How to Kill Your Christian Joy and Assurance

Want to kill your Christian joy and assurance of salvation? Believe your Christian adverbs. (Adverbs modify verbs, e.g. “slowly running.”) Become a pietist.

When we use and believe our own adverbs to describe our response to the gospel, we are in for a terrible ride. Adverbs are the lazy man’s crutch in literature – like puffs of smoke blown in the eyes to obscure the embarrassing white bones of skeletal essays.

Think of it – instead of “Napolean won victories across Europe, stretching all the way around the Mediterranean into Africa,” now the student needs a bigger word count and writes “Napolean brutally won victories across Europe, vigorously stretching his armies all the way around…” you see the point. Adverbs embellish and spruce things up. They can also beguile us when we use them to strengthen the appearance of our actions before a holy God. 

In Christian piety, when we use (and believe in our use of) adverbs to describe things like repentance, worship, confession, obedience, and others, we set ourselves up for either a staggering heart of pride, or a desolate heart of doubt.

Danger! Keep Right of Yellow Line!

On Christian adverbs, Dr. Rod Rosenbladt of Concordia University in Irvine, California, in borrowing from fellow Lutheran Norman Nagel, described them as the great enemies of the Gospel of Christ. Indeed.

Look at the issue: when was the last time, Christian, that you repented of your sins? Hopefully today – even just now. But what if I asked you when the last time was you repented “sincerely” of your sins?

We’ve just split into two camps: some of you immediately began answering back that you repent “sincerely” as much as possible, that you are a heartfelt Christian, and that you are very serious about repentance from sin. At this the rest of us look on with jealousy and awe. We applaud your sincerity and piety. You’re steering into oncoming traffic.Head on collision

Danger! Keep Left of White Line!

The others of you, like me, would have to be honest in answering, “I’m not sure the last time I repented… “sincerely.” For us in this second group, we know something of our own hearts. We know the sneaky, slithering sinfulness nested deep within our hearts – that sinfulness which corrupts our repentance. It corrupts our prayers. It corrupts our good works. It corrupts everything. And we know this – we mourn over this (Matt. 5:4).

And we are called to know this. Knowing the laxity of our repentance is freedom from pride, and dependence on Christ the Savior for His mercy. We are called to know the half-heartedness of our worship. I mean, who in their right mind actually means it when they sing to God

I will give You all my worship, I will give You all my praise, You alone, I long to worship, You alone, are worthy of my praise!

Riiiiight. You’re the first one in history to reach those heights, compadre.

We must test ourselves before God,

and when we do, we must find that we have not kept up our end of the bargain with God. He created us, gave us this earth, all its blessings, and our lives. He gives us food, air, water, and for many of us, luxuries beyond the imagination of most of the rest of humankind.

And He gave us His Son Jesus. Not just as a distant, abstract concept, but in the flesh. Jesus became a Man for YOU. He became a Man to redeem us from our sin and enmity with God. He died in our place, under the wrath of God the Father… for YOU. In YOUR place. Out of love. And He rose from the dead on that Sunday, conquering death for YOU, dear Christian – delivering the promise of forgiveness of sins and eternal life for ALL who merely trust in Him with repentant hearts.

And what have you done for HIM lately? (God help you if that’s a line you hear your pastor thunder out from the pulpit). Friends, the true answer is… not much. Or maybe, nothing. How does Jesus tell us to think of ourselves when we have obeyed Him?

…when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, ‘We are good-for-nothing slaves; we’ve only done our duty. (Luke 17:10 HCSB)

It is pure fantasy to believe that our works of piety; our obedience to His commands, our “sincere” repentance, or any other act of response to God is anything like what it should be. God, in His infinite majesty and glory, is not actually bettered by the service of human hands!

The Smart Guys Fall for It!

The Westminster Confession of faith is a magnificent achievement of Protestant theology – forged in the academic heights of the Puritan glory days of the mid-seventeenth century. Yet look here at their language in describing the effects of election upon the saved person:

So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel. [W.C.F. VII, 6.021]

Abundant consolation… to whom? “To all that sincerely obey the gospel.” So then, who gets consolation? Nobody. Nobody, that is, who knows their own heart.

