Lesson 28 - Occupation with Christ

Lesson 28 - Occupation with Christ

Lesson for July 8, 2012

Christian Integrity

Occupation with Christ

The ultimate expression of love for God is Occupation with Christ. We have studied this principle as the final problem-solving device in a list of ten for the believer.  It is important to remember that all ten devices must be continually utilized throughout the life of the believer regardless of the stage of growth.  None of us will ever be without the need for confessing our sins, the filling of the Holy Spirit, mixing our faith with the promises in God’s Word, orientation to God’s unlimited grace, orientation to more and more Bible doctrine, a personal sense of our spiritual destiny, a personal love for God, impersonal love for all people, God’s happiness as our constant companion and occupation with our Savior Jesus Christ.  This is God’s complete power system for a successful Christian life. (Philippians 1:19-21)

Learning and using this system is a matter of spiritual growth.  As we advance in the Christian Way of Life, by following God’s plan, we are able to apply God’s solutions to every challenge we face. You must do the work of study and application of Bible doctrine to use this advanced problem-solving device.  To remain in spiritual childhood is a lazy, self-defeating way of existence, robbing a believer of the fabulous, superior life that God has made available to them.  We should want to be those who can handle the “strong meat” of the Word of God.  (Hebrews 5:14) 

You become occupied with Christ when you obey the same mandates that He obeyed, concentrate on what He concentrated on (Divine Viewpoint Thinking), make positive decisions from a position of strength as He did and use the Problem-Solving Devices constantly, as He did.  Christ was our example for the execution of the Christian Way of Life: OUR PERFECT ROLE MODEL.  Therefore, it is our responsibility to learn all that we can about the Person of Christ.  We do this through the study of what is called in theology, Christology.  Christology is the study of Christ our Savior, the God-Man.  Christology is one of the most essential doctrines that we can study because it reveals to us the Person and the work of Jesus Christ on behalf of us all.  We know that the Bible is a progressive revelation of Jesus Christ and it is God’s desire that we all come to know Him.  This is why we must be consistent in studying God’s Word. (Hebrews 12:2; I John 4:2; II Timothy 2:15)

The true test of any communicator of the Word of God is found in the emphasis on Christology (the study of Christ) and the related doctrine of Soteriology (the study of salvation).  Lack of accuracy in the presentation of the Gospel indicates an imbalance theologically that is likely to carry over into all of the communicator’s teachings. This is why we are commanded to test the spirit of man (the meaning in I John 4:2).  The test of a “prophet” (communicator of the Word) is first of all: are they clear on the Gospel? When Paul was attempting to “straighten out” the church at Corinth doctrinally, he affirms to us the importance of preaching Christ and salvation accurately. (I Corinthians 1:11; Galatians 1:6-9) Let’s consider three doctrines in Christology that are essential to our spiritual life.

 

The Hypostatic Union

Jesus Christ is the unique Person of the universe.  He is the only Person in history to be both fully God and fully man.  The term for this unique union is derived from the Greek word hupostatis meaning essence.  In the case of Christ He is both divine and human essence in one Person.   He is the God-Man.  (Hebrews 1:3)

Since Christ was born of a virgin, He was born without a sin nature.  He is superior to man because He is God and because He is a sinless human being.  He was the only one qualified to be a substitute for all of us.  Even though His two natures are united in one Person, they retain their separate identities.  The attributes of one do not belong to the other.  Deity remains deity and humanity remains humanity.  Because of this unique union, Christ is the perfect mediator between God and man.  He is the only One in history qualified to go to the Cross and pay the penalty for sin.  Christ was also our prototype, in that He lived an impeccable (sinless) life under the control of God the Holy Spirit. (I Timothy 2:5)

Jesus, as a man, is seated at the right hand of the Father at this very moment.  Deity is omnipresent and does not sit; only His humanity sits.  And it is His humanity that will return to earth at the Second Coming.  Theologically we say that Jesus is undiminished deity and true humanity in One Person, forever.  He is undiminished deity in that He is as much God as the Father and the Holy Spirit in essence, attributes and character.  He is true humanity in that He possesses a body, a soul and a spirit. (Acts 5:31; Hebrews 1:3, 4:15,10:5; I Peter 2:24; Matthew 26:38; Mark 2:8; Luke 23:46; I John 3:3)

Kenosis

Christ voluntarily restricted the function of His deity.  This doctrine takes its name from the Greek word kenoo, which means to deprive oneself of a rightful function.  This doctrine explains how Christ, the creator of the universe, could leave Heaven and become a man.  II Corinthians 8:9 tells us that even though Christ was rich, for our sakes He became poor.  This is kenosis.

