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The States of Christ

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
December 17, 2020 12:01 am

The States of Christ

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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December 17, 2020 12:01 am

Jesus came in humility to become one with His people, taking their weaknesses and their debts upon Himself. Today, R.C. Sproul describes the significance of the states of Christ in His redemptive work -- His humiliation and exaltation.

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Jesus asked Peter, who do you say that I am Peter answers correctly. But then Jesus says the Son of Man must suffer almost Peter's response, never, never bait that can't happen is that get behind me Satan because Peter was not willing, the Christ should go into this level of shame and humiliation.

Jesus is King of Kings and loaded the ruling and leaning over only created prior to his resurrection and ascension, Jesus had to experience the humiliation that Peter found unspeakable today on Renewing Your Mind. Dr. IC scroll continues his in-depth look the person and work of Christ in our last session, we look briefly at some of the names of Christ that we find in the New Testament and in theology, particularly in Christology we distinguish among three elements with respect to Christ. First of all the names of Christ which we looked at briefly. Second of all the states of Christ. And thirdly, the office of Christ and today were going to look at the states of Christ, that is, his state of being or role in which he is acting at various times throughout his life for his existence. And so when we talk about the states of Jesus. We don't begin with his birth at Bethlehem, but rather we start. First of all with his pre-incarnate state and here we are led to do that by looking.

For example, as we talked earlier of John's introduction to his gospel when he says in the beginning was the word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. And then later on at the end of the prologue to John's gospel John says, and the word became flesh, full of grace and truth. And so we beheld his glory, dwelt among us, and so on, so that the affirmation that is made here in the first chapter of John is that this Christ, who has appeared on the plane of history in space and time existed before his conception and his birth that his divine nature is eternal with the father. And so we have in Jesus is not simply the birth of a baby, but the incarnation of God, the second person of the Trinity, God the son or the logos now again in our examination of the names of Christ.

We remember how the term Son of Man was so important to Jesus self identity, and his own self-consciousness, and that's important for us to understand because on many occasions throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus makes reference to his previous state. Again, no one ascends to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, and behold, you will see the heavens opened, and you will see the Son of Man ascending and descending the angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man is the one who exists from the beginning, before Abraham was, I and but obviously he was not incarnate prior to his birth in Bethlehem know that raises an interesting point of speculation.

Questions often raised well, even though the second person of the Trinity does not become incarnate until his birth in Bethlehem or his conception in the womb of Mary, does that mean that he is never to be found in the Old Testament because some people look at the captain of the Lord of hosts that Joshua encounters in his military campaign or this mysterious figure of Melchizedek that we've already mentioned, to whom Abraham pays ties and from whom Abraham received the blessing many have speculated that these mysterious persons who appear at certain points in the Old Testament were really the appearances of Christ in disguise as it were, but again they would not be deemed prior incarnations, even those who hold to the view that Christ appears here and there in the Old Testament, they refer to them as Christoph Annise. You remember the word theophany which is an outward manifestation of the invisible God, such as the burning bush, out of which the voice comes and speaks to Moses were God appears to Moses in the bush so these manifestations are called Christoph Annise or an outward manifestation of the second person of the Trinity. Prior to his birth, but again that is a matter of speculation. Then we move from the preexistence. Pre-incarnational state of Jesus to the state of his life on earth and if you remember the apostles Creed how the apostles Creed sort of hits the highlights of the earthly manifestation of Christ. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, crucified, dead and buried. The third day what he rose again from the dead, and he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the father from when she shall come to judge the quick and the dead, and so the reference in the apostles Creed is to the birth of Jesus to the death of Jesus to the resurrection of Jesus to the ascension of Jesus to the session of Jesus which I'll talk about in a moment, and to the return of Jesus and these describe different aspects or states of Jesus existence after the incarnation others. Another dimension I want to mention here before I look at each one of these quickly, individually, and that is in in theology we normally speak of the life of Jesus as following a progression from humiliation to exultation where in his very birth to a peasant woman in abject poverty with the cloak of his humanity hiding and concealing his deity. He is entering into his humiliation and that throughout his life. There is a progressive deepening of this humiliation as he moves towards the cross as the people reject him as he is scourged and beaten.