And to be fair to the Reformed, the Lutherans are guilty too. I’ve visited a conservative Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) the last couple of weekends, and sure enough, the confession and absolution in the liturgy has us reciting

I, a poor, miserable sinner, confess unto You all my sins and iniquities with which I have ever offended You and justly deserve Your temporal and eternal punishment. But I am heartily sorry for them and sincerely repent of them… [L.S.B. 184]

Really now? Am I even able to know all my sins, let alone confess them heartily, and sincerely repent? The introspective Christian will soon fall into a fearful doubting of their salvation, for these adverbs describe someone whose piety is nothing short of miraculous.

But But, Doesn’t the Bible Say…

Now some of you know your Bibles, and are thinking of certain passages that speak of our “sincere love of the brethren” (1 Pet. 1:22), and even of Jesus’ warning in Matthew 18:35 that we will not be forgiven if we do not forgive our brother… “from the heart” – or as we say, “sincerely.”

I hear these passages too, and must wrestle them in my adverb-prone, wanna-be piety. Am I forgiving my brothers “from my heart?” Probably not, or at least not all the time, perfectly, without flaw. Yes, I forgive. Yes, I love the brethren – even sincerely – but the point of these and other passages is not to call our attention to our own degree of piety and perfection in our performance. These calls to inward sincerity and even perfection are there because God can command nothing less. His pure and perfect nature necessitates His commands to us be pure and perfect – even superfluously pure.

The Ultimate Standard

As Jesus was wrapping up section one of His Sermon on the Mount, He declares “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48 NKJV). How you doing on that? The reality for the Christian is that we live in tension, falling short of the Law of God and His holy perfection, and our full, complete acceptance by Him because of Christ. There is nothing of ourselves added into our plea before God. It is not “Jesus lived and died for me, and then I did everything I could to live for you” – can I say this? HELL NO. Pun intended.

Rather than that, it is “Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling.”

The Christian life is a massive struggle to rest. It’s a paradox, striving to rest… in the striving and works of Christ on our behalf. Striving to believe God’s Word about His Son and His gospel. The only way any of us will be counted as being perfect, just as our Father in heaven is perfect, is by having trusted in the gospel of Christ, and having therefore rested our adverb-prone piety at the foot of a bloody, splintered cross.

We are only able to begin to obey the Lord out of a place of sincere self-knowledge. I’m totally unable to forgive people sincerely – I need the grace of the Holy Spirit to enable this act, only made possible by having eyes on Jesus; His forgiveness of me, His pure love, His absolute graciousness to His people…

As go our adverbs, so go our trust and faith

The only adverbs we can believe in concerning this Christian life describe the fullness of our sinfulness and neediness, and on the other side, the perfection of God’s work on our behalf. I fully need the forgiveness of God. He sincerely forgives me for Christ’s sake.

If we begin to describe ourselves with adverbs of positive fullness (which should be reserved for describing God alone), our trust and faith is inadvertently placed in ourselves, and our assurance and joy will die with our realization of how insincere and half-hearted our repentance and faith truly are. WATCH OUT!

Repent of your adverbs describing yourself in positive fullness, friends. Trust in Christ alone for your needed standing before God. He justifies fully. He is enough.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

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Jesus’ Arms Outstretched: Tuesdays with Uncle Athanasius

Athanasius 5, Heretics 0

Athanasius 5, Heretics 0

Athanasius (c.297-373), my favorite early church father, fought heretics with all of his soul. I am brought to tears reading his glorious writings. Please indulge with me each Tuesday as we sit at the feet of our forefather in the faith – a warrior for Christ who relentlessly pursued truth in all the churches. I’ve been posting quotes from his magnum opus “On the Incarnation of the Word” each Tuesday so far. Please check out the past posts – they really are awesome to get into.

Uncle Ath?

Yes kids?

Do you see any significance in the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross as He died?

Well…

…If any honest Christian wants to know why He suffered death on the cross and not in some other way, we answer thus: in no other way was it expedient for us, indeed the Lord offered for our sakes the one death that was supremely good. He had come to bear the curse that lay on us; and how could He “become a curse” otherwise than by accepting the accursed death? And that death is the cross, for it is written “Cursed is every one that hangs on tree.”

