Are You Lost and Out of Step?

Can I share something with you?  Something you can keep to yourself?  Well I’m considering radically changing our house church, and restarting, or rebooting if you will. I’ve heard that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. So it’s time to make changes.  Since leaving my Charismatic group I’ve accelerated my deconstruction and I think it’s been hard on those that were/are with me.  But there is no turning back for me I’m convinced that what I’ve been taught is incorrect and not reflective of Jesus Christ.

I’m committed to truly knowing Jesus even if it cost me everything.  Part of this journey is letting go of ways that have been ingrained in me as to how church should be, how often, what days. In some ways I feel lost, but in my lostness, in my wilderness, it’s there that I always seem to hear God’s voice. It’s there that I find my way back home.  So embrace the feeling of being lost it’s a good place to be.

Since leaving my Charismatic group I’ve rejected the following:

  • a retributive god
  • all hierarchy (within the body of Christ that views one as higher, better, greater than another)
  • all forms of control
  • all forms of power
  • all forms of manipulation
  • all forms of sin management
  • all forms of legalism
  • all forms of ignorance
  • all forms of success
  • all forms of exclusion

I firmly believe that in the body of Christ we are all equal, and the only great one is Jesus (and he defined greatness by becoming human, powerless, and a servant).  Yes I still believe that those that claim to follow Christ should gather together at the Table of the Lord where every one is equal and to bare each others burdens.  That is what I think church is and should be.

I don’t know where you are at in your journey but know this, where ever you are I’ll always be your friend. For the record Yes I believe that God heals, and that the Holy Spirit moves in our presence, and brings about restoration in our lives. Yes I still believe in the gifts of the Spirit, I have no intentions to abandon my Charismatic roots (although I’ve never been anything like the crazies or extreme, that doesn’t mean that I don’t hold those views).
Please keep me in your prayers as I truly value you and those that dare to come along with me on this Path that I have set.  You are here because you are a seeker, like the wise men looking for the God that will bring peace on earth. We’ve been lead to him, so now lets live like him and continue his work of bringing peace on earth.

May Christ be with you and your family,

Understanding the humaity of Christ – Part 2

Was Jesus truly tempted as we were?

The supporting scripture(s) on this are: Hebrews 4:15

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are?yet he did not sin.” TNIV

Luke 4:1-2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. TNIV (ESV, NLT, HCSB all use “tempted”)

James 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;

In Hebrews 4:15 the ESV also uses the word “tempted”, HCSB uses the word “tested”, and the NLT uses “testing”.  According the ESV Study Bible (ESVSB) “The Greek (peiraz?) can refer either to temptation intended to bring one down or to testing designed to build one up; both connotations probably apply here”.  The NLT Study Bible (NLTSB) says “Our High Priest understands our weaknesses, our human pull toward sin, because he faced all of the same testings we do. He was tempted with all the essential aspects of sin, such as lust, greed, unforgiveness, and dishonesty.”

From these two notes it would be fair to say that Jesus was not only tested, but also tempted as we are. However, is it accurate to say as the NLTSB states that “He was tempted with all the essential aspects of sin…”?  Is that a correct understanding?

“This meant that he had to obey in his human strength alone. If he had called upon his divine powers to make the temptation easier for himself, then he would not have obeyed God fully as a man.”, [Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology]

This in my opinion is a correct statement, but later Grudem states that Christ was fully tempted, yet he could not sin.

“But if Jesus as a person had sinned, involving both his human and divine natures in sin, then God himself would have sinned, and he would have ceased to be God. Yet that is clearly impossible because of the infinite holiness of God’s nature. (5) Therefore, if we are asking if it was actually possible for Jesus to have sinned, it seems that we must conclude that it was not possible. The union of his human and divine natures in one person prevented it.”, [Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology]

This is where we part ways in our understanding.  Now in a way it is a moot point for it is clear from Hebrews that Jesus never sinned.  However, I think that if we follow the logic that I have laid out that Jesus did not take advantage of his divinity, which Grudem supports if I understand him correctly.  Christ is no longer relying on or taking advantage of his divinity making him subject to these temptations.  Grudem holds to what is referred to as the “impeccability of Christ,” which means that Christ was not able to sin.