We must remember that Jesus Christ is coequal and coeternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.  He voluntarily subordinated Himself to the Father’s plan of salvation.  This means He also deprived Himself of the exercise of His divine attributes.  At no time did Christ “empty Himself” of His deity.  He was never less than God.  He simply restricted the use of His divine attributes voluntarily.  (Colossians 2:9) 

Jesus was born a human and had to learn the Scriptures the same way that we do, under the control and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit was the One who empowered Him and sustained Him throughout His life on earth.  As a man, Christ suffered in the same ways that we suffer but much greater, of course.  The ultimate humiliation was suffering the divine judgment from God for our sins. (Matthew 24:36; John 8:56, 16:14; Philippians 2:8)

Christ glorified the Father by executing the Father’s plan, not by glorifying Himself.  However, the limitation of kenosis ultimately glorified Christ because He was able to execute the plan perfectly, without sin.  As a testimony to the fact that God is completely satisfied with the Son, Christ is now seated at the right hand of the Father.  His impeccable life demonstrated to us the fact that we too can execute God’s plan with the empowerment of God the Holy Spirit. (John 19:30; Philippians 2:5-8)

Impeccability

Christ remained free from the three categories of sin: the sin nature, Adam’s original sin and personal sins.  The sin nature is passed down genetically from the human father, but Christ had no human father.  The virgin birth of Christ assured that He would have no sin nature. (I Corinthians 15:22)

Without a sin nature, Adam’s original sin could not be imputed to Christ since it had no home or target as it does with the rest of humanity.  Therefore, the first two categories of sin were already taken care of when He was born.  Christ was born physically and spiritually alive, whereas, we are born physically alive but spiritually dead (separated from God). (Romans 6:12)

Christ did, however, have to face the avoidance of personal sin.  As deity, He was not able to sin and as humanity, He was able not to sin.  This means that the possibility of committing personal sin existed.  Christ was tempted to sin in His humanity, not in His deity.  God cannot be tempted to sin, but Christ, as a man, could be tempted to sin.  How could Christ accomplish the amazing task of a sinless life?  The only way He succeeded in not sinning was by residing in God’s power system and relying upon the filing of God the Holy Spirit. (James 1:13; Hebrews 4:15; I John 3:5; Matthew 4:1-4)

“Able not to sin” emphasizes Christ’s free will to make the right decisions to obey God’s mandates.  Satan’s temptations of Christ were real and intense.  And remember that Christ in His humanity was personally weaker than Satan, yet He was able to resist him by the power of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 2:7)

The filling of God the Holy Spirit is much more powerful that Satan, all his demons and this world system.  Christ tested and proved the life under the filling of the Holy Spirit.  We cannot be sinless as Christ, but we can use the same power system that He used.  And God has also given us the Rebound recovery system, something that Christ did not need, in order that we might utilize this power system to our maximum advantage.  We, therefore, have no excuse for not living in the same spiritual environment in which Christ lived.  We can acquire wisdom, make good decisions from a position of strength, develop a personal sense of destiny, increase our capacity for love, happiness and blessing, have complete control over our lives and bring glory and honor to God by a life of virtue and integrity.

Conclusion

Occupation with the Person of Christ means that Jesus Christ has become your best friend.  “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)  It means that we are fully aware of Christ in every area of our lives and that we are staying in fellowship with Him a maximum amount of time.  It means that we are thinking divine viewpoint based on our knowledge of His Word and that we have no higher goal in life than to bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ in our thoughts, in our attitudes, in our words and in our actions.  Our minds are to be saturated with His mind.  The apostle Paul is a great example of a person occupied with the Person of Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 2:16; II Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 1:19-21)