Again, the death of the Lord is the ransom of all, and by it “the middle wall of partition” is broken down and the call of the Gentiles comes about.

How could He have called us if He had not been crucified, for it is only on the cross that a man dies with arms outstretched? Here, again, we see the fitness of His death and of those outstretched arms: it was that He might draw His ancient people with the one and the Gentiles with the other, and join both together in Himself.

My favorite uncle.

A little allegorical, yes, but wow – think of the image painted there. The Word of God made flesh, a perfect Man – perfect in love, grace, and purity – being murdered ruthlessly and with mockery. He was suffering not only the incredible pains of torture, but also the shame of nakedness and disfigurement before His nation… and in the midst of this, His arms pinned to the wood, He was calling His Jewish family to Him with one bleeding hand, and His Gentile flock with the other, carrying each of us down into His death with Him so that we might rise again with Him in His resurrection.

Meditate, my friends. Before you go off to the next thing, meditate.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Athanasius, On the Incarnation, chap. 4, sec. 25, http://www.ccel.org.

Meeting God: Valley of Vision Prayer

Sometimes I have trouble praying as I ought – but often I turn to the Valley of Vision for help in getting my engine started. One of Christianity’s greatest books from the past 2,000 years, VoV would be my second book choice if stranded on a desert island, right after the Bible, and right before The Existence and Attributes of God by Stephen Charnock. Oh, those Puritans.

Valley of Vision Prayer

Take a moment and pray this prayer with me, and with the millions of saints who have prayed it before us. A prayer of thirsting for the Living God; for His love and tender touch, for His forgiveness and help in prayer.

Great God, in public and private, in sanctuary and home, may my life be steeped in prayer, filled with the spirit of grace and supplication, each prayer perfumed with the incense of atoning blood. Help me, defend me, until from praying ground I pass to the realm of unceasing praise. Urged by my need, invited by Thy promises, called by Thy Spirit, I enter Thy presence, worshipping Thee with godly fear, awed by Thy majesty, greatness, glory, but encouraged by Thy love.

I am all poverty as well as all guilt, having nothing of my own with which to repay Thee, but I bring Jesus to Thee in the arms of faith, pleading His righteousness to offset my iniquities, rejoicing that He will weigh down the scales for me, and satisfy thy justice. I bless Thee that great sin draws out great grace, that, although the least sin deserves infinite punishment because done against an infinite God, yet there is mercy for me, for where guilt is most terrible, there Thy mercy in Christ is most free and deep.

Bless me by revealing to me more of His saving merits, by causing Thy goodness to pass before me, by speaking peace to my contrite heart; strengthen me to give Thee no rest until Christ shall reign supreme within me in every thought, word, and deed, in a faith that purifies the heart, overcomes the world, works by love, fastens me to Thee, and ever clings to the cross.

Thanks for praying with me,

-Justin

Valley of Vision

Matt Chandler – The Explicit Gospel: Saturday Theovideo

Matt Chandler, Pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, Texas, is a gospel-centered and passionate preacher of the Word of God. While I have been seriously disappointed in some of the associations in the Evangelical world that Matt has chosen to keep, his gospel preaching has remained strong. This video is his topical presentation for the release of his book The Explicit Gospel, Crossway 2012.

This is the raw rebuke of American Evangelicalism that is needed. The gospel of Christ is being forgotten and buried under a mound of moralism, self-righteousness, and even post-modern autonomy. Pastor Chandler does a great job of engaging his listeners, and relating to the young adult crowd who has mostly left the Christian church in America. I would take issue with certain terms that Matt uses, but overall he always hits the bullseye. Check this out, and share with a friend.

Grace to you,

-Justin

Poetic, Prophetic King David and Blind (Tour) Guides: Prophesy Fridays

I am pretty sure the internet is devoid of commentary on prophecy (that’s sarcasm, folks), so I’d better throw in a dash of yellow-hot, mind-blowing prophetic power to light up your life.

Scotch Bonnet

The reality is, I say that at the beginning of every “Prophesy Friday” because I’m aiming to counteract some of the atrocious sea of false prophecy and sensationalism out there. If these posts are a blessing to you, please consider sharing them with a friend.

…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev. 19:10

Let’s strengthen our mutual faith together, brothers and sisters. Foresight and clarity of Bible prophecy is one of (if not the) greatest means of growing in our faith in the true God. Today we’re going to look at the prophetic power of Psalm 110, one of the most oft quoted Psalms in the New Testament, and one that Jesus Himself used to identify Himself as the Messiah and God. Prophetic pepper. But my friend in Israel didn’t really agree.

He was a soldier in the 1967 6-day war between the teenage State of Israel and her fierce Arab enemies all around. He’s been a champion of his nation, and a believer in all things Jewish since his boyhood. My tour guide through Israel knew his way around the nation, and he had a passion for her every nook and cranny.

Meet Meyil.

Israeli Tour Guide Meyil

At one of the stations of the cross, traditionally where Jesus stumbled while bearing his cross to Golgotha. The photograph is itself a picture of how close most Jews are to the truth, yet turned away looking elsewhere. Jerusalem 2009

As we puttered around Israel in our air-conditioned van, Meyil pulled the steel arm of the microphone down to his mouth over and over.

“This is called ‘Magdala’.

“Over dere is called ‘Waddi’ dat de ancient people walked from town to de other side of de mountains to de other town to visit de relatives.”

“Here Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.”

And all the way around the country we went – Caesaria, Haifa, Ptolemais, Galilee, Golan Heights, West Bank, Dead Sea, Qumran, Jerusalem, and more. It was a fantastic time, made all the better for our tiny tour group because not only was Meyil an expert in the history of his nation, but he also had studied the New Testament at university. He proudly filled in details of every place we went, not only from his own Jewish history, but reverently took off his hat in every Roman Catholic shrine and Christian holy place. I hung on his every word as we walked across the temple mount together, and watched him out of the corner of my eye as the British fellow at the Garden Tomb exuberantly described the historical meaning of Jesus’ resurrection.

During one of our outings – it happened to be in John the Baptist’s hometown – I walked next to Meyil and asked him questions about his life and background. He talked about his time in the military, his schooling, his perspective on Iran and the Palestinians, and of course, on the New Testament and Jesus. Anticipating my evangelistic move, Meyil cut off a question of mine, seeing where I was going – “God is good to us all, and for Him, to try… is enough.” There was his theology. To try is enough for God – to be a good Jewish boy or Christian boy. I walked beside my friend, silenced by the finality of his declaration.

When Israel’s Greatest King Spoke of Jesus

David was the man after God’s own heart. We also know that when David waxed poetic and wrote his Psalms, it was the Holy Spirit speaking through him, just as Peter preached

Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus (Acts 1:16 ESV).

So David wrote his Psalms according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Peter later confirms this idea of divine inspiration when he writes

 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).

David was not only Israel’s greatest king, he was also a prophet. Ironically, David prophesied most often about his own descendant, Jesus of Nazareth – and yet my tour guide, as educated in New Testament as he was, as respectful to Christianity as he was, stumbled at this point.

In the southern end of the Old City of Jerusalem, we walked the narrow streets of what is called “the City of David,” otherwise known as the hill of Zion. Meyil pointed and flourished upon every rock and stone, telling of the history of Suleiman the Great, the Turkish ruler who rebuilt the walls of the Old City, and how in the City of David we would see the so-called tomb of David. Outside of the tomb, I noticed the defaced statue of King David,

King David Jerusalem

playing his harp as usual. Here Meyil talked about David; who he was, and how he remains Israel’s most celebrated figure – the founder of Jerusalem as the capital and all. But then he said something that threw me for a loop.

David was many things, but a prophet he was not.

I spoke up immediately, almost on accident: “David was a great prophet, Meyil. He wrote beautiful prophecies…”

“No,” he cut me off, “he did not write prophecy. Let us move on to de tomb” he said, turning to walk onward. I was stunned. Not a prophet? How could he say that? My mind raced to the Scriptures: Psalm 2, 22-24, 40, and so many more speak so clearly of… oooohhh, right. Of Jesus. That’s why Meyil rejected his greatest king as a prophet, because David was constantly writing about his own son Jesus, and no one who rejects the Lordship of Jesus could accept David’s testimony of Him.

