Imágenes de páginas

difficult, however, to believe that the biography of Jesus was so destitute of interest or of value to the apostle that he could use this language regarding it. Others infer from these words that, for a time after his conversion, Paul attached importance to the Jewish descent and nationality of Jesus as giving his believing fellow-countrymen some advantage over Gentile Christians, and as making obligatory on the latter the observance of the carnal ordinances of the Jews. This is the view of Dr. Matheson in his suggestive book on The Development of Paul (p. i o I). He regards Paul here as looking back on the first period of his Christian life, before he had stepped into the larger view of Christ he afterwards reached, and as confessing, " there was a time when I made much of what Christ according to the flesh was, but that time is past." When we think, however, of the circumstances of Paul's conversion, and of the complete recoil from the old ideas that had so misled him that was sure to take place in a mind so thorough as his was, it is scarcely credible that any lingering suspicion of the worth of carnal distinctions could have survived the dissolution of his scheme of belief which followed, as soon as he was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, and that as spirit He now belonged to a state of being where all such outward distinctions were absolutely without meaning. When he speaks, then, of " knowing Christ after the flesh," it is more natural to understand him as using the word "Christ" in its official sense rather than as a proper name, and as saying, " Once, with the rest of my countrymen, I believed in and looked for a Christ who was to come in outward glory, and to raise Israel to a place of supremacy among the nations, but I cast away that notion from the time I knew Jesus to be the Christ, Jesus who died for all men, and has founded a kingdom in which the spirit is everything and the flesh is nothing." This is the view that is taken by Gess, Neander, Schmiedel, and Denney in his "Second Epistle to Corinthians " [Expositors Bible), pp. 204, 205 ; see also a fine sermon on " Knowing Christ after the Flesh," by Rev. F. Mudie, in Bible Truths and Bible Characters. Dr. Bruce thinks that the words in 2 Cor. v. 16, must be looked at in the light of Paul's controversy with the Judaistic section of the Church, who made much of external companionship with Jesus as a qualification for apostleship, and questioned Paul's right to call himself an apostle because he had not had this privilege. Paul's reply would then mean that he had known Christ thus, but that he regarded such an acquaintanceship as valueless. Dr. Bruce agrees with those who are opposed to an understanding of the words that would imply on Paul's part a depreciation of the worth of the knowledge of the historic Christ. "To cast a slight on the words and acts spoken and done in that ministry, and on the revelation of a character made thereby, was not, I imagine, in all his thoughts" {St. PauFs Conception of Christianity, pp. 255-6).

Note C, p. 28.—The Conception Of Christ In The Pastoral Epistles

Since Schleiermacher wrote his treatise calling in question the Pauline authorship of 1 Timothy, the question of the apostolic origin of these Epistles—for all three form one problem—has been eagerly canvassed. Perhaps it is yet too soon to come to a decision as to the final result. Those who deny that they came from Paul's pen refer them to the early part of the second century, and regard them as having issued from a circle where Paulinism prevailed, and as having been intended to meet the practical errors and confusion in Church-life that were produced by the spread of Gnostic ideas. The general conceptions are Pauline, but there is truth in the allegation that they are wanting both in the depth and sharpness of outline that characterise the treatment of doctrine in the undisputed writings of Paul. The aim of these Epistles is strictly practical.