But it would appear to me that a temptation is not a temptation if there is never the real ability to fail (i.e. sin).  How can there be a temptation if there is no capacity to fulfill it?  I think that it was possible for Jesus to have sinned, but would not sin (notice I did not say could not), because he was God, and because his humanity was completely in submission to the Spirit, and was totally obedient to the Father. He lived a truly obedient life, led by the Holy Spirit, and thus fulfilled all of the requirements of the law. He is our perfect (human) example.

To deny his humanity is as equally wrong to deny his deity. If it was not possible for him to sin then he was not human, and we are missing the whole point of what Phil 2 – is trying to teach us. It’s kind of like saying Jesus cheated because he was not truly capable of sinning, so none of the temptations or testing really matter. Jesus could have sinned but He did not. Why? Not just because he was God, but because he was obedient.

This is why:

And being found in appearance as a human being, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death?even death on a cross! God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2:8-11 TNIV

How did He humble himself? By becoming obedient!  I fear that somehow that by acknowledging that Jesus was truly human we somehow think that we are denying that He was God. And that is just not the case.


Understanding the humanity of Christ – Introduction

Understanding the humanity of Christ Part 1

Gordon Fee Pauline Christology – Philippians 2

Gordon Fee “Pauline Christology” 2007 Hendrickson

Donald Macleod “The Person of Christ” IVP 1998


New Book – The Incarnation

For Christmas I was given a $30.00 gift card by a dear friend.  Of course I went and purchased another book.  What else would I do with it?  It will be a while before I get to reading this book, but I don’t just by books to read them right away I am building a personal reference library.  I will get to it eventually.

Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ (Hardcover)
by Thomas F. Torrance (Author), Robert T. Walker (Editor)

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 371 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (November 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830828915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830828913
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.6 inches

Editorial Reviews

“T. F. Torrance stands as one of the finest English-speaking theologians of modern times. Here we have the nearest thing to the systematic theology he had always hoped to write. Scripturally rooted, philosophically acute and always alert to the theological issues that really matter, this book cannot fail to inspire anyone who cares about constructive Christian thought in our day.” —-Jeremy Begbie, Thomas Langford Research Professor of Theology, Duke University

“Nowhere else in T. F. Torrance’s writings will you find the kind of synthesis of the entire sweep of his dogmatics as you will find in this volume and its companion volume, Atonement. Everyone concerned with constructive systematic theology in general, or with Torrance’s theology in particular, will want to acquire and read these books. They reveal the heart and soul of Torrance’s theological vision.”

Understanding the humanity of Christ – Part 1

What does it mean that He made himself nothing?

Philippians 2:7 “but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (ESV)

TNIV “he made himself nothing”; NLT “he gave up his divine privileges (footnote: Greek he emptied himself.) “; CSB “He emptied Himself”

Some thoughts on the various translations

Each of these translations give us something to think about, but I think that the ESV and TNIV translated this in the best possible way.  The NLT does have in the footnotes “Greek he emptied himself”.  However, I think it has the least desirable wording.  The phrase “gave up his divine privileges” gives implication that Jesus stop being God either in whole or in part.  According to the ESVSB “Greek kenoō can mean “empty, pour out” or also (metaphorically) “give up status and privilege.”  Although the ESVSB notes add some clarity here to the meaning, and I understand what the NLT is trying to communicate, I still think that the NLT makes it difficult to understand, rather than providing clarification.  I don’t know if it is the words “gave up” or “divine” that bug me.  It may be that combination.  The NLT first edition had “He made himself nothing” which maybe they just should have left it that way.

The NLT translation raises further questions such as, what divine privileges that he give up?  Did he give up all of his divine attributes, or just some of them?  I think that the average English reader may find themselves thinking just that.  Where as the ESV or the TNIV would not invoke such ideas, rather they allow you to follow the flow of thought that Paul is attempting to stress to us.

Gordon Fee “Pauline Christology”

Gordon Fee’s opening remarks on this verse start off trying to understand what Paul meant by such language.