Psalm 110 and Jesus’ Puzzling Question

Jesus was nearing the end of His time on earth, less than a week from His crucifixion. The Pharisees had badgered Him and hounded Him for years, and Jesus had just about had it (read Matthew 23 to see what He thought of them). At the end of Matthew 22, Jesus takes a turn asking a question to them:

What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He? (Matt. 22:42 NKJV)

That word Christ, from the Hebrew, means “Messiah” – Jesus was asking the Pharisees a grade-school question. Whose son is the Messiah? Any Jewish toddler could have answered between suckles at momma’s breast.

They said to Him, “The Son of David.”

OK Jesus, we’ll play your game. We’ll feed you the obvious answer… now what’s the punchline?

Yes, they were in for a punchline. Thinking they knew their Scriptures, that they had turned them in and turned them out and turned them into sauer kraut, they had yet missed the central, unifying figure of the entire Bible: the Man asking them the question. There is no irony in all of literature like this moment. He then delivers the goods:

How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:

‘Yahweh said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool’?”

First Jesus notes the divine inspiration of the text of Psalm 110:1, David calls Him “Lord” in the Spirit.

Second, whoever this Lord is, David sees Him seated at the right hand of Yahweh… the checkmate comes:

If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?

In other words, riddle me this, Batman: If all of us scholarly Jews agree that Psalm 110 is referring to the Messiah, as we do, and the Messiah is David’s son, as He is, then how is it David calls Him ‘Lord,’ as in, “my Lord and my God”… ? Jesus had delivered the bomb into the house, and the eyes of every Pharisee had just watched the fuse disappear into the explosive head – kaboom, friends. Kaboom, Meyil. Kaboom, world. The Messiah is also the Lord of heaven, the Messiah is a divine Son – yet also a human being… all there in Psalm 110, all written by David His ancestor 1,000 years before His virgin birth.

So what did the great scholarly Pharisees reply to this explosion of prophetic grace?

And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore (Matt. 22:46).

Oh, well pardon me. Cat got your tongues, boys? No wonder they murdered Him – He looked them in the eye, claimed to be the fulfillment of their Scriptures, and made them silent fools in front of their nation.

What About You?

Have you bowed the knee to the Man Jesus Christ? He is the fulfillment of all Scripture; the meaning of life is found in Him. He is the Creator of the cosmos, and the King of eternity. He is Wonderful… and He bowed His own royal head in death to purchase the forgiveness of sins for you. Believe it.

I will leave us this week with the full, glorious text of Psalm 110 – a sort of autobiographical sketch of the God-Man Messiah Jesus. Grace to you all who love Him.

1 Yahweh says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

Yahweh sends forth from Zion
your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your enemies!
Your people will offer themselves freely
on the day of your power,
in holy garments;
from the womb of the morning,
the dew of your youth will be yours.
Yahweh has sworn
and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek.”

Yahweh is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
He will execute judgment among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs
over the wide earth.
He will drink from the brook by the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.

I pray that Meyil, and every Jew would see the true King of Israel.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

A Grand Piece of Spiritual Yum – Gregory Nazianzen

You’ll want a fork, knife, and napkin for this one. From Gregory Naziazen, a fourth-century theologian from Cappadocia. In defending the deity and ministry of the blessed Lamb of God against the heresies of the Arians, he wrote:

Gregory-Naziazen

He was born—but He had been begotten:  He was born of a woman—but she was a Virgin.  The first is human, the second Divine.  In His Human nature He had no Father, but also in His Divine Nature no Mother.  Both these belong to Godhead.  He dwelt in the womb—but He was recognized by the Prophet, himself still in the womb, leaping before the Word, for Whose sake He came into being.  He was wrapped in swaddling clothes—but He took off the swathing bands of the grave by His rising again.  He was laid in a manger—but He was glorified by Angels, and proclaimed by a star, and worshiped by the Magi.

. . . He was driven into exile into Egypt—but He drove away the Egyptian idols.  He had no form nor comeliness in the eyes of the Jews—but to David He is fairer than the children of men.  And on the Mountain He was bright as the lightning, and became more luminous than the sun, initiating us into the mystery of the future.

