Theology 101 — Jesus: The Distinctive Wordcomment (0)
January 23, 2014
By Jerry Batson
Last week these paragraphs cited John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God.” The second part of the verse contains a preposition that is pregnant with meaning. For Christ, the eternal Word, to be “with” God requires that both He and God have identifiable and distinguishable existence.
In fact, many students of language have maintained that the use of the term meaning “with” can carry the force of “face to face with.”
With such fullness of meaning, the opening sentence of the Gospel of John tells us that the eternal Christ has always been with God, while being in His own right distinct from the Father.
As people of faith, we choose to live with the truth of one God in three Persons, with the Holy Spirit rounding out the “three-ness” within the “one-ness.”
Jesus declared His individuality when He explained, “As the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself” (John 5:26).
Dare we envision eternity past as unmeasured timelessness when Father, Son and Holy Spirit enjoyed face-to-face fellowship within their essential oneness.
A kind of theological shorthand for speaking of this “with-ness” is to say that each Person of the Trinity is co-existent with the other two. As a result, the Father can be with the Son and the Son can be with the Father. Likewise, the Holy Spirit also is with the Father and with the Son.
In thinking like this, we have to be very careful not to think of three separate Gods.
As Christians, we are not polytheists — people who believe in multiple gods. We are monotheists — people who believe in one true God.
In the mystery and marvel of God who revealed Himself as holy Trinity, each divine Person of the Godhead has identifiable and distinct personhood.
This brings us back to thinking about Christ as the co-existent and thus distinctive Word. Since Christ is co-existent with the Father, we understand that God did not abandon heaven when He came among us as the man, Christ Jesus. God was in heaven, but also was “in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). We cannot explain the logic of this any more than we can explain how one God can exist in three Persons. Marvel and mystery are indeed the words that come to mind when speaking of God the Holy Trinity.
As the distinctive second Person of the Trinity, Christ declared that the Father had sent Him. Having been sent by God, Christ was found frequently talking with the Father in both public and private prayer. People heard Him assert that He came to do the will of God who sent Him saying on one occasion, “I seek not my own will but the will of Him who sent me” (John 5:30).
As the co-existent and eternal Word, Christ was with the Father from all eternity past. This being true, He came uniquely qualified to reveal God, as well as to declare God’s will for our lives. In a way that no other could ever do, Christ was able in the days of His flesh to show the world what a God-pleasing life looks like when lived in our kind of world and amid our kind of temptations.