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The Christ in Christian

(2009-10-21 minor update)
Why is it by divine inspiration that we are Christians?  Why did God not choose the already stated appellation 'Jehovah's Witnesses' found in Isaiah for the name to refer to this second nation of God's people?

God's love conditional

John tells us that God loves us because we first loved his son and obey this one.

John 14:21, ASV, He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him.

16:27,  for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father.

Christ

In many instances, our baptism is said to be into Christ.  In Acts 2:38, 8:12, 10:48, Rom 6:3, Gal 3:27 this kind of baptism is found and talked about.  There are signs that the baptism scripture in Matthew 28:19 has had its wording changed so that the Christian baptism perhaps only should be in the name of Christ.  However, since God has permitted this change to remain, it may be taken to be a relatively unimportant matter.

Here is the quote from "An American English Bible," Internet edition 2001.  It shows what these translators believe is the right reading of that scripture.  The quote is Matthew 28:19,20: "19 So, go and make disciples in all nations, baptizing in my name, – – 20 teaching them to obey all the things that I commanded you. And {Look!} I’ll be with you every day until the end of the age'."

Still, we can see how on numerous occasions we are baptized into Christ.  It is no surprise that Paul then tells us that we live and die for Christ.   An examination of verse nine below tells us clearly that the Lord in verse eight cannot be anyone but Christ himself, and not the Lord God, the Almighty, as some claim. The scriptural context itself is self-evident.  Please scrutinize the text below:
 
Romans 14:7-9, For none of us liveth to himself, and none dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again , that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
 
Verse nine clearly makes what happens in verse eight the Lord Christ's business.  This of course is collaborated by Jude who tells us that Christ is our only Lord and Owner. (NWT Wording)  The intent is quite clear.  We live and die for our Master Christ; we live to obey our Master and Lord Christ; our love of our Master Christ becomes manifest through our obedience to Christ. 

One of our examples par excellence is Paul. In Philippians 1:21, he says this, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." If Paul says this - shouldn't we have the same attitude as he in regard to whom we live for!  Some may be mystified by his "to die is gain."  If so feel free to ask me what this means.


Faith in Christ & Faith in God

John the baptizer told us he that "puts in trust with" Jesus is the one that is saved.  In John 3:36, KJV "believeth" is from the Greek #4100  pisteuo  (pist-yoo'-o from 4102) in Strong's Greek dictionary.  The quote is "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." Here we should not forget that this was spoken to Jews who already believed firmly in God, the Almighty.  When John urges us to put trust with Jesus, faith in him, to believe in him, this is in addition to faith in God.

John demonstrates that our salvation depends then on the arrangement that God willed through Jesus – that only by putting our faith in Jesus and obeying him, as it says in 3:36, will we obtain salvation.  In that way our faith in God has been qualified and refined.  It is now faith in God for sure, but this is demonstrated by our obedience to his son, faith in his son, love of his son, and all that that one commands us to do.  We are constantly reminded of this duality of faith on numerous occasions in the scripture.  (John 6:40, 7:37,38)  Jesus is our living bread that gives us life if we are obedient in faith.  Jesus is the resurrection and life.  (11:25)

The emphasis on Jesus, the centering of our faith on him versus the Father is strong.  In chapter 14, Jesus tells us that because he and the Father are one, those putting faith in Jesus will do works beyond what Jesus have done and continue this work that he began.  In 14:14, even the study edition of the NWT has a footnote showing that a rendering of this appropriately is "ask me."  Here are the two sentences next to each other so that you may know both:

ASV: 14 If ye shall ask anything in my name, that will I do.  (The gist in the NWT's primary rendering is similar to the ASV)
DRC & others:  14 If you shall ask me any thing in my name, that I will do.

Frankly, the latter sentence makes more sense because Jesus promises to listen to the request in his name and to carry out what is requested himself.  But the point being made is that Christ and the Christian must have a personal relationship and interchange. That the Christian is powered by Jesus chapter fifteen demonstrates uniquely by an image of a tree. Jesus is the tree; we are the branches, and unless we remain in union with Jesus, be one with Jesus, we cannot bear fruit. If that happens, the trash-heap and its fire awaits us. Christians must be powered by Christ who of course is powered by God.  Nonetheless, we are not powered by God, but by Christ.