…we also come to a major crux in the Pauline corpus, as to what Paul intended with this language.  At issue is whether the verb ἐκένωσε to be understood literally or metaphorically.  Did Paul understand the divine Christ (literally) to have “emptied himself of something” in taking the “form” of a slave?  Or is this a strong metaphor, giving pictorial expression to what is otherwise inexpressible and thus meaning something like “he made himself nothing” in becoming human?  These questions cannot be answered definitively, but it is at least arguable, on the basis of the parallel structure of the two sentences in vv.6-8 that the participles very likely carry the same sense in both instances (vv.6 and 8).  And here, it would seem, one can make more sense of both of them when understood as having a modal relationship to the main verb in each clause.  That is, this is the way Christ emptied himself and humbled himself: by “becoming human” and by “becoming obedient”. pg 383

Here the NLTSB correctly says “(literally he emptied himself): The rest of 2:7-8 explains this ultimate expression of divine self-denial”

I think this is the correct meaning of this verse, that Christ made himself nothing by humbling himself through his self-denial, by “becoming human” and by “becoming obedient”, which is the mind set (self-denial) that Paul is attempting to get us as Christians to have.  This affirms my initial thoughts that this verse is best translated as the TNIV and ESV have it. Donlad Macleod also makes the same conclusion:

…it was himself he emptied and, secondly, that the way he emptied himself was by taking the form of a servant…It is what Christ assumes that humbles and impoverishes him: hence the justice of Augustine’s comment that he emptied himself ‘not by changing His own divinity but by assuming our changeableness’ Donald Macleod “The Person of Christ” IVP 1998 pg 215-216

Fee Further says:

The question, then is not what Christ emptied himself of, but how else Paul could possibly have expressed the divine mystery of God incarnate except by this kind of powerful imagery. pg384

That is a great thought that Fee has, how else can Paul explain the divine mystery without using this sort of imagery?  Paul has what I think a clear understanding of this divine union, and is doing his best to properly communicate what he knows to be true.  This passage exemplifies “the selflessness of God” (Fee) and not only depicts the mind set that we should have (self-denial), but it also demonstrates God’s immense love for humanity.  This causes me to have a deeper appreciation for verses like John 15:13 No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.

Christ did not empty himself of anything: he simply “emptied himself” poured himself out, as it were.  Thus, the issue for Paul is the selflessness of God, expressed by the preexistent divine Son, whereby in “becoming human” he took the μορφῇ of a slave – one who expressed his humanity in lowly service to others.  Gordon Fee “Pauline Christology” pg384


Jesus, did not empty himself of any divine attributes, but rather he:

did not consider being equal with God as something to be taken selfish advantage of, Rather, he “poured himself out”, with the salvation of humankind as his goal…From Paul’s perspective, this is how divine love manifests itself in its most charateristic and profuse expression…He entered our history not as κύριος (Lord), which name he acquires at his vindication (vv. 9-11), but as (slave), a person without advantages, with no rights or privileges but in servanthood to all” Gordon Fee “Pauline Christology” pg. 385

This understanding causes me to have a deeper appreciation for the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.  Jesus made himself nothing by becoming human, and denying himself the divine rights and privileges that he had.

In becoming incarnate God not only accommodates himself to human weakness: he buries his glory under veil after veil so that it is impossible for flesh and blood to recognize him.  As he hangs on the cross, bleeding, battered, powerless and forsaken, the last thing he looks like is God.  Indeed, he scarcely looks human.  He looks like nothing but a hell-bound, hell deserving derelict.  Everything about him says ‘An atheist and a blasphemer!’  At last, his identity was obscured even from himself.  Donald Macleod “The Person of Christ” IVP 1998 pg. 218


Understanding the humanity of Christ – Introduction

Gordon Fee Pauline Christology – Philippians 2

Gordon Fee “Pauline Christology” 2007 Hendrickson

Donald Macleod “The Person of Christ” IVP 1998


Understanding the humanity of Christ – Introduction

My goal is to have better understand the humanity of Christ.  Most of us spend a great deal of time understanding his divinity which is understandable, but I think that all too often we neglect his human side.  I realize the dangers and incorrect conclusions one can come to when approaching this topic.  But I have taken every precaution to avoid any such errors.

