Friday, February 27, 2015

Dealing with a Fallen Mind

Dallas Willard writes in his new book (The Allure of Gentleness), "The highest aim of a student (disciple) of Jesus is to learn to live like him in His Kingdom.  This involves planning to be like Jesus.  What Jesus is essentially telling us in Matthew 4:17 is: 'Think out your strategy for life in the light of the new fact that you can now live under the reign of God immediately present to you from the heavens.'  This method of learning to fully lead a spiritual life is to do what Jesus did in his overall style of life.  Follow him.  This appropriates the grace of God and transforms our abilities."

All in all, I'm in agreement with Willard's statement.  Our highest calling is to look at our lives through the grid of the "mind of Christ" - i.e., what is in front of me (actions, thoughts, desires, etc...) and how does this stand up with my faith in Jesus...is this something that I know Jesus would want me to do/think/want, etc...

Yet the words Dallas wrote need a check against a premise that somehow we can do this on our own - in the energy of our own flesh and without the theological realism of what it means to have a mind that is influenced by both my fallen nature and the work of the Spirit.

Dallas Willard acknowledges this and reminds his readers that "within a framework of discipleship...we are constantly dependent upon the interaction of the Holy Spirit with our souls, one in which we refuse to depend upon our natural abilities and relationships in the world, social as well as physical, 'apart from God'."

This is crucial for us to think about.  We have a mind, but we don't have the mind of Christ.  We have a mind that has natural abilities that are God-given, and we can think, reason, meditate on all sorts of things.  We are creative because God is the creator and we've been made in his image.
Yet, we also have a fallen nature - a human nature that is not naturally spiritual.  We've lost that and without the work of the Holy Spirit we are left on our own - which I am reminded by the writer of Ecclesiastes is "Vanity of Vanities, all is Vanity."

John Calvin wrote eloquently...theologically profound...about how our own nature and spirituality are so opposed to each other, and need God's Spirit at all times.  Calvin wrote:

"I feel pleased with the well-known saying which has been borrowed from the writings of Augustine, that man’s natural gifts were corrupted by sin, and his supernatural gifts withdrawn;...
(Mankind) he is now an exile from the kingdom of God, so that all things which pertain to the blessed life of the soul are extinguished in him until he recover them by the grace of regeneration. Among these are faith, love to God, charity towards our neighbour, the study of righteousness and holiness. All these, when restored to us by Christ, are to be regarded as adventitious and above nature...
To charge the intellect with perpetual blindness, so as to leave it no intelligence of any description whatever, is repugnant not only to the Word of God, but to common experience. We see that there has been implanted in the human mind a certain desire of investigating truth, to which it never would aspire unless some relish for truth antecedently existed. There is, therefore, now, in the human mind, discernment to this extent, that it is naturally influenced by the love of truth, the neglect of which in the lower animals is a proof of their gross and irrational nature. Still it is true that this love of truth fails before it reaches the goal, forthwith falling away into vanity. As the human mind is unable, from dullness, to pursue the right path of investigation, and, after various wanderings, stumbling every now and then like one groping in darkness, at length gets completely bewildered, so its whole procedure proves how unfit it is to search the truth and find it..."

That's the key when he writes that our pursuit of knowledge, truth, creativity...without God's Spirit..."fails before it reaches the goal, forthwith falling away into vanity."

How then do we learn to deal with our fallen nature as a follower of Jesus?  We must learn this from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah...
Isaiah 55:6-9
6  “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;
7  let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.

9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.




We must learn that our own natural dispositions are just that...natural.  They are not (usually) the fruit of a heart disciplined and directed by God's Spirit.  For this we must "seek", "call upon him - the Lord", "forsake our own way...and our thoughts".
We must learn the discipline of allowing God's word to permeate our thoughts, mind, soul, and be directed by God's Spirit - so that we might learn, be a student, of "the mind of Christ".

Peace

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It all begins in the mind

During Lent we have the opportunity to more fully focus on what Christ Jesus has done for us in going to the cross for our sins.

