By Larry Ray Hafley
A proper presentation of the person and a correct declaration of the work of Christ will preclude numerous doctrinal errors. The sufficiency and superiority of Jesus in His character and mission were the antidote to first century heresy. The nature of neither Christ nor error has changed, therefore, the medicine used by the holy apostles and prophets will cure similar doctrinal ills and evils today.
Cases In Point
(1) When the Docetists of John’s day, in their hatred of the body as a prison house, denied the fleshly form of Jesus, John declared a Christ “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which our hands have handled” (1 Jn. 1:1). All who were disposed to despise such a fact were described as deceivers and antichrists. “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God” (1 Jn. 4:2). The human nature of Christ is sufficient to condemn present day cult claims and creeds as it was in John’s day.
(2) When the churches of Galatia were hindered regarding the works of the law as essential to righteousness, Paul presented a Christ who redeemed all men “from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). Rather than the law, righteousness comes through the faith, the gospel system, ‘of Jesus Christ. It is not the law of Moses but the faith of Jesus. This justification given in promises to Abraham is received by faith in Christ. To prevent a frustration of the grace of God in our day, the revelation of Jesus must yet be the declaration of studied minds and sincere mouths.
(3) Parallel wise, when certain Hebrew Christians were ready to make themselves a captain and return to the fleshpots of Judaism, the Hebrew author cited the five stage supremacy of Christ. One, his ‘eternal appointment to the heirship of all things in the moral and material universe. Two, the creation of the worlds by Him. Three, His continued might in upholding all things by the word of His power. Four, the redemptive work which He accomplished by Himself, the purging of our sins. Five, His subsequent exaltation and glorification as He sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high (Heb. 1:2-4). Over and above Abraham as founder, Moses as lawgiver, and Aaron as High Priest, Christ doth reign. These facts as to the person and work of Christ repudiate and invalidate doctrinal errors on all sides relative to the place and nature of the kingdom of God.
(4) When false teachers in Corinth denied a resurrection from the dead, Paul faced them with the resurrection of Christ. Again, it is the knowledge of Jesus that refutes the . ignorance of men. All the accomplishments of the gospel are downed if Christ be not raised, but appeal to that keystone truth is the cornerstone that crushes the stumbling stone of the Corinthian errorists.
(5) When the Colossian Christians were introduced and seduced to the worship of angels, Paul revealed the dominance and preeminence of Christ. As Ephesians shows the perfection of the church, so Colossians reveals the completeness of the Christ. There is no realm of insight, understanding, or knowledge where Christ does not present the ultimate glory. To the riddle of earthly death and the reality of heavenly life, Christ provides wisdom and completeness or perfection, so let no man spoil, corrupt, or beguile you from Him who is the head, even Christ.
Were every page of the New Testament to be filled with the vain repetition of “Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus,” it would not emphasize the Lord Jesus more fully than it does. There is a lesson to be gleaned. Learn of Him, live in Him, and in that wisdom and life, you may off-set and upset every form of falsity. The reason Christ’s person and work are not more frequently used to destroy every false way, every false deed and doctrine, is because His person and work are not as familiar in our hearts and lives as they ought to be. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me.”
Truth Magazine XVIII: 4, p. 50
November 28, 1974