He was baptized as Man—but He remitted sins as God—not because He needed purificatory rites Himself, but that He might sanctify the element of water.  He was tempted as Man, but He conquered as God; yea, He bids us be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world.  He hungered—but He fed thousands; yea, He is the Bread that giveth life, and That is of heaven.  He thirsted—but He cried, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.

Yea, He promised that fountains should flow from them that believe.  He was wearied, but He is the Rest of them that are weary and heavy laden. He was heavy with sleep, but He walked lightly over the sea. He rebuked the winds, He made Peter light as he began to sink. He pays tribute, but it is out of a fish; yea, He is the King of those who demanded it.  He is called a Samaritan and a demoniac;—but He saves him that came down from Jerusalem and fell among thieves; the demons acknowledge Him, and He drives out demons and sinks in the sea legions of foul spirits, and sees the Prince of the demons falling like lightning.

He is stoned, but is not taken.  He prays, but He hears prayer.  He weeps, but He causes tears to cease.  He asks where Lazarus was laid, for He was Man; but He raises Lazarus, for He was God. He is sold, and very cheap, for it is only for thirty pieces of silver; but He redeems the world, and that at a great price, for the Price was His own blood.  As a sheep He is led to the slaughter, but He is the Shepherd of Israel, and now of the whole world also.  As a Lamb He is silent, yet He is the Word, and is proclaimed by the Voice of one crying in the wilderness.  He is bruised and wounded, but He healeth every disease and every infirmity.

He is lifted up and nailed to the Tree, but by the Tree of Life He restoreth us; yea, He saveth even the Robber crucified with Him; yea, He wrapped the visible world in darkness.  He is given vinegar to drink mingled with gall.  Who?  He who turned the water into wine, who is the destroyer of the bitter taste, who is Sweetness and altogether desire.  He lays down His life, but He has power to take it again; and the veil is rent, for the mysterious doors of Heaven are opened; the rocks are cleft, the dead arise.  He dies, but He gives life, and by His death destroys death.  He is buried, but He rises again; He goes down into Hell, but He brings up the souls; He ascends to Heaven, and shall come again to judge the quick and the dead…

Catch your breath, and worship our Lord.

Thanks for reading,

-Adam

Gregory Nazianzen, The Third Theological Oration: On the Son, NPNF2-7, sec. 19-20, http://www.ccel.org.

Christ on the Cross was God Crucified: Tuesdays with Uncle Athanasius

AthanasiusAthanasius (c.297-373), my favorite early church father, fought heretics with all of his soul. I am brought to tears reading his glorious writings. Please indulge with me each Tuesday as we sit at the feet of our forefather in the faith – a warrior for Christ who relentlessly pursued truth in all the churches.

Uncle Ath?

Yes, kids?

Was it wise of the Father to let His Son Jesus be publicly humiliated and crucified? Did it really prove anything?

Well,

All these things the Savior thought fit to do, so that, recognizing His bodily acts as works of God, men who were blind to His presence in creation might regain knowledge of the Father. For, as I said before, who that saw His authority over evil spirits and their response to it could doubt that He was, indeed, the Son, the Wisdom and the Power of God? Even the very creation broke silence at His behest and, marvelous to relate, confessed with one voice before the cross, that monument of victory, that He Who suffered thereon in the body was not man only, but Son of God and Savior of all.

The sun veiled his face, the earth quaked, the mountains were rent asunder, all men were stricken with awe. These things showed that Christ on the cross was God, and that all creation was His slave and was bearing witness by its fear to the presence of its Master.

Thus, then, God the Word revealed Himself to men through His works. We must . . . consider the end of His earthly life and the nature of His bodily death. This is, indeed, the very center of our faith, and everywhere you hear men speak of it; by it, too, no less than by His other acts, Christ is revealed as God and Son of God.

My favorite uncle…

1,700 years later, the crucified Man who is God is still the very center of our faith – timeless, objective, and powerful. Be sure to meditate on these things without ceasing, my friends.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Athanasius, On the Incarnation, chap. 4, sec. 19, http://www.ccel.org.