But, what value is there in this thinking if we don't really believe we're that bad to begin with?  Or if we believe that Jesus' death is merely an example of living sacrificially and we should also live in the way of Christ if we hope to be ready for eternity.  That would be a huge theological mistake.

Don't get me wrong, it is not that we don't think and come up with a world of ideas on how to live our lives.  Dallas Willard said it this way:

"It is the ideas that make the world run -- or not run, as the case may be.  People are fully at the mercy of their ideas.  Every one of us has a map in our mind made up of our ideas about life, how things work, who we are, and so on.  And that map tells us how things hold together, what's important, and what leads to what.  When tackling all the major objectives of human life, we consult that map.  Even when we want to get a better map, the only place we've got to start is with the map we've already got.  That should make us very humble.  It should make us very ready to reach out to God and say, 'Lord, correct my map.  Guide my ideas.' "

The problem is not that we think...we were made in the image of God and most certainly that means we have the ability to reason, think, make decisions based on our ideas.  I think most of us believe that our thinking and ideas are right...but what if - in certain areas, not all - they are wrong?  What if we have picked up ideas somewhere along our lives and they are false?  How will we know they are false and how will we understand the need for changing them?

I like Dallas' statement: "Lord correct my map.  Guide my ideas".

It is biblically plausible that we do this.  In fact, crucial that we do this.  It is crucial that we "think" about what we "think" and exercise a prayerful "Lord, correct my map."  Paul wrote to the Romans,

Romans 12:1-2
1  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.




and, when Paul wrote to the Corinthians he pointed out why we should exercise this "correct my map" prayer.

2 Corinthians 4:2-4
2  But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
3  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.


 Paul's statements remind us that biblically, theologically, what we think - and more importantly - what we believe to be truth is the most important thing about us.  YET, we face a modernist's dilemma - what is truth?

"The best reasoned advice"?
"The most practical helpful solution"?
"A collective hunch"?
"Whatever I think it is"...

In a modern day setting to what truth is, those are various approaches that are embraced by a world Paul describes as "the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not" ....

Blinded minds cannot see.
Scripture reminds us that Jesus came into the world, "full of grace and truth." (John 1:18)
And Paul reminds us,
15  But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.  (1 Timothy 3:15)

When we think about how things form in our mind - our previous learning, our experiences, our past examples, etc... all of these are submissive to the truth in Jesus Christ - that we have an obligation to proclaim in the church of the living God.  

Think about this....

Peace

Monday, February 23, 2015

Having the Mind of Christ

Philippians 2:5
5  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

Colossians 1:9-10
9  For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10  that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

 I'm having an interesting reading schedule these days.  I continue to read through John Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion"; and at the same time I'm enjoying the posthumous publishing of Dallas Willard's "The Allure of Gentleness - Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus". 

I've come to Book 2 in Calvin's great work where he deals with the most fundamental of human issues - the innate sinfulness, or original sin - that defines our condition before God.

Here's a summary of Calvin's thoughts:

"We must, therefore, hold it for certain, that, in regard to human nature, Adam was not merely a progenitor, but, as it were, a root, and that, accordingly, by his corruption, the whole human race was deservedly vitiated (corrupt). This is plain from the contrast which the Apostle draws between Adam and Christ, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned; even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord,” (Rom. 5:19–21)...

and then later adds,  "Original sin, then, may be defined a hereditary corruption and depravity of our nature, extending to all the parts of the soul, which first makes us obnoxious to the wrath of God, and then produces in us works which in Scripture are termed works of the flesh."

For some, the idea of original sin is the stuff of theologians; but they would be wrong.  Calvin reminds us that everyone - ourselves included - are in the words of Paul, "dead in our trespasses and sins".  There is an incapability on any human's part to understand who God is, what God has done, and what we are asked to receive without the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.

When we get to the place where Christ's righteousness is in us we have the opportunity - perhaps even obligation - to let that righteousness works its way into us and take over the way that we think about life in Christ.

