I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST

Jesus ChristAccording to the traditional English punctuation and paragraphing of the Apostles' Creed the second article begins a new paragraph, but not a new sentence: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth: And in Jesus Christ…" Without even a pause for breath we confess our faith in Christ as well as God. A Christian is not just someone who believes in God but someone who believes also in Jesus Christ. Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists believe in God, but not Jesus Christ. Who is Jesus Christ that he should occupy a equivalent position with God as the object of our faith?

The Apostles' Creed identifies him in two ways.

GOD'S SON
When we speak of the fatherhood of God we use that term in three different ways. At the lowest level all people are God's children by creation. The prophet Malachi asked, "Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us" (Malachi 2:10)?

Taken literally, that has some shocking consequences. Even the most contemptible person you know, the person you can't stand to be around, the one who drives you crazy, is a son or daughter of Adam who is a son of God (Luke 3:38). In this sense, all humankind is one family. We are all brothers and sisters. "For us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist" (1 Corinthians 8:6; see also Acts 17:29). All people, regardless of their race, religion or wrongdoing are children of God by creation.

At the next level, Christians are children of God by rebirth and adoption. John says, "To all who received (Christ), who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13; see also 1 John 3:1).

Paul saw our relationship to our Heavenly Father in terms of adoption. "He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will" (Ephesians 1:5). "When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children" (Galatians 4:4-5). "You have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, 'Abba! Father!' it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans 8:15-16).

All people are God's children by creation. Only Christians are his children by rebirth and adoption. But there is a third category of sonship which has only one example. Jesus is God's son by deity. He is the "only begotten Son" (John 3:16 KJV). The expression, only begotten, means unique. No one else is God's Son in the way Jesus is. He is not just a son of God; he is the Son of God.

He has always been God's Son. "Very truly, I tell you," Jesus said, "before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58). Jesus had a father before he had a mother. He is the eternal Son of God. Jesus prayed, "Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed" (John 17:5). After his resurrection Jesus told his mother, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God'" (John 20:17). Paul told the Colossians, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:15-17). "For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily" (Colossians 2:9).

Oxford and Cambridge Professor C. S. Lewis wrote: "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would be either a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him for as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

When Lloyd C. Douglas, author of The Robe and other novels, was a university student he lived with an invalid music teacher. Each morning when he would ask, "What's the good news?" the musician would pick up his tuning fork, tap it on the arm of his wheelchair and say, "That's middle C! It was middle C yesterday; it will be middle C tomorrow; it will be middle C a thousand years from now. The tenor upstairs sings flat, the piano across the hall is out of tune, but, my friend, that is middle C!" Jesus Christ is our middle C, a constant point in a turning world, the one absolute of which there is no shadow of turning. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

I believe Jesus is God's Son and…

OUR LORD
Lord means boss. It means he tells you what to do and holds you accountable. Has the "Lord of Glory" (1 Corinthians 2:8) become your boss, your personal master? Or are you like those to whom Jesus asked, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I tell you" (Luke 6:46)? Many talk as if Jesus is Lord and act as if he isn't.

Someone has said marriage begins with a great big "Yes" followed by a lifetime of "uh huhs." That's a good description of our relationship to Jesus Christ. It begins with a big yes when we confess Christ as our Savior and are baptized into his church. Some people think that's the end of discipleship. Well, if it is, it is the front end.

Jesus is our Savior and Lord. Accepting him as your Savior but not your Lord is like a young lady agreeing to take a young man's name and money but refusing to live with him. You can't have Jesus as your Savior unless you are willing to have him as your Lord.

You may have said a big "yes" to Christ when you were baptized, but when was the last time you said, "uh huh?" It requires greater commitment to make him Lord in small matters than in great. A person of little faith may consult
Christ in great decisions, but the person of great faith considers his will in everyday matters. Otherwise you are like the husband who said, "In my house I make all the big decisions and my wife makes all the small ones. I decide such things as the international balance of trade, depletion of the ozone layer, and genetic research. She decides such things as where we live, what we buy and how we raise our kids."

You can't make Jesus king of your life until you abdicate and acknowledge his divine rights over your life.

"O the bitter pain and sorrow that a time could ever be
When I proudly said to Jesus, 'All of self and none of thee.'
Yet he found me; I beheld him bleeding on the accursed tree;
And my wistful heart said faintly, 'Some of self and some of thee.'
Day by day his tender mercy, healing, helping, full and free,
Brought be lower while I whispered, 'Less of self and more of thee.'
Higher than the highest heavens, deeper than the deepest sea,
'Lord, thy love at last has conquered: None of self and all of thee.'"

               (Author unknown)

Jesus is not just another software program you try to add to your overcrowded disk. He is your DOS, your Disk Operating System that controls and runs every other program. If Jesus is the center of your life, the circumference can take care of itself.

Does God's Son, the One who moves the planets in their orbits, have direct control over the affairs of your life? The galaxies give God no resistance, but of all God's creatures you have the awesome freedom to say "No" to your Creator and Lord.

Ultimately, the question is not whether you will acknowledge Jesus as your Lord, but when. The day will come when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:11). You may do it now and be saved or then and be judged.

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