And then finally crucified and then after the humiliation Richard steps then there is this explosion of exultation where God vindicates him with the resurrection surrounds him with glory in his ascension, and so on and so theologians often talk about this movement from humiliation to exultation and I agree with this general framework of progress, but I don't agree with it all together for this reason, one of the most exciting and enjoyable things I ever did was I wrote a book once called the glory of Christ and what was the need about it for me and I have to say is one of the worst selling books I've ever written something other people to get us excited about as I did, but what was so much fun about this was that I looked at all of these different key moments in the life of Christ and focus my attention solely and exclusively on the elements of glory that attended the even in the midst of humiliation. For example, even though we hear about Jesus, meek and mild lowly baby born in a manger. Yet, even when that event took place. It was not without the manifestation of glory because just outside the village of Bethlehem, in the fields with glory of God shone round about, and there was the greatest sound and light show the world had known up at that point, when the heavens manifested the radiant glory of God to announce the birth of Jesus.

And so it was not without exultation and even the visitation of the Magi was an element of glory that was ascribed to this babe in the manger you go through his life. You go to the Jordan River. You go to his baptism, which was also an active humiliation. When Jesus willingly submitted himself to a cleansing right that God had commanded of people who were sinners and Jesus was not a sinner and remember John was reluctant to even baptize) near the Lamb of God. I wanted to baptize you. You should be baptizing million Jesus that suffered knowledge on for its necessary to fulfill all righteousness of Jesus humbles himself to become one with his people to assume their debt, their obligation to every aspect of the law and so he submits to baptism, that humiliation but yet what happened when he does, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descends as a dove upon his head, and then we go through his ministry and towards the end of his earthly ministry he announces to his disciples that he now has to go to Jerusalem to be delivered into the hands of his enemies and to be arrested and beaten and executed. They shrink back in horror because this announcement seemed to them to contradict every hope and every expectation they had for Jesus. They were with him to the end, they were convinced now that he was the Messiah and that it was unthinkable to them is when Peter made his great confession at Caesarea Philippi. When Jesus said who do you say that I am Peter said, thou art the Christ, the son of the living God and Jesus blesses him for saying that in a few minutes later, Jesus says, and of the Son of Man must suffer. What was Peter's response. Never, never be. That can't happen is that get behind me Satan because Peter was not willing that Christ should go into this level of shame and humiliation and yet he explains this to them and then he sets his face as a Flint toward Jerusalem and he begins his final journey because he has a rendezvous with the cross and just a few days after he tells them these things is on this mountain with Peter James and John when before their very eyes. He is transfigured before and his reign becomes as white as is possible to be in this brilliant radiance begins to shine from inside of Christ, so that the disciples fall on their faces in fear and trembling, and Jesus has a meeting there on the Mount of Transfiguration with Moses and Elijah were encouraging him in his mission, and later on you know when John does write the prologue to his gospel is set in the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and so on.

He says, and we beheld his glory in Peter's writings later on.

Peter also makes reference to the Transfiguration, where in the midst of this progression from humiliation to exultation.

There is a sudden intervention and abbreviated intrusion were suddenly the hidden, concealed, cloaked glory of Christ burst through for the eyes of his immediate close friends Peter James and John and they never forget in the cross where he reads the depths of his humiliation. We tend to think that there is no glory attended to that and again this common conception is that the end of humiliation, the line between humiliation and exultation takes place at the resurrection. I don't think so. If we look.

For example, in the prophecy of Isaiah 53 of the suffering servant of Israel. It says of this one, to whom the Lord would lay upon the iniquities of us all and God would bruise and so on that he would make his grave with the rich, for he had done no iniquity and we are told in the Scriptures that not a bone of his body would be broken that significant because when prisoners were executed by crucifixion by the Romans. When the execution was finished they would break the bones in the legs of the victim and then the victims would be on the ceremonially buried or thrown into the refuse dump the garbage dump outside of Jerusalem and the garbage dumps name was Gahanna. And remember among the Hebrew people.

The name Gahanna became a metaphor for hell itself. Because this garbage dump, which is outside the city for sanitary reasons.

The way garbage was disposed of, was through burning and there were daily trips by the sanitation department to Gahanna and fresh refuse was thrown on that.