However, from the preliminary studies that I have done, I have come to a much deeper appreciation of who God is, and just how deep his love is for humanity.  Understanding his humanity gives us a better picture of how great his sacrifice truly was.  I hope that I will be able to successfully communicate my findings, and I am blogging because I yearn for the interaction, and look to my friends for correction, and guidance.  This will be a three part series, but if certain sub points cause the post to get to long, I will break it up.

The areas that I am workings towards a better understanding are:

  1. What does it mean that He made himself nothing?
  2. Was Jesus truly tempted as we are?
    1. Or was He just tested, and not tempted, or both?
    2. And if He was tempted, and not just tested, then was Jesus truly capable of sinning?
  3. To what degree was Jesus Spirit led?
    1. Where the miracles Jesus preformed done through his divinity, or through the power of the Holy Spirit?
    2. Was his life of obedience accomplished through his submission to the Holy Spirit?
  4. Should the Spirit directed humanity of Christ be the paradigm for us to follow?


  1. Understanding the humanity of Christ – Philippians 2:6
  2. Similar post on Pauline Christology – Philippians 2

I want to be perfectly clear that I affirm that Jesus is fully and completely God, & fully and completely human. Also,  The divine and human natures of Christ are distinct, and the divine and human natures of Christ are completely united in one person. (ESVSB)

In addition to the various books (I will cite them as I go along) that I am consulting, the primary book that I am working with is: Gordon Fee “Pauline Christology” 2007 Hendrickson

I will also be referencing the NLTSB & the ESVSB online editions for every scripture I reference.  This will also serve as a benchmark on the usefulness of the study notes, and how user friendly the online versions are.  I will make an effort to take notes and will summarize at the end of this series.

The four major translations that I will be consulting will be ESV, TNIV, CSB, & NLT

I hope to have the first post ready within the week, and the others will follow.  I am taking my time as to ensure proper research, and to double check my conculsions.  I do hope that those following long will contribute, learn, and leave with a deeper apprication for the Great Mighty God that we serve.

To all his Glory! Amen

Robert Jimenez

Understanding the humanity of Christ

This is one of those topics I had struggled with really comprehending for years. I blogged a bit about this before in a partial review of Gordon Fee’s book Pauline Christology. I just wanted to chat a bit more about this topic.

In Philippians 2:5-7

TNIV: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
HCSB: 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. 7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form

Here is my summary of what I think these verses mean:

Jesus had existed in the form of God, and did not take advantage of his divinity to assist in his humanity.

This summary and the specific translations cited above helps me to relate to Christ’s humanity in way that I never really could.  I think that Jesus could have used his divinity to help him when he fasted and was tempted, but he did not.  He could have used his divinity to help him when he was suffering before and during his crucifixion but he did not.

This understanding allows me to better understand verses like Heb. 2:18 “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” TNIV I always struggled with this because elsewhere it says that God cannot be tempted James 1:13  I would wonder well how can Jesus really be tempted if he is God?  Well now this makes sense, at least it does to me.  Also it gives me some sort of renewed hope that I can or will someday be fully transformed.

What are your thoughts regarding this? I really would like to hear from some you on how you understand his humanity.

Pauline Christology – Philippians 2

I will be reviewing sections of this book that are of particular interest to me.  I will say this, Gordon Fee is a remarkable writer, theologian, and obviously an expert with the Greek language.  I think that this book has wide appeal for both the professional theologian as well as ministerial theologians, or as we are sometimes referred to as “Armchair Theologians”, either way it is not beyond the comprehension of a serious student/person.

I hate to admit this, but I had heard of Gordon Fee before but never read any of his books.  It was not until hanging out at Nick’s blog that I became very curious about him.  So I purchased this book just a few weeks ago.  I had done some prior research on Gordon Fee and also came to find out that he is a Pentecostal.  May not make a difference for many of you, but for me it is really exiting since I am also pentecostal.

Gordon Fee has produced a magnificent piece of work and is truly a treat for me.  We (pentecostal) don’t have the reputation of being able to write such works, so I commend him for what he has accomplished not only in this book, but in the many, many other works that he has produced.

He does deal with the Greek language very much, and to my surprise I was actually reading Greek, until a particular word stumped me, I then had one of those blond moments “OMG I have been reading Greek with out knowing it”.  I had studied for a long time on my own and had stopped, but apparently it paid off.  However, I picked up my ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament, and I was ready to continue.

