Thursday, November 24, 2011

Some Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Phil Johnson reminds us that Truly giving thanks to God will kill a lot of sins and wasting of time.
" Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving." Ephesians 5:4
Thankfulness is evidence of the new self
A truly grateful heart and attitude and expressing it are part of the new self, which we are to keep "putting on". See Colossians 3:10-17
The real reason . . . for thanksgiving
By working diligently through Philippians 2:1-11, we see the greatness of the incarnation and the humility of the eternal Son, the equality He had with God the Father, and the equality believers have with each other and so are called to humble ourselves and serve one another in love.
Four main points that stuck out to me:
1. The context of church unity (Phil. 2:1-4) and love and the equality of the believers and the exhortation to be humble and serve one another in verses 1-4 is key to interpreting verses 5-11 properly. Since the believers are equal, then the Son and the Father are equal, otherwise the passage would not make sense in the command to humility in verses 1-4 by illustrating it by the humility of the Son, since He was equal with the Father.
2. The parallel between the humility of the believers to one another in verses 1-4 and the humility of Jesus to the Father, in verses 5-8. (in humility consider one another more important than yourselves” (vs. 3) and “He did not consider equality with God the Father a thing to be held on to” (v. 6).
If Jesus is not equal with the Father, then the passage has no meaning, because if Jesus is just a creature, an exalted being, as the Unitarians say, then it is not humility for Him to “not regard equality with God a thing to be held on to at all costs”. “If Jesus was something else, if he comes into existence in a point in time; a creature, not eternal; then how could it be humility? . . . It’s not humility, its simple obedience, to not seek to be equal with God. For any created thing to even consider to be equal with God is blasphemy, it’s pure sin; its foolishness; it’s idiocy. It would be like the lump trying to say, “I am going to become the Potter. “
“that is not humility, that is just not committing blasphemy”.
“It is not humility for even the greatest creature”
“This is not Nicea, this is not some post-biblical development; It is this very stuff [biblical material and exegesis] that forced Nicea and Constantinople and Chalcedon.” James White
3. The Greek word, ‘εαυτου, "himself”, a reflexive pronoun, that is used twice – verses 7-8 – “He emptied Himself”; “He humbled Himself” – that the eternal Son who existed in the form of God, humbled Himself and emptied Himself, becoming a man – this is amazing love and an amazing message and truth. The incarnation; the crucifixion; - I stand in awe and amazement!
The Unitarians, since they don’t believe in the Deity of Christ or the eternality of the Son, they are stuck with “he was emptied” – “he is still a creature”, “and God gave something that He created”. “They are stuck with a God who does less than Abraham”; “thank God for the epsilon”. (ε) James White
Dr. White’s reminder to believers to be thankful for the ‘εαυτου (he-autou) was a good exhortation for the celebration of the thanksgiving holidays. Be thankful for the true God, the eternal Son, the eternal Word, who humbled Himself and became a man, and who humbled Himself and allowed Himself to be killed on a cross. “Not just any death, but a humiliating death, the lowest of the low kind of execution.” Wow!
The emptying is a positive act of adding a human nature. He existed in the form (morphe- μορφη ) of God and took the form (μορφη – morphe) of a slave.
4. The quote from Isaiah 45:23 and the equation of Jesus with "Yahweh" (Lord) - “that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” – Philippians 2:10-11. This is also an amazing thought, and the quote from Isaiah 45:23 shows that Jesus is Yahweh, The Lord, יהוה
"The problem the Unitarians have is a parallel to the same problem the Muslims have, because the angels are commanded to bow down before Adam. Iblis ( ابلیس - the Devil, from diabolos) does not bow down to Adam. But Islam cannot really explain why the angels are commanded to bow down to Adam. It seems like worship, as kissing the black stone in the Kaaba also seems like some kind of idolatrous act, even though Muslims claim it is not." (summary of Dr. White's thoughts, not exact quote)
"Why do you worship Jesus? The only answer the Unitarian can give is because God just tells them to."
There is a direct parallel of the worship of Yahweh, the Lord, in Isaiah 45:21-23, with Jesus as Lord in Philippians 2:10-11."
21 “Declare and set forth your case; 
Indeed, let them consult together. 
Who has announced this from of old? 
Who has long since declared it? 
Is it not I, the LORD (Yahweh – יהוה ) ? 
And there is no other God besides Me, 
A righteous God and a Savior; 
There is none except Me. 

22 “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; 
For I am God, and there is no other. 

23 “I have sworn by Myself, 
The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness 
And will not turn back, 
That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. 

24 “They will say of Me, ‘Only in the LORD (יהוה ) are righteousness and strength.’
Isaiah 45:21-24a
In Isaiah chapters 40-48 especially, the oneness of God is affirmed; monotheism. But also . . .
In Philippians 2, the Trinity is affirmed, because the Deity of Christ is affirmed. (Philippians 2:5-11)
The Incarnation is affirmed. Philippians 2:5-8
The Crucifixion and atonement is affirmed. (Phil 2:8)
The God of the Bible humbled Himself! Wow!
Therefore, we should strive to live in humility and love and serve one another. (Philippians 2:1-4)
God made Himself nothing in the incarnation and crucifixion – the real reason for thanksgiving is His condescension, His humility, His coming and giving Himself for us to save us.
Lord, teach us to be grateful for these great blessings! And start with me!

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