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CONSIDERING JESUS.pdf

CONSIDERING JESUS.pdf

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY JAMES MOFFATT, B.D., D.D., D.Litt.


Consider the Apostle and High Priest of eur confession even
Jesus. — Heb. iii. i.
BY JAMES MOFFATT, B.D., D.D., D.Litt.


Consider the Apostle and High Priest of eur confession even
Jesus. — Heb. iii. i.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 07, 2013
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CONSIDERING JESUSBY JAMES MOFFATT, B.D., D.D., D.Litt.Consider the Apostle and High Priest of eur confession evenJesus. — Heb. iii. i.The Christian religion is marked off from otherfaiths by the place which it assigns to Jesus as theChrist of God. Christianity has truths in com-mon with other religions, but its distinguishingquality is the function of Jesus, who has not onlyrevealed the purpose of God finally, but realizedit in Himself, and made it possible for men toattain their divine destiny. What Jesus thoughtof God determines our faith as nothing else canever do, and what Jesus has done underlies theChristian effort and aspiration. This may soundobvious, but it is never irrelevant to the thoughtand practice of Christianity to lay stress uponHis person as the basis and security of our hope,any more than when the writer of the Epistle tothe Hebrews summoned his readers, as partakersof a heavenly callings to consider the Apostle andHigh Priest of our confession, even Jesus. AsChristians, we have our confession of faith. Butto possess a confession or creed does not neces-sarily imply that we understand its significance orappreciate adequately its bearings. Speaking of ISi6 REASONS AND REASONSthe country gentlemen under Charles the Second,and their love for the English Church, Macaulayremarks that " their love of the Church was not,
 
indeed, the effect of study or meditation. Fewamong them could have given any reason, drawnfrom Scripture or ecclesiastical history, for adher-ing to her doctrines, her ritual, or her polity; norwere they, as a class, by any means strict observersof that code of morality which is common to allChristian sects. But the experience of many agesproves that men may be ready to fight to thedeath, and to persecute without pity, for a religionwhose creed they do not understand, and whoseprecepts they habitually disobey." Whereforeconsider . . . Jesus, Unless He is assigned Histrue place by those who draw up a creed, andunless those who accept that creed realize that itinvolves a personal consideration of their Lordin His absolute significance for their own lives,the gates are opened for an inrush of aberrationsin theology and in practice.By the Apostle and High Priest of our confessionthe writer means to express the double functionof Jesus in our religion as God's messenger to us,and as our representative before Him, as the finalinterpreter of God's mind, and as the Redeemerwho, by His sacrifice, has removed the sin whichprevented His people from enjoying that un-hindered access to God which it has been the aimof all religions to provide. The great subject of CONSIDERING JESUS 17the Christian confession is the oneness of manwith God through Jesus, who has identified Him-self with our race, and who alone is competentto carry out in us the purpose of our calling.Jesus guarantees to us that goodness is not a for-lorn hope, nor a lonely enterprise. We no longerfeel any difficulty about admitting His superiority
 
in this respect to man or the angels. If we ownJesus as Lord, it is in a sense in which neitherman nor angel can ever rival Him. But it is moreeasy to admit the supremacy of Jesus as Lordthan to understand how that implies His humansympathy. To-day, as when the Epistle to theHebrews was written, it is possible to glorify thework of Christ until, in our definitions. He tendsto become more official than personal, or untilHis services are regarded as essential to someplan of salvation rather than as a true labour of love for men into which He put His very heartand soul.Whenever, in the course of Christian theology,this tendency has become dominant, the Christianinstinct has avenged itself for the injustice bybreaking out in other directions to satisfy thatpassion for a personal and humane Lord, withoutwhich no construction of the Christian religion isadequate. Thus, when the mediaeval confessionsbegan to obscure the person of Jesus with sacra-mental forms, and to obliterate His real humanityin the regal offices of providence and redemptioni8 REASONS AND REASONSwhich He was supposed to discharge ; when, asHarnack puts it, the fundamental questions of salvation were not answered in relation to Him;the heart of piety swerved under the instincts of pagan religion to the adoration of the pitifulVirgin Mary, and called upon saints, who seemedmore accessible to suffering flesh and blood thana distant, imperial Christ A similar rebound took place later, under Channing and Theodore Parker,against the impression of remoteness and heartless-ness made by the stern New England Christology.

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