as an expression of the divine excellencies of his mind, as we may see from their manner of speaking of it. It was The Glory of Godthe sweet mixture of majesty and grace in his countenance, by which they were ravished. 2 Pet. 1:16, 17, 18, “We were eye-witnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.” But especially from the account which John gives of it. John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth;” where John very probably had in his mind what he had seen in the mount at the transfiguration. Grace and truth are not outward, but spiritual, glories. (“The Pure in Heart Blessed”)

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