Imágenes de páginas

represent the Father and to be the instrument of the Father's saving will, He is one with God. And while the Father and the Lord Christ are spoken of as two, they are also spoken of as to the religious consciousness one. What the One does, the Other is said also to do.1 Sometimes it is the "Lord" who is represented as bestowing upon us the blessings of redemption, " calling us into His Kingdom," " establishing us in grace ";2 in other passages, it is the Father who does for us these same things.3 Now, it is the "grace of the Lord Jesus," that Paul prays his converts may receive;4 again, it is "the grace of God," the Father.5 The identity is also implied when the action of the historic Christ is viewed as the equivalent of the action of God, as in Romans v. 8, " God commendeth His love to us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us "; also, where Christ's present activity is spoken of as the instrument by which God is carrying out His Saving Purpose. It is the Lord tlirough whom we now receive from God " grace and apostleship."6 "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."7 "Who shall deliver us from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord;" 8 "thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ;"9 "obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."10 Sometimes the preposition "in" instead of "through" is used,—" the gift of God is eternal life in our Lord Jesus Christ";11 the only difference being that in these passages, instead of the instrument through whom God

1 E.g. God is declared to be our Judge (Rom. ii. 16); and in another place we are told we must all appear before the Judgment-seat of Christ (2 Cor. v. 10). * I Cor. vii. 17; I Thess. iii. 13.

s 1 Thess. ii. 12; 1 Cor. i. 9. 4 Rom. xvi. 20.

s 1 Cor. i. 4. As a rule, "the grace of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ" are conjoined (1 Cor. i. 3; 2 Cor. i. 2; Gal. i. 3).

0 Rom. i. 5. 7 Rom v. 1. 8 Rom. vii. 25.

'1 Cor. xv. 57. 10 1 Thess. v. 9. 11 Rom. vi. 23.

blesses us, Christ is viewed as the Man in fellowship with whom the Divine blessing is received.

The idea we gather from these passages is that, as Lord, Christ discharges a mediatorial function. It is through Him "that all things are,"1 that communications between God and men take place. In relation to us, He is God's Vicegerent, who is at the same time subject to God, as one who represents another and dispenses the favour of that other, is subject to him whom he represents and whose kindness he dispenses. But as God's Vicegerent and Representative He is to us as God. He is not separate in our minds from God, but one with Him. In what He does for and in us, God is active. It is always in and through the exercise of the Will of Christ that God accomplishes His Will. Christ and God seem to form in Paul's mind one image, and he passes naturally from the one to the other when the same form of activity is referred to.2 The authority of Christ is indistinguishable from that of God, for it is the authority of righteousness and love. His power working in our hearts and lives is the power of God accomplishing for us what only the Divine energy can accomplish. If our highest thought of God is that of the summum bonum, then Christ answers to that thought, for in Him, Exalted and Lord, all moral and religious good is found, the forgiveness of sins, the participation of life everlasting, power to live as children, a supreme moral ideal and authority; all this, answering to our highest conception of the Divine, makes Him one with God in our thoughts and regards.3

We have found in the first part of this lecture that as Immanent in His people, Christ is spoken of by the

1 1 Cor. viii. 6.

2 E.g. 1 Thess. iii. 11, 12, where a prayer is directed to God and the "Lord," and continuing it, the apostle contents himself with naming the "Lord" only, although God is as truly concerned in the answering of the second part of the prayer as in the first. Although he understands by the " Lord" Christ, it is evident he does not think of Him as separate or distinct from God (comp. 2 Tim. i. 18).

3 The doctrine of Christ's intercession (so prominent in the Ep. to apostle not only as the Giver of the Spirit of God, but also as Himself that Spirit, so identified in his experience was the influence of the Personal Christ with the energy of the Spirit of God. And we are prepared to find, similarly, that in speaking of Him in His transcendent relation as Lord, Paul should call Him expressly God, for, as we have seen, the same activities are spoken of indifferently as the activities of God and of the " Lord." But it is very doubtful whether Paul so designates Christ. There is only one passage that can be adduced in this connection,1 and that one is not conclusive, since it depends on the punctuation, whether the words " who is over all, God blessed for ever" are to be taken as a doxology to the Father, or as an integral part of the preceding statement about Christ; and there is apparently little prospect of unanimity among scholars on this point. Paul does not elsewhere use the word 0eo? of Christ, and although there is nothing in his thought that could prevent him doing so, it seems hazardous on the strength of this one passage, that is of doubtful interpretation, to conclude that he has actually called Christ God.2 But the fact that he habitually applies to Christ the term Lord {Kvpios), a term that in the Septuagint is practically equivalent to God (6eo?), and is the rendering

Hebrews), suggesting the idea, not of God accomplishing His Will through Christ's activity, but of Christ's activity as moving that of God in accordance therewith, is foreign to the theology of Paul. The intercession of Christ in heaven is only once referred to in his writings (Rom. viii. 34), and there the word describes the activity of His Love generally, at the Right Hand of God, in befriending and taking the part of His people against everything that threatens their well-being. Their having been justified by God (ver. 34) seems to exclude the idea of God needing to be interceded with on their behalf.

