Pt. 6 Ch. 1. Is Christ Truly God: The Doctrines That Divide By Erwin Lutzer (NKJV)

October 22, 2018

Arius

The author of The Doctrines That Divide made an interesting statement in the introduction of his book, and I would like to bring it back to our attention. He was quoting a friend who said, “God’s sheep cannot tell the difference between grass and Astroturf!” In my own words, either you are feeding on The Word of God, or you are feeding on religion. Some of us will read that statement and think, “That cannot possibly mean me, can it?” On the other hand, some will have the good sense to say “ouch”! Moreover, make the necessary changes in your spiritual diet. Do not be stubborn and stiff-necked about it.

Hebrews 5: 13 “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of [b]use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Those who think that they cannot be dining on Astroturf are usually Christians who have been involved with the church all their lives. Alternatively, maybe they are completely dependent upon what they have learned in seminaries. The refusal to admit that we could be wrong is much like the attitude of the prodigal son. Not the one who squandered all of his inheritance with riotous living? Preachers will usually focus more on him for pet sermons on salvation. However, if we would dig a little deeper, we would see this son’s experiences brought him to his knees. Jesus wanted us to see how his experiences caused him to develop into a mature man. Real men will always be willing to admit that they are wrong and accept correction; he humbled himself. On the other hand, the son who stayed at home and worked the land doing everything right thought his relationship with his father was all about works. That is the religious spirit. Remember how he threw a temper tantrum like a child. You see the latter refused to humble himself and admit that he needed a change of attitude.

In the previous post, we looked at opposing views regarding the deity of Christ. A presbyter from Alexandria by the name of Arius took Origen’s (250 A.D.) view a little further. Origen believed that Christ had a different essence than that of God the Father. Therefore, based on that rationale, Arius concluded, if the Son had a different essence than that of the Father, it would be logical to say that Christ was a created being. If you believe that God the Father created Christ, then you are dining on Astroturf. I get no joy in telling you that. Arius asserted; “And from this it was evident, that there was a time when the Son was not”.

Many others clung to Arius’s beliefs. He taught that God created the Son out of nothing. Therefore, the Son was God’s first creation. This was acceptable to the pagan at that time. Gnostics, from the Greek word knowledge, found this train of thought satiated their philosophical palate. They held that any form of matter was evil, so it would be impossible for God to become a man. God would never take onto Himself corrupted human flesh. So in order to make sense of all this, they concluded that God the Father created many lesser gods. Gnostics claimed to have hidden knowledge. God the Father was the only supreme being over all others beings. He stood alone, untainted by evil. When it comes to creating cultish thinking, all you need is to take one section of the scripture out of context:

Mark 10: 17 “Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” 18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.”

Do you see how easy it would be to take Christ words out of context and use them against Him? This is why it is so important that we as Christians know that we know that we know The Word of God. We must be able to defend the truth or give an answer to those who don’t understand. This teaching regarding “lesser gods” gave rise to what we know as the Jehovah’s Witness. They contend that Christ is Michael the Ark Angel because God stands alone good. Mark 10: 17-18 must be counter-balanced with verses like these:

Philippians 2: 5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” To be continued…

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