This isn’t really a book review as much as it is how this chapter help me gain a better understanding of Christ’s humanity.  Or how it help confirm some recent conclusions that I had made through some personal studies.

Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study

By Gordon D. Fee

Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #147519 in Books
  • Published on: 2007-03
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 707 pages
Christology in Philippians – Chapter 9
When I first bought this book I was highly interested in what he had to say regarding these verses.  The reason is because I have been taking a hard look at the humanity of Christ.  Believe it or not, I have often struggle with the divine union of deity and humanity.  You know the typical questions “can he really be tempted if he is God?  Did He really know what it’s like to be human?”  “Was it really possible for him to sin, even though the bible says that God cannot sin?“I started to take a fresh look at what this means and work really hard to have a better understanding.  Let me put this in perspective.  For years I read the NKJV and this is how it translates these verses:
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.
This is how I had these verses memorized.  The parts that I never really could understand is what was meant by “...did not consider it robbery to be equal with God…”  What was he stealing?  Or is it trying to tell me that he retained his divinity, but that was not stealing?  The other part of this translation that I did not understand is vs 7 “…made himself of no reputation…”  Again, I am lost.  I know I’m dumb, and slow and most of you clearly saw what I was missing.
Last semester I had to teach on the Doctrine of God and had to come to a much better understanding of these verse and what they mean.  Today I am reading various translations (much more open minded person), and I thought that TNIV and HCSB gave the best translations for these verses:
TNIV: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
HCSB: 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. 7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men.  And when He had come as a man in His external form
Clearly these translations clean up much of my misunderstandings.  Here is my summary or conclusion that I made.
Jesus had existed in the form of God, and his very nature was God.  He did not take advantage of his divinity to assist in his humanity.
Now that makes sense, right?  He can be tempted just like us – duh.  But do you find my conclusions correct?  That is where Gordon Fee really help me to be sure on my conclusions.  At least I think it helps to support my view.
Gordon Fee regarding Philippians 2
What the earliest followers of Christ had come to believe, of course, on the basis of his resurrection and ascension, was that the one whom they had known as truly human had himself known prior existence in the “form” of God – not meaning that he was “like God but really not” but that he was characterized by what was essential to being God.  It is this understanding that (correctly) lies behind the TNIV’s “in very nature God”.  And it is this singular reality, lying in the emphatic first position as this phrase does, that gives potency to what follows and therefore to the whole. pg 379
He continues… But in this case, Paul fronts the predicate noun and thereby puts his first emphasis on what equality with God did not consist of: Christ’s being a grasping opportunist. pg 380
Which is sort of the impression that NKJV left me with.  Here is where he really brought further clarity to my understanding.
Thus, Christ did not consider “equality with God to consist of “grasping” or being “selfish”; rather, he rejected this popular view of kingly power by “pouring himself out” for the sake of others. pg 382 …Paul insists, the true God-likeness that is found in Christ’s mind-set has revealed God to be self-giving rather than self-serving, loving rather than exploiting. pg 383 … this is the way Christ emptied himself and humbled himself: by “becoming human” and by “becoming obedient.” … The question, then, is not what Christ emptied himself of, but how else Paul could possibly have expressed the divine mystery of God incarnate except by this kind of powerful imagery. pg 384
He writes a great summary of these few passages which are worth quoting here:
In sum: This first sentence, the earliest of its kind in the NT. makes the two points that are crucial to NT Christology: (a) Christ was both in the “form” of God and equal with God, and therefore personally preexistent, when he chose to “empty himself” by taking the “form” of a slave: (b) he took the “form” of a slave by coming to be in the “likeness” of human beings.  Thus, in Christ Jesus, God has thus shown his true nature; this is what it means for to be “equal with God”: to pour himself out for the sake of others, and to do so by taking the role of a slave.  Hereby Christ not only reveals the character of God but from the perspective of the present context also reveals what it means for us to be created in God’s image, to bear his likeness and have his “mind-set”.  It means taking the role of the slave for the sake of others, the contours of which are what the next clause will spell out.
And there you have it.  What do you think?  Help me, am I close, correct, way off?