1 Rom. ix. 5.

2 In Sanday and Headlam's Commentary on Romans a long and careful note will be found on this text, which, as they say, has been probably discussed at greater length than any other verse of the N. T. Their conclusion is that the "balance of probability is in favour of referring the expressions 0soV and i-ai vinuv to Christ." In Ritschl's view there is no doubt of the truth of this interpretation {Altkatholischc of the most solemn name of Jehovah in the Old Testament, shows that in his regard He was entitled to the worship and obedience that are due to God.1 To such an extent is He the object of religious worship that Christians are spoken of as those who "call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord," this invocation of Christ being referred to as the common mark by which they are distinguished,4—a striking testimony to the supremacy of Christ in the faith of His followers, and of the practical identification of Him with God in their religious feelings.3 If further proof were Kirche, p. 29). It must be admitted, however, that it is against his usage for Paul to call Christ &t6(, a term reserved by him for the Father alone; and the additional epithet ivi iratnuv, equivalent to the idea of Kvpto;, would, if viewed as descriptive of Christ, make the apostle speak of the latter as the "Lord God," a combination that goes beyond the thought of the apostle regarding his Master as expressed in his writings.

1 See Note C on the use of the term Kvpto; in the Septuagint.

2 1 Cor. i. 2; Rom. x. 13.

3 We find, accordingly, that prayer is directed to Christ. Paul specifies an occasion when he prayed to the " Lord" (2 Cor. xii. 8), and "the calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ," which he attributes to believers, includes prayer besides other exercises of worship. Some who pray in Christ's name, recognising the revelation of God that Christ has given as the ground of their expectation of being heard, shrink from direct prayer to Christ. Their minds cling to the image of the earthly Jesus, who was Himself a Man of prayer, and they think it is derogatory to God, the Source of all Blessing, to ask Christ to give what He must Himself first receive from the Father. But by His exaltation Christ has become so one with the Father and with the Spirit that it is natural for us to think of Him as not only the Medium of blessing to His people, but the Dispenser of it; and since it is God in Christ we appeal to, we feel it to be in no wise inconsistent with what is due to God to direct our prayer to Christ. At the same time it is to be noticed that, as a rule, in his Epistles God the Father is spoken of as the Source of all good, to whom we are to look for what we need and to whom we are to pray, while Christ is the instrument by whom it is given. And nothing could be more contrary to Paul's thought than the notion that lurks in the minds of some whose habit it is to pray to Christ, that He is more accessible to men than the Father is. The ease and naturalness with which Paul passes from the thought of God to that of Christ shows that he knew of no other God save the God who was one with Christ and Christ with Him, that in turning in faith and prayer to Christ he was conscious he was drawing near to God in the truest way, and that in calling on God he was calling on Christ in whom alone God is accessible to men.

wanted of the Divinity claimed by Paul for his Master, it is found in the words of the benediction, " The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all."1 Our ears are so accustomed to the words of the formula that we are apt to miss the force of the testimony they furnish to the extraordinary impression of Divine glory made by the Risen Saviour on the hearts of His followers. The fact that He is mentioned in the same breath with the Eternal God and the Life-giving Spirit—in a way, too, that betrays no consciousness whatever that the juxtaposition of Christ with God and the Spirit will be thought by any to savour of extravagance or an exaggerated sense of what is due to Him—is surely a remarkable proof of the exalted place He held in their regards.

The confession of Christ's Lordship is the confession of His Divinity. There is no doubt that to Paul and the mass of believers the Man Christ Jesus, Risen and Exalted, stood in the place of God, and was the object of worship. In Him thay saw God manifested in a human form. In His influence upon them they perceived the influence of the Spirit of God. Of His Divine power they had the most convincing evidence in the consciousness of the new life, with the moral strength it imparted, which He had quickened within them. In contact with Him, and in the experience of His gracious love forgiving their sins, they were in communion with God in the riches of His love, and were conscious of changes of thought and feeling and purpose which could only be ascribed to the Will of God. They were not withheld from the worship of Christ because He was Divinity in a human form. The only knowledge of God that can inspire religious worship is that which comes to us through a human manifestation of Him. Religious worship is impossible without reverence and love; and in 1 2 Cor. xiii. 14.

« AnteriorContinuar »