Who’s Your Daddy and What Do You Do? Southerners Meet Jesus – Class 4 Summary

This past Sunday we thought together about the preexistence of Jesus Christ. Why would we do that, you might ask? Why should we care about Jesus’ preexistence? What use is it to me in my day to day Christian experience? Those are good questions, because truth is for the sake of life – doctrine must be applied. All theology is practical, as Donald Macleod so wonderfully explains from Philippians 2:1-11 and II Corinthians 8:9: “Philippians 2:1-11 reminds us that theology does not exist in a vacuum…It exists in order to be applied to the day-to-day problems of the Christian church. Every doctrine has its application…Similarly all the application must be based on doctrine. In both Philippians 2:1-11 and II Corinthians 8:9, Paul is dealing with what are surely comparative trivia, the problem of vainglory in a Christian congregation and the problem of failure of Christian liberality…Yet Paul, as he wrestles with both of them, has recourse to the most massive theology…Who would ever imagine that the response to the glory of the incarnation might be to stop our quarreling and our divisiveness in the Christian church? Paul is telling them, ‘You have these practical problems; the answer is theological; remember your theology and place your behavior in the light of that theology. Place your little problems in the light of the most massive theology.’”

The doctrine of Christ’s preexistence states that, contra the Arians of the 3rd and 4th century, there was never a time that Jesus was not. He never originated, He existed from all eternity, He created all things. He was unoriginated, uncaused, independent. The Son has always been divine; He is of the same substance with the Father, “very God of very God”. And He takes to Himself a human nature; He became what He was not without ceasing to be what He was. Eternity breaks into time/history. His existence as a man is the continuation of His previous/prior existence as the Son of God.

We see this truth taught in many passages of God’s word: John 1:1-4, 14; Col. 1:15-17; John 8:57-58; John 17:5; Galatians 4:4; II Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 18:11, 20:28; Mark 1:1-3; 12:1ff; Romans 8:3; I Corinthians 10:4; I Timothy 1:15; 3:16; II Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 1:1-14; 2:9; 7:3; 10:5; and I Peter 1:20.

So what’s the point? Why should we care about the preexistence of Christ? First and foremost because it’s true and teaches us that Jesus is fully divine. But it secondly reminds us that there was fellowship in the Trinity before the foundation of the world. Therefore God did not create out of lack or need, but out of fullness and the overflow of love. And it tells us that as those made in His image, we have been made for community and relationship. During the class we had a wonderful time of discussion on these points. Finally, the preexistence of Jesus shows us the marvel of the gospel – God gave His eternal Son, and the Son willingly and voluntarily humbled Himself to become a man. Not only should we marvel at this condescension and compassion, but we should imitate it. As Phil. 2 and II Cor. 8:9 remind us, we too are called to sacrificial living and sacrificial giving in light of the incarnation and cross of Jesus Christ. He who was rich (preexistently) became poor to make us rich – likewise, we should become poor for the sake of others, denying ourselves for the good of those around us.

Meditate on these things, and join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #christhaunted.

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