Friday, July 15, 2011

Being Truly Human - Part 2 - Following the True Human

The continuation of my talk at Mid Year Conference 2011.

I concluded previously by saying that: "To be human means to be a sinner. And like our father Adam we deserve the death that we all face and the judgement that goes with that." 

4. The True Human

That is a pretty sad analysis of what it means to be human, but God doesn’t leave us without hope. God sends the True Human into the world. The true human is, of course, Jesus Christ – as the writer to the Hebrews makes clear (Heb 2:6-9), beginning with a quote from Psalm 8:

But there is a place where someone has testified: ‘‘What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and put everything under his feet.” In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
We see Jesus, who according to Hebrews 1:3 is truly God, “The radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being”. God the Son becomes ‘a little lower than the angels’ - he becomes truly human - like us in every way except sin (according to Hebrews 4:15).

According to the logic of Hebrews the Son had to become fully human so that he could be our perfect High priest who offered the perfect sacrifice of himself on the cross, in order that he might ‘taste death for everyone’ cf 2:14-17:

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
Only the True Human could do that for us.

Because we are sinners, we are cut off from God, yet through the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross of Calvary we can have our access to the Father restored – we can be truly human again.

5. Being Truly Human
In our natural state we are not truly human. When we belong to the humanity led by Adam we are cut off from God, we are not able to be in the relationship we are made for.

Yet Christ - through his death – makes it possible for us to be forgiven, to be restored, to have access into the relationship with the Father that we are cut off from by our sin.

True Humanity comes from being united with the True Human. So how can we be united to Christ?

Carl showed us that this happens by Spiritual Baptism through faith (Romans 6; cf. Mark 1-10 and Acts 2). When we put our trust in Christ the Spirit brings us into that relationship with Christ that changes everything.  We move from being “in Adam” to being “in Christ”.

I loved that illustration he quoted (from The Briefing #393, June 2011, p11 "Union With Christ" by Rory Shiner).
"The key relationship you need with the plane is not to be under it, behind it or inspired by it, You need to be in it. . .  Because by being in the plane, what happens to the plane will also happen to you." 
Then our destiny will be intimately united with the destiny of the plane.

And if we are united with Christ like this by God’s grace through faith, then His status is our status. If God sees Christ as Holy, he sees us as holy. If God sees Christ as righteous, he sees us as righteous. You can’t get a much closer relationship with God than that – except that now we only experience it in part, we only see as a reflection in a cracked mirror (because we live in the overlap of the ages) – but then we will see him face to face.

And so we are not defined as humans by our looks (whether or not the people at accept us). We are not defined by our wealth or how nice our house is or what suburb we live in. We are not defined by how sporty we are or how sexy we are or what job we are doing or our course or our grades or . . . by anything that is just part of this fallen world.

If we are in Christ then we are defined by being in him. We are defined as being right with God and being seated at God’s right hand. We are defined as being in Christ.

In the same way, being “in Christ” means that we are now seated with him in the heavenly realms, we are now seated at the right hand of God with Christ. We have access to the father because Christ is in the Father’s presence. Our destiny is united with him.
The Son becomes truly human in order to defeat the devil and rescue us from our slavery to sin and death. He offers himself as the sacrifice of atonement (the ‘propitiation’) that turns aside God’s anger and makes it possible for us to have the relationship with God that we were made to have.

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