Ephesians 4:17-24
17  Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
18  They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
19  They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
20  But that is not the way you learned Christ!—
21  assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,
22  to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,
23  and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
24  and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
 


I think it is rather clear.  We, who come from a state of deadness - living apart from God, without hope and the righteousness that we need to stand before God - have been given life through the work of Jesus.  His righteousness becomes our righteousness.  
NOW...what do we do with this infused righteousness...this new life...this new understanding...and new truths?  

It's important to realize that the knowledge of Christ - knowing His mind - is not just a matter of belief, but of learning, growing, thinking, pondering, seeking to follow in his ways.  

Dallas Willard makes the point that we want knowledge of Christ's mind, not just beliefs.  Knowledge, Dallas says, is "being able to deal with things as they are on an appropriate basis of thought and experience."

We learn about ourselves - our innate selfishness, sinfulness, pride - and we take on the righteous character of Jesus, and we have the ability to learn, grow in learning how to take on the life of Christ as the character of our own life.
How?
This type of knowledge of self and Christ can only happen as we engage our minds on a daily basis through God's word, prayer, and reflection on our own motives, attitudes and behavior.  This continuous engagement can yield real knowledge of our own needs for growth and change...or if you will, change and growth.

Philippians 2:5
5  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 

Peace

Friday, February 20, 2015

The difference between defending and explaining

The news of recent has focused the suffering of Christians in the middle east who have been martyred for their faith in Christ at the hands of Islamic Terrorists.

Through the centuries many Christians have lost their lives as a result of their faith.
For us, who live in America, there is little chance that we would have this happen here - but it's entirely possibly that terrorism will strike out at Christians sometime.  But, for many Christians in the western world - especially here in the U.S. - being a Christians who believes God's word there is a form of persecution that is defined by words like "ostracized", "passed over", "ridiculed", and more.

What do we do in the face of opposition to faith?

When the Apostle Peter writes to the early believers who are undergoing great pressure, even persecution for their faith in Jesus, he gives them this charge.

1 Peter 3:8-18
8  Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
9  Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
10  For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;

11  let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.

12  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

13  Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?
14  But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
15  but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
16  having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
17  For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

18  For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
 

It seems clear from Peter that we should expect opposition to an active practice of our faith.  What Peter reminds us is that HUMILITY, LOVE, GENTLENESS, BLESSING, should be the values that direct our ways.  

It's my opinion that a lot of people don't know how to live out the truth of God's word in ways that is not defensive, combative, or hard-edged.  We're reminded that Jesus was described as "full of grace and truth."  

We should not believe, nor accept the notion that in order to live out the truth of the Gospel, believing in God's word for our lives, we have to be withdrawn, accusing, or finger-pointing.  Instead, we are enjoined to keep our tongues from evil, our lips from speaking deceit, and seek peace, even pursue it with others.

We do best when we patiently, lovingly, non-judgmentally share our faith with a desire to help one understand the beauty and love of Jesus than a posture of defending in order to be "right" with little care for the "sympathy" Peter describes in vs. 8.

Think about it.

Peace

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The First Day of Lent - Our Gentle Jesus

I published a book that is on Amazon called "A Lenten Sojourn" and I plan on reading it and thinking about it for the Lenten season.
You can find it, if interested, at

http://www.amazon.com/Lenten-Sojourn-Elliott-Pollasch-ebook/dp/B00TMICMZC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424265793&sr=8-1&keywords=a+lenten+sojourn

Yet I plan on posting some thoughts...just because I want to.  I'm reading another book by one of my favorite authors - Dallas Willard - during this season.  Dallas Willard is now home with the Lord and it was his daughter who assembled and edited the notes of his writings to put the book together.

The book is entitled "The Allure of Gentleness".  I love the idea of it.  I want to be known as a gentleman, and I once heard someone describe me as a "Gentle Bear" (I am a big man).

What we know of Jesus is his love, grace, mercy...and straight-forward, prophetic, no-nonsense, approach to the proud.

