Was Jesus Always Perfect?

November 24, 2010

There are plenty of verses in the Bible that we can take to mean that Jesus was perfect (“a lamb without blemish”, etc), but the Bible doesn’t say outright that Jesus was always perfect. On the contrary, Hebrews implies that Jesus was not always perfect, but rather became perfect at some point. Hebrews 5:7-9 (NIV) says:

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him

According to this passage, Jesus was not the source of salvation until after he was made perfect. This has important ramifications. It means that people who lived before Jesus was made perfect, did not have a source of salvation. Without a source of salvation during their lifetime, God’s most faithful servants, like Moses, King David, King Solomon, and the prophets, went to hell when they died. It also means that if Jesus was always God then God isn’t necessarily perfect. Alternatively, it means that Jesus wasn’t always God (because God is always perfect).

There is good evidence that the author of Hebrews didn’t believe that Jesus was God, at least not in a way that makes the Father and Jesus one and the same. Here is a good presentation of the evidence: www.prudentialpublishing.info/hebrews_view_of_Jesus.htm

Which do you think is true…

1) Jesus was always God but God can be imperfect
2) Jesus became God after he became perfect
3) Hebrews is not the Inerrant Word of God

…and why?

Advertisements

The Gift of Faith

July 5, 2008

I recently wrote about a spiritual gift test I had taken online. Besides being amused that fundamentalist Christians seem to believe that ordinary talents that we all possess are somehow supernatural gifts, I was struck by one gift in particular: the gift of faith. I thought about this when J.D., another poster on this blog, took the test and came out with a score of 0 (that’s zero: zilch! nichts! nada! zippo!) for his gift-of-faith score. According to SpiritualGiftsTest.com, the saved receive their spiritual gifts, including the gift of faith, upon salvation. They justify their claim with the following verses:

1Co 12:4-10; Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit…
For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

Rom 12:3; …God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

But wait a minute – isn’t faith required for salvation? Then how is faith one of the gifts that one receives after salvation?

It gets worse. If our faith is a gift from God, and if salvation requires faith, then those who are saved were chosen by God to be saved (just as Calvin thought). Then those of us who do not believe were not meant to believe. If God created us and we were not meant to be saved, then it was clearly God’s plan to create us for the purpose of torturing us throughout eternity for our unbelief.

One popular (if inane) chorus that Christians often chant is that it takes too much faith to be an atheist. Rather than respond with reason which all to often falls on deaf ears and sluggish intellects, we should simply quote 1Co 12:4-10 and respond: “it’s a gift from God.”


Got Faith?

June 21, 2008

Jesus is quoted in Matthew 17:20 as saying:

…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

In other words, with the tiniest amount of faith, you can move mountains. How much faith do you have? If it is even the tiniest amount, you can move a mountain! Wow! Care to give it a try?

Note that this is not testing God – certainly no one doubts that the creator of the universe would have trouble moving a mountain. This is a test for you and your faith. In 2 Corinthians 13:5-6, Paul suggests that you should indeed test your faith:

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

If you don’t have the tiniest amount of faith (you’ll know this is the case if the mountain won’t budge), there’s a simple way you can get the faith you need. Here’s how according to Romans 10:17:

…faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

If you don’t already have one, go out and pick up a Red-letter Bible to make it easier to locate the word of Christ. Have someone read his words to you – reading them for yourself might qualify but the scripture says hearing so we want to be on the safe side. It could be that any part of the Bible could technically be considered the word of Christ but I recommend you focus on the actual red-lettered words of Christ, again just to be on the safe side. OK, let’s give the “mountain test” another whirl. Any luck this time?

One problem, according to Luke 8:12, might be that:

…the devil comes and takes away the word from [your] hearts, so that [you] may not believe and be saved.

You may have to repeat the hearing-the-red-lettered-Bible step several times to replentish the word of Christ faster than the devil can take it away from your heart.

Why does it really matter if you can or can’t move the mountain? If you don’t have enough faith to move the mountain, how do you know that you have enough faith to be saved? Recall that it only takes faith as small as a mustard seed (i.e., the smallest amount) to move the mountain. How much faith did you really have that the mountain would move? I’m sure some of you actually thought that it might move, others didn’t even try because they knew that it would not.

Exactly how much faith is required for salvation?

For the record, I tried to move ant hill… it wouldn’t budge. Did anyone else have any better luck?


%d bloggers like this: