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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Solus Christus

by Keith Shearer

CHRIST ALONE (Hebrews 1:1-4)

Superior to all other forms of God's Self-revelation is His revealing of Himself "in His Son" (Hebrews 1:2), the Lord Jesus Christ.

While God has spoken clearly and inerrantly in the Scripture, the Bible Itself owes its authority to the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2). It was Jesus Who affirmed the completed Old Testament (see Matthew 5:17-18, Luke 24:25-27 and 44). If any content would have been contained in the Old Testament that should not have been, surely Jesus would have corrected it. If anything was missing from the Old Testament, surely Jesus would have added it. But, clearly Jesus affirmed the Old Testament as it is. It is Jesus Who authorized the New Testament by granting Apostolic authority to eyewitnesses of His identity, teaching, and accomplishments (Matthew 10:40, Luke 10:16, Second Peter 1:16-21 and 3:15-16), and Who sent them His Spirit to superintend their memory processes so that they would inerrantly record the words of Jesus, the events of His life, death, and resurrection, and the implications of the Gospel and the Church in the New Testament (John 14:26, 16:13). So, even Sola Scriptura owes its authority to the superiority of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said of the Scriptures, "It is these that bear witness of Me" (John 5:39).

While God's Creation powerfully speaks to make Him known (Romans 1:20, Psalm 19:1ff.), nothing in all of Creation exists apart from Jesus Christ. It is Christ Alone "through Whom also He made the world" (Hebrews 1:2). "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being" (John 1:3). It is fascinating that in Hebrews 1:2 God the Father's appointment of His Son to be "heir of all things" occurs before the Creation. The Father did not search through the world and then select Jesus to be the heir. Rather, Jesus has been the "Heir of all things" from before Creation. The very purpose of the existence of anything is to be the inheritance of Jesus Christ. "All things have been created by Him and for Him." (Colossians 1:16).

While the intricate preservation processes working in people, plants, animals, gravity, weather, etc. display the wonders of the power of God, Hebrews 1:3 significantly states that none of these processes occur without Jesus, but rather "He upholds all things by the word of His power." Colossians 1:17 phrases the concept this way, "In Him all things hold together." Whether the most magnificent sunrise, or the most awesome lighting strike; whether the destructive hurricane, or the long, slow rain in the time of drought; whether the impressive strength and health of the Olympic athlete, or the frailty and disease of the cancer patient; nothing occurs without the power of His involvement. As the possessor of all of the same glorious attributes as God the Father, Christ alone, above any other means of Divine revelation, is "the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature" (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus alone can say, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). Even the application of the ultimate "sola" - soli Deo gloria - is accomplished through Jesus Christ alone.

While the Old Testament Law has a necessary and holy function (Romans 7:12-13), it could never make "purification of sins" (Hebrews 1:3). Neither the ministry of Levitical priests ( Hebrews 7:27), nor the slaughter of millions of sacrificial animals could ever take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). All of the attempts and works of all humanity fail to take away sins (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:10-20). But Jesus alone, in the completed, decisive work of the Cross, "made purification of sins". Observe the tense of the verb - "had made". Purification of sins was completed on the Cross. Jesus made complete sacrifice for sins "once for all when He offered up Himself" (Hebrews 7:27). The Cross is not only a display of God's love in providing salvation, the Cross is also a display of God's hatred of sin and the necessity of His judging sin with holy wrath. This He did by requiring the death of His Son to satisfy His Own justice (Propitiation - Romans 3:24-26).The applied benefits of justification from sin occur instantaneously, once and for all, at the instant one trusts upon Christ through the regenerating gift of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:14). The offering of Christ's body, the shedding of His blood, was an accomplished,once -for -all (Hebrews 10:10ff), non-repeatable, only satisfactory purification of sins. To have sins forgiven one can only look in faith to what Jesus accomplished at the Cross, not anything occuring in the present. In Christ alone is justification and forgiveness.

While martyrs have given their lives for various causes, some even for the glorious cause of the Gospel of Christ, only One's death made satisfactory payment for sin. As a result, only Jesus was raised from the dead, ascended, and then "sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus, in His glorified and ascended session, is the "one Mediator" between God and man (First Timothy 2:5). He "was raised because of our justification" (Romans 4:25). "He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25). Therefore Jesus has "inherited a more excellent name" (Hebrews 1:4) than angels, prophets, priests, kings, etc. Because of Christ's incarnation and crucifixion, God the Father has exalted Jesus in in resurrection and ascension, granting Him "the name which is above every name" - The Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:9). Before this name every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

In Christ alone is creation, existence, preservation,representation of Father God purification of sin bringing forgiveness, resurrection, eternal life, glorification, and the true worship of the majestic God to Whom belongs all glory.

Solus Christus.
Keith Shearer is Senior Pastor New Beginnings Grace Brethren Church in Myerstown, PA. On the side, he also spends a significant amount of time shepherding me.


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