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bring about this reconciliation (Colossians 1:21). That he might be able to accomplish this great and blessed work, it was necessary that he be God and man in one person. If he were God alone, we would not dare to approach him, and if he were man alone, he could not help us. But as God and man, we can approach him with confidence. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself" (II. Corinthians 5:19). Those who reject either the divinity or the humanity of Christ have no mediator.
As mediator he must be man. First, he must be related to those for whom he is a mediator. Second, reconciliation could not be made in the nature of an angel; it must be in the nature of those that had sinned. Third, to be a mediator, he must be capable of obeying the law which had been broken. As God he could not do this, but as man he could. Fourth, as mediator he must suffer death, since there could be no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. Fifth, he must be man, that he might be a faithful high priest, able to sustain and comfort those in whose cause he was a mediator, having had experience of their trials, temptations, and sufferings. Sixth, he must be a holy and sinless man, and offer himself without spot to God.
But he must be more than man; no mere man as such could bring about a reconciliation. He must be a Godman: first, that he might be capable of entering into a covenant with God to be a mediator; second, to give virtue and value to his suffering and death. The sinless humanity, sanctified by the divine nature within him, and offered through the eternal Spirit, made the sacrifice infinite in its effect. Third, being God and man, we can approach the mercy seat with the utmost confidence, feeling assured that, in this wonderful God-man, "mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Psalm 85: 10).
Among the properties, or attributes, of Christ as a mediator, we may mention: first, he is the only mediator "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus"; second, he is a mediator
between God and men only, - not of angels nor of lost spirits; third, he is the mediator for all men in all ages, as well before as since his incarnation; fourth, his mediation is just, constant, loving, and successful. "He ever liveth to make intercession for them."
Concerning the manner of his pleading we are not informed. He appears at the right hand of God with his glorified body, and there intercedes for us; whether vocally or not, cannot be known to us. This much we know, that his intercessions are wise, righteous, authoritative, and compassionate. It is our ground of hope, and should encourage us to offer prayer to God through his name. We may say with Paul, that "such an high priest became us,' one who could be "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." But for the constant pleadings of this gracious Advocate we would perish forever.
THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
"He will come again at the last day." This and the succeeding proposition are more fully considered under Article XIII. A few plain quotations from the Scriptures may suffice in this connection. In John 14:3 Jesus said, "I will come again." In Matthew 25:31 Christ describes the manner of his coming: he "shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him." In Hebrews 9:28: "He shall appear the second time without sin unto salvation." In II. Thessalonians 1:7: "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels." I. Thessalonians 4: 16: "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout." In Revelation 1:7 we read that he will come "with clouds; and every eye shall see him." His coming will be visible and personal. The Scriptures abundantly teach this doctrine. As to the time of his coming, no man knoweth. It will be sudden and unexpected. To the righteous it will be a day of joy and triumph; to the ungodly it will be a day of gloom and confusion.
A FUTURE GENERAL JUDGMENT. This is an important and solemn proposition, fully sustained by the Word of God. The article under review
says, "He will come again at the last day to judge the living and the dead." Jesus Christ, the world's Redeemer and Mediator, will be the Judge in that great day. In Acts 10:42 it is declared that Christ "was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead." In Romans 14: 10 we read, "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ"; in II. Corinthians 5: 10, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ"; in Romans 2:16, "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." These and many other similar passages teach the solemn truth that Jesus Christ will judge the world at the last day.
These are the great cardinal doctrines set forth in this article, and they are fully sustained by the Word of God: Jesus Christ, very God, very man, Redeemer, Mediator, and Judge. To him be glory, and honor and power and dominion forever and ever.
THE CONFESSION OF FAITH
OF THE HOLY GHOST.
WE believe in the Holy Ghost; that he is equal in being with the Father and the Son; that he convinces the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; that he comforts the faithful and guides them into all truth.
THIS article contains two cardinal doctrines: first, the deity of the Holy Ghost; second, the work performed by the Holy Ghost. The church universal teaches the doctrine of the divine unity. There is none other God but one. This the Scriptures teach in unmistakable language. "It is the substance of the first commandment, and the primordial of all true religion and morality. (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 86: 10; Isaiah 44:6; 45:6; Mark 12: 29, 32; John 17:3; I. Corinthians 8:4-6; I. Timothy 2: 5.) Unity and trinity, however, do not contradict each other. Unity relates to the nature of God, while trinity relates to the mode of existence. "The Godhead is one and three," the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. In this article, we say that "we believe in the Holy Ghost; that he is equal in being with the Father and the Son."
THE DEITY OF THE HOLY GHOST.
The Holy Ghost is a person distinct, but not separate from the Father and the Son. That the Trinity in unity is a mystery, the wisest and best men of earth admit. Happy for us that we are not required to comprehend it. Paul, in Hebrews 11:6, says, "He that cometh to God must believe that he is "; but he is not required to know what he is. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are spoken of as three distinct persons, but one God.
1. Personality of the Holy Ghost. Appelations which are used in reference to the Holy Ghost are such as could
not, with any degree of propriety, be applied to an energy or attribute; they relate to personal existence. In John 16:7-15 we have the following language concerning the Holy Ghost: "If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world. . . When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you." In this quotation the masculine personal pronouns are applied to the Holy Ghost thirteen times. He, him, himself, could not properly be applied to a mere energy, influence, or abstract attribute; they belong to personal existence. Observe, also, that the Holy Ghost is called "the Comforter"; he shall come, show, guide, hear, speak, and reprove. These are all personal acts, and can only properly be applied to personal existence.
In Acts 5:32 it is said of the Holy Ghost that he witnesses. In chapter 13:2 he commands; in I. Corinthians 2:10 he "searcheth all things," and in Romans 8:26, "maketh intercession for us with groanings." Witnessing, commanding, searching, and groaning are all personal acts, and relate to personal existence. The conclusion is that the Holy Ghost is a real person.
2. The deity of the Holy Ghost is not only inferred but proven by the titles, attributes, works, and honors ascribed to him.
(1.) Titles. He is called God (Acts 5:3, 4), and "the Lord of hosts" (Isaiah 6:5, 9, 10; Acts 28:2527).
(2.) Attributes. Eternity (Hebrews 9:14); Omniscience (I. Corinthians 2: 10); Omnipotence (Romans 15:19); Omnipresence (Psalm 139:7).
(3.) Works, Creation (Job 33:4; 26: 13); Preservation (Psalm 51:12); Inspiration of the prophets (II. Peter 1:21).