The emphasis is placed less on doctrine than on the "godliness " {evaeftela) that is produced by sound doctrine. And this accounts for the general terms in which Christ is spoken of. There are few references to the historical Christ. He is declared to have come into the world (i Tim. i. i 5), and to have " appeared " and been "manifested" in the flesh (2 Tim. i. 10; 1 Tim. iii. 16) (where 05 must now be accepted as the true reading1)—a form of speech that reminds us of John's apprehension of the Incarnate One as the manifestation of God. It suggests, too, the pre-existence in another state of Him who is "manifested" in time. Christ is also said to have been of the "seed of David" (2 Tim. ii. 8), and to have, " before Pontius Pilate, witnessed a good confession" (1 Tim. vi. 13). We read also of the " wholesome words of the Lord Jesus" (1 Tim. vi. 3) as being the test of true doctrine, which indicates the value that was now set on the historical record of our Lord's teaching. Christ is called the " One Mediator between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. ii. 5). The term Mediator applied to Christ is new, and is a point of affinity between these writings and the Epistle to the Hebrews (xii. 24). As the Man who is distinguished from all other men, inasmuch as, while they need salvation (1 Tim. ii. 4), He is in the position to mediate between them and God to convey salvation to them, He answers closely to the idea of the Second Adam expounded in Rom. v. 12—19. The idea of His Person conveyed in the words (1 Tim. iii. 16), "He was manifested in the flesh and justified in the spirit," is strictly Pauline. The flesh, the seat of His manifestation, is synonymous with human nature on its material side, while the spirit in which He was justified is the higher element of His Personality. By His "justification in the spirit" we are to understand, that in virtue of this higher principle in Him,—the spirit,—He was authenticated as being that which He really was in spite of appearances; the reference, doubtless, is to the Resurrection, where, according to Paul in Rom. i. 3, Christ was " marked out as being the Son of God" (which He had really been in the days of His flesh in a concealed and incomplete form) "according to the spirit of holiness." He became then, according to the teaching of Paul in the undisputed Epistles, " a Life-Giving Spirit": the words " being justified in the Spirit" conveys much the same sense.

1 See Hort, The New Testament in Creek, vol. ii. pp. 132-3.

The Person and work of Christ are declared very emphatically to be a manifestation of the Goodness of God. In Him there was a signal appearing of the "Grace" (2 Tim. i. 9; Tit. ii. 11) of God "bringing salvation to all," of " the kindness and philanthropy of God" (Tit. iii. 4). God is designated throughout as the "Saviour" of men (1 Tim. i. 1, ii. 3, iv. io, Tit. i. 3,

ii. 10), and Jesus' identity in mind and aim with God is implied in the fact that He also is called the "Saviour" (Tit. i. 4; 2 Tim. i. 10). He came to "save sinners" (1 Tim. i. 15). To this end He "gave Himself for us" (Tit. ii. 14), or, as it is expressed more fully in 1 Tim. ii. 6, "He gave Himself a ransom for all."

The effects of His death are moral rather than religious: it is salvation as an ethical good, and not as a mere deliverance from guilt, that is emphasised; salvation from lawlessness and sin (Tit. ii. 14) more than from the curse of the law, or regeneration (Tit. iii. 4). As Risen and Exalted, Christ is called not only our Saviour, but also the " Lord." He is not mentioned in these writings as the " Son of God."

The Spirit is spoken of as the possession of believers, and as the source of moral renewal (2 Tim. i. 7, 14; Tit.

iii. 5); but He is not called "the Spirit of Christ." There is no reference to the truth, so characteristic of Paul, of the Indwelling Christ. The phrase " in Christ" does occur several times (2 Tim. iii. 12, i. 9), but it does not seem to have the same force or significance as in the recognised Pauline writings; and one feels, in reading these Epistles, that there is a measure of truth in Schenkel's judgment: "The Christ-Image of the Pastoral Epistles is made up of Pauline formulas, but there is wanting the Pauline mind and spirit, the mystic inwardness, the religious depth and moral power which live in the Christ of Paul" {Das Christus-Bild der Apostel, p. 361).

On the other hand, the leading features of the Pauline Christology are here. Christ is a Man, but a Man who stands in a unique relation to God and men, as Mediator. He has for us the religious value of God, for God is manifested in Him, and He is Lord and Saviour, as God is: He is mentioned habitually along with God as of the same importance to us (1 Tim. v. 21, i. 1, 2; 2 Tim. iv. 1; Tit. i. 4, ii. 13), and the language in which His Incarnation is spoken of, as a manifestation in the flesh, pointing, as we have seen, to a prior existence with God (whether in person or principle), seems to account for the fact that He who was a Man has been raised to such a practical equality with God in the thought and regard of the Church.

« AnteriorContinuar »