Yet this is also what we need to know:

Matthew 12:18-21
18  “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19  He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
20  a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory;
21  and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”


This is our Savior...the one who gives us hope and yet is gentle, dealing with our questions, doubts and fears.

This is Jesus' style, and my desire is for his life to invade, saturate, envelope my own.

Peace 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fat Tuesday????

Today is known as "Fat Tuesday"...the day before the official beginning of the forty days of Lent.  This is how one writer described it:

"Fat Tuesday is also known as Mardi Gras Day or Shrove Day. 
It is a day when people eat all they want of everything and anything they want as the following day is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a traditional fasting period for Christians. 
In addition to fasting, Christians also give up something special that they enjoy. So, Fat Tuesday is a celebration and the opportunity to enjoy that favorite food or snack that you give up for the long Lenten season."

It's interesting how some people approach the beginning of a longer reflection on Jesus' death, his sacrifice, as a party time... 

Hmmm,  Fasting?  Giving Up. 

Sure, I know many Christians who approach the Lenten season as a season for fasting and giving up something they value.  I've heard of giving up coffee, sugar, chocolate, sweets, alcohol, etc... 

 Nothing wrong with committing ourselves to withdraw from something for the sake of focusing our time and attention on God's word; but the notion that we somehow are "doing" something can easily lead to a merit based approach - sort of a performance based approach - to knowing God.

What is it they are missing?  We don't gain any standing before God because we "give up" something.  Our works are not the focus for Lent...the focus is solely, completely on what God has done in his Son's work for us.

Here's Paul's version of why Christ should be the object of whatever we decide to do for Lent.

Philippians 2:1-11 
 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,
 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
10  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  

I am looking forward to taking some time to think, read scripture, meditate, pray my way through the Lenten season.

Why?

Not because it will bring merit before God, or to get God's favor by being "spiritual"...No, simply because my Savior has done so much for me...and I just want to think about it again.

I've shared this before, so please forgive the repeat, but I've just finished and published an e-book entitled "A Lenten Sojourn".  It's available at Amazon and can be downloaded as a companion for reading scripture during Lent.

Follow this link if you're interested:  http://www.amazon.com/Lenten-Sojourn-Elliott-Pollasch-ebook/dp/B00TMICMZC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424186218&sr=8-1&keywords=a+lenten+sojourn

Whatever you choose to do - make it for the glory of God and not aggrandizement of self.


Peace

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

On the Beauty and Mystery of the Trinity

I don't think in my theological studies nothing was harder to understand than the nature of the Trinity.  Fortunately for me, Church History's struggle in the first few centuries turned out to be an apt teacher for understanding the delicate balance or nuances of words that are crucial to use in understanding the nature of God as three in One.

In Book 1 of Calvin's Institutes, Calvin dives into the relationship of the Father to the Son and the Father and Son to the Spirit, and if you read carefully you'll notice how he walks this delicate line that keeps things both in balance, and most importantly in truth.

We begin with Calvin explaining the distinction that must be kept as the Trinity relates to individual persons - Father, Son, Spirit.  The technical Greek word "hypostasis" is an important theological term, since it means the "essence", or "being", and "substance".  So the writer of Hebrews says in 11:1 in the King James translation:  "Faith is the 'substance' (hypostasis) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  By that, it means "faith is the real thing - a reality to be counted on". The NIV translated it,  "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."  As you read Calvin's argument on the nature of the Trinity keep in mind this tension of person, or being in the three persons of the Godhead and the underlying Unity that makes them one.  He says it this way:

