The Mystery of the Godliness

Search the Word | Vol. 27 No. 6 | Sep-Oct

When Amanda Guarascio first heard about a terrified, abandoned dog hiding

in a nearby national forest, she was

intrigued that no one had been able

to capture it for many months. An avid dog rescuer, she was sure that with some persistence she could do what others hadn’t been able to do.

On the first day, Amanda and a friend, Dylan, tried unsuccessfully to lure the frightened and severely emaciated dog closer to them until 3 am, but to no avail. The dog was skittish, and would even forego food in order to keep its distance.

On the second day, Amanda felt inspired to lie on the ground as though she was injured to arouse the dog’s protective nature. The dog would sniff her, but then back off—wary. But Amanda persisted. Then Amanda tried whimpering. This worked. The dog lay next to her, and the two cuddled as the dog’s protective instincts kicked in. Slowly, Amanda was able to put a leash on the dog, and around 9 pm that night, she and Dylan were able to transfer the dog to their truck and take him to a shelter where he was treated for exhaustion and starvation. Eventually “Baby Bear” found a good home and was completely