Balance

Because God works through Christ who has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, it is important not to dismiss God from the equation.  We must honor both equally as we are told here in John 5:23: (ASV) "that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father that sent him."

What about our preaching for our own salvation and that of others?  What is the message we are supposed to preach?

When we carefully read Romans 10:9-17,
the balance is seen, but with focus on Christ.   As usual, it is so easy to focus on our own salvation in verses 10-17 of Romans chapter 10 and forget the initial statement about what we preach in verse 9.  Though, what does verse 9 stress?  Here is the ASV quote, " 9  because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." 

What is the focusThat Jesus is our Lord and that he was raised from the dead by our God.  This dualism in our faith is unavoidable and we must try to honor both according to the message we find transmitted to us. 

Above, Paul emphasized the confession of Jesus.  The apostle John in Revelation 12:17 does the same and shows whom we give witness about by saying (Rev 12:17, Rotherham) "And the dragon was angered against the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed—with them who were keeping the commandments of God, and holding the witness of Jesus;—and he stood upon the sand of the sea."   Likewise there are many instances where the gospel of Christ is mentioned as what we teach and preach.  In Matthew 28:20, Jesus himself tells us that we must teach others his commandments so that they may obey these so that such ones may be saved through Christ.

Again the duality of God and his Christ, his son Jesus, is emphasized.  We are bearing witness to Jesus Christ, to his teachings, to his ransom, to his existence.  Above in John 14:21, we were told ot obey Jesus' commandments; here in Revelation 12:17, it says God's.  The point is clear.  Jesus gave us God's commandments, but we preach Christ - obey Jesus our Master, our Lord. God works through Christ, only through Christ; Christ bears witness through us.

On this page
No Other Name many important scriptures may be found about Christ and the balance between God and Christ.  I suggest reading the book of Acts to see how much God was in the minds and also how much Christ was emphasized by the Christians at that time.
   Here is a brief and most likely incomplete list of things said about Christ: (if I have forgotten things, feel welcome to tell me)

  1. he is the son of God
  2. he is son of man who came down from heaven (my wording)
  3. he is our high priest and God's primary apostle sent out by God himself (Letter of Hebrews) 
  4. if united with Christ, we are one with him in spirit, and our bodies are members of Christ himself (1 Cor 6)
  5. he is the head of the church and the head of man
  6. he cares and feeds the church, etc (Eph 5:29,30)
  7. he forgives sins if warranted
  8. he is the living bread
  9. he is the resurrection who himself promises to do the resurrection of the approved!
  10. he sends forth his angels (angels are now said to be his)
  11. anyone believing in Christ receives eternal life (conditional)
  12. anyone obeying Christ receives eternal life
  13. Christ is the judge - he does all the judging (he decides who lives and who dies)
  14. to him all knees should bow
  15. his name is the most exalted (except for God's own)
  16. to Christ all things have been subjected (except God himself)
  17. no salvation in anyone but Christ (kind of stated already)
  18. Christ intercedes on behalf of us and thereby saves us
  19. he is the mediator, the way, the truth, and life
  20. for Christ we suffer
  21. for Christ we live and die (Romans 14:7-9, Phil 1:21)
  22. if we lose our life for Christ we will be assured of eternal life (not for God – got that?)
  23. we don't worship Christ, but honor him (God is worshipped. This is a question of understanding)
  24. Christ rewards each person for his doings, not God (because God is working through Christ)
  25. he that loves Christ will because of this be loved by God
  26. Christ is the Lord of the living and the dead  
  27. we may and should pray not only to God, but also to Christ
  28. we must love Christ our Lord or as Paul says, "be cursed." (1 Cor  16:22) with an undying love (Eph 6:24, NIV wording)
  29. we should awake from being dead (in trespasses) so that Christ may shine on us (Eph 5:14)
  30. we should be in fear of Christ (Eph 5:21, NWT, ASV, DRC, Darby wording, not NIV)
  31. be slaves of Christ (Eph 6:5)
  32. help was given by the spirit of Christ (Phil 1:19)we must preach that Jesus is our Lord to be saved (and that God raised him, Rom 10:9)
 
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