"[concerning] the most perfect unity of God, the Son may thereby be proved to be one God with the Father, inasmuch as he constitutes one Spirit with him, and that the Spirit is not different from the Father and the Son, inasmuch as he is the Spirit of the Father and the Son. In each hypostasis the whole nature is understood the only difference being that each has his own peculiar subsistence. The whole Father is in the Son, and the whole Son in the Father, as the Son himself also declares (John 14:10), “I am in the Father, and the Father in me;” nor do ecclesiastical writers admit that the one is separated from the other by any difference of essence. “By those names which denote distinctions” says Augustine “is meant the relation which they mutually bear to each other, not the very substance by which they are one.” In this way, the sentiments of the Fathers, which might sometimes appear to be at variance with each other, are to be reconciled. At one time they teach that the Father is the beginning of the Son, at another they assert that the Son has both divinity and essence from himself, and therefore is one beginning with the Father. The cause of this discrepancy is well and clearly explained by Augustine, when he says, “Christ, as to himself, is called God, as to the Father he is called Son.” And again, “The Father, as to himself, is called God, as to the Son he is called Father. He who, as to the Son, is called Father, is not Son; and he who, as to himself, is called Father, and he who, as to himself, is called Son, is the same God.”

You might want to read it again, and even again.  The Father to the Son is the Father.  The Son to the Father is the Son.  Each retains their personhood...but ultimately they are one and so in a Unity of God also.  Calvin goes on:

"Let those, then, who love soberness, and are contented with the measure of faith, briefly receive what is useful to be known. It is as follows:—When we profess to believe in one God, by the name God is understood the one simple essence, comprehending three persons or hypostases; and, accordingly, whenever the name of God is used indefinitely, the Son and Spirit, not less than the Father, is meant. But when the Son is joined with the Father, relation comes into view, and so we distinguish between the Persons. But as the Personal subsistence carry an order with them, the principle and origin being in the Father, whenever mention is made of the Father and Son, or of the Father and Spirit together, the name of God is specially given to the Father. In this way the unity of essence is retained, and respect is had to the order, which, however derogates (ie. distracts) in no respect from the divinity of the Son and Spirit. And surely since we have already seen how the apostles declare the Son of God to have been He whom Moses and the prophets declared to be Jehovah, we must always arrive at a unity of essence. We, therefore, hold it detestable blasphemy to call the Son a different God from the Father, because the simple name God admits not of relation, nor can God, considered in himself, be said to be this or that...
Paul besought the Lord in the same sense in which Peter quotes the passage of Joel, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” (Acts 2:21; Joel 2:28). Where this name is specially applied to the Son, there is a different ground for it, as will be seen in its own place; at present it is sufficient to remember, that Paul, after praying to God absolutely, immediately subjoins the name of Christ. Thus, too, the Spirit is called God absolutely by Christ himself. For nothing prevents us from holding that he is the entire spiritual essence of God, in which are comprehended Father, Son, and Spirit. This is plain from Scripture. For as God is there called a Spirit, so the Holy Spirit also, in so far as he is a hypostasis of the whole essence, is said to be both of God and from God."

Ok, to this I leave you with theological musing time.  Think about the relationship of the Father to the Son, and the Son to the Father and Spirit.  We keep these in tension lest we fall into error of creating in our minds three Gods, or in an opposite way create one God with no divinity ascribed to the Son and the Spirit.

Peace

Monday, February 9, 2015

On Our Amazing Jesus

I'm coming back after a couple of weeks away...a little vacation time and then time to catch up.

Besides this I have been finishing a new book for upcoming Lenten season.  I have been working on the book for the last month and a half, and it's almost finished.  I hope to have the details of the book to report soon.

During this time I've been keeping up with my reading of Calvin's Institutes.  I continue to be amazed at the depth and relevance of his writing (and when I say relevance, I mean concerning the events of his own time which is around 1530-1560).  Although Luther wrote prolifically during this time also, he didn't have the systematic writings that Calvin did.

I've worked my way through most of Book 1.  There are 5 books in Calvin's Institutes.  This first book concerns the Knowledge of God as Creator and in dealing with this he introduces the reader to the unity of the divine essence of God as three persons, yet one.

I wanted to share a few of the things he wrote so eloquently about in relation to Jesus' divine being.