Keep every day so that the fire never went out and we hear that imagery one is describing hell for the flames of hell never are extinguished, and so the normal recourse for the burial of an executed victim of Roman punishment was they would break the bonds and throw the body onto the garbage dump outside of Jerusalem, but the disciples of Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea made the special plea. The pilot that they may give Jesus a proper burial.

According to the Old Testament custom and as the Scripture said the word of God was fulfilled that he would not allow his holy one to suffer corruption so that his bones were not broken and instead of being thrown into the garbage heap. He was anointed with precious spices. Some authorities say 100 pounds of special spices and buried in a rich man's grave fulfilling exactly the prophecy of Isaiah. In his 53rd chapter, and so if you look more closely at it.

You see that the exultation begins, not resurrection.

The moment of his death at the moment of the death that drape that Paul of humiliation is being lifted as his body is treated with great care and he's given a memorial burial and then of course comes the major flash of glory when God shakes the horse and brings his son back from the dead. In order to indicate that he is completely satisfied with his work is raised for our justification. God declares to the world with this is the one through whom he will judge the whole world now in his resurrected state becomes out of the grave with the same body that was put in the grave, and that's important. It's not like that body disappeared or was hidden or was buried somewhere in Jesus comes along with the new body. Now that same body that was buried comes out of the tomb, but it comes out changed. It is not glorified, and so the resurrected Christ is in a glorified state which the apostle explains to us in first Corinthians 15 is that which foreshadows the new physical bodies that we will enjoy in the final resurrection of Christ is braced as the firstborn of many brethren and that we will participate in this kind of glorified body which is sown in dishonor raised in on her sone and mortality raised in immortality sown in corruption raised in glory so we shall ever be with the Lord in heaven, but it's also significant that the final goal of the ministry of Jesus while he was on this earth was not the cross, or even the resurrection, but the climax to this point in church history, which is really the pen ultimate goal of Christ. The ultimate goal is in his final return and consummation of his kingdom. The settlement goal that which already has taken place is found in his ascension, because in the ascension. Christ is lifted up into heaven's. This is one of the most misunderstood concepts in all the Bible. Sometimes people just think of the ascension is Jesus going up as is mixing left this earth and went into heaven all nice, but he did ascend in the sense of going up but there is a uniqueness to his ascension, a once for all nests of his ascension, Jesus says, no one ascends into heaven except he who descends from heaven, and that since he's talking in technical terms of the meaning of ascension, it does not mean simply to go up and go to heaven because all the saints go up and go to heaven.

But the ascension is his elevation to his coronation to his investiture as the King of Kings and as the Lord of lords. The Son of Man is received into heaven and is crowned as the King of the kings and Lord of the Lord and so right now he rules as in the highest political office in the universe.

Christ has the position of cosmic authority. He is the King of all the kings and the Lord of all the Lords right now because of the ascension. But not only does he ascend to his coronation, but he also we are talking about the session that I mentioned we call ruling bodies in certain churches by the word session is because they sit in leadership and judgment. That's what's called a session. But when Jesus enters into his session. It is his role as King where he is enthroned and seated where at the right hand of God and so he ascends in order to sit as King of Kings and that's why the Creed says he ascend in heaven.

Sit with on the right hand of God the father Almighty. From when she shall come to judge the quick and the dead before that, we also have to add that he not only ascends to sit at the right hand of the father, but he also ascends into the heavenly sanctuary where he permanently functions as our great high priest forever remember the Old Testament priest only got to in the holy of holies once a year and he would have a term to his life when he died. Somebody else would have to be the high priest and so far, high priest never dies and he is in there interceding for us and for his people. Perpetual in the heavenly holy of holies, and he stays there at the right hand ruling as our king and ministering as our priest. The Lord said to my Lord, sit thou at my right hand I will make you priest forever after the order of Melchizedek to the crisis. Both king and priest and will explore the more when we look at the offices of Jesus and then it is from that place of exultation. That place of majesty that he will return in glory, to consummate his kingdom and we will look at those offices of prophets, priest and king tomorrow when we return to the series here on Renewing Your Mind this week were airing a portion of Dr. RC scrolls overview of systematic theology called foundations throughout the series. RC explains how the truths of Scripture relate to each other, in perfect harmony covers creation, the fall, the atonement, the authority of Scripture and other key aspects of the Christian faith. We will send you the full 60 message series on eight DVDs. When you give a donation of any amount today to look in your ministries.

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