Monday, July 18, 2011

more than humanitarian

Machen shows that, contra liberalism, Jesus is more than an exalted human example to us. He is a supernatural Person who is the object of faith. It is not an either-or.  He is both object of faith and example of faith, but because of his identity and work as God's Son, he is first the One in whom we trust.

But Jesus is an example to us, as well.  Machen notes that this is not just in humanitarian concerns, like healing the sick, but also in his relationship to God his Father:

Jesus is an example, moreover, not merely for the relations of man to man but also for the relation of man to God; imitation of Him may extend and must extend to the sphere of religion as well as to that of ethics. Indeed religion and ethics in Him were never separated; no single element in His life can be understood without reference to His heavenly Father. Jesus was the most religious man who ever lived; He did nothing and said nothing and thought nothing without the thought of God. If His example means anything at all it means that a human life without the conscious presence of God--even though it be a life of humanitarian service outwardly like the ministry of Jesus--is a monstrous perversion. If we would follow truly in Jesus' steps, we must obey the first commandment as well as the second that is like unto it; we must love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength.   (J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism

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