"...the first thing deserving of special observation is that predictions concerning the eternal God are applied to Christ, as either already fulfilled in him, or to be fulfilled at some future period. Isaiah prophesies, that “the Lord of Hosts” shall be “for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offence,” (Isa. 8:14). Paul asserts that this prophecy was fulfilled in Christ (Rom. 9:33), and, therefore, declares that Christ is that Lord of Hosts. In like manner, he says in another passage, “We shall all stand before the Judgment-seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Since in Isaiah God predicts this of himself (Isa. 45:23), and Christ exhibits the reality fulfilled in himself, it follows that he is the very God, whose glory cannot be given to another. It is clear also, that the passage from the Psalms (Ps. 68:19) which he quotes in the Epistle to the Ephesians, is applicable only to God, “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive,” (Eph. 4:8). Understanding that such an ascension was shadowed forth when the Lord exerted his power, and gained a glorious victory over heathen nations, he intimates that what was thus shadowed was more fully manifested in Christ. So John testifies that it was the glory of the Son which was revealed to Isaiah in a vision (John 12:41; Isa. 6:4), though Isaiah himself expressly says that what he saw was the Majesty of God..."

He goes on...

 "...why should John have hesitated to ascribe the Majesty of God to Christ, after saying in his preface that the Word was God? (John 1:14). Why should Paul have feared to place Christ on the Judgment-seat of God (2 Cor. 5:10), after he had so openly proclaimed his divinity, when he said that he was God over all, blessed for ever? And to show how consistent he is in this respect, he elsewhere says that “God was manifest in the flesh,” (1 Tim. 3:16). If he is God blessed for ever, he therefore it is to whom alone, as Paul affirms in another place, all glory and honour is due. Paul does not disguise this, but openly exclaims, that “being in the form of God (he) thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation,” (Phil. 2:6). And lest the wicked should glamour and say that he was a kind of spurious God, John goes farther, and affirms, “This is the true God, and eternal life.” Though it ought to be enough for us that he is called God, especially by a witness who distinctly testifies that we have no more gods than one, Paul says, “Though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as there be gods many, and lords many), but to us there is but one God,” (1 Cor. 8:5, 6). When we hear from the same lips that God was manifest in the flesh, that God purchased the Church with his own blood, why do we dream of any second God, to whom he makes not the least allusion? And there is no room to doubt that all the godly entertained the same view. Thomas, by addressing him as his Lord and God, certainly professes that he was the only God whom he had ever adored (John 20:28). 12. The divinity of Christ, if judged by the works which are ascribed to him in Scripture, becomes still more evident. When he said of himself, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work,” the Jews, though most dull in regard to his other sayings, perceived that he was laying claim to divine power. And, therefore, as John relates (John 5:17), they sought the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. What, then, will be our stupidity if we do not perceive from the same passage that his divinity is plainly instructed? To govern the world by his power and providence, and regulate all things by an energy inherent in himself (this an Apostle ascribes to him, Heb. 1:3), surely belongs to none but the Creator. Nor does he merely share the government of the world with the Father, but also each of the other offices, which cannot be communicated to creatures. The Lord proclaims by his prophets “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake,” (Is. 43:25).

He finishes his argument most beautifully:

"...He himself, is certainly God. Let no one object that life or salvation is transfused into him by God. For it is said not that he received, but that he himself is salvation. And if there is none good but God, how could a mere man be pure, how could he be, I say not good and just, but goodness and justice? Then what shall we say to the testimony of the Evangelist, that from the very beginning of the creation “in him was life, and this life was the light of men?” Trusting to such proofs, we can boldly put our hope and faith in him, though we know it is blasphemous impiety to confide in any creature.9 88 “Ye believe in God,”9 89 says he, “believe also in me,” (John 14:1). And so Paul (Rom. 10:11, and 15:12) interprets two passages of Isaiah “Whose believeth in him shall not be confounded,” (Isa. 28:16); and, “In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek,” (Isa. 11:10). But why adduce more passages of Scripture on this head, when we so often meet with the expression, “He that believeth in me has eternal life?"

One cannot but be amazed at the depth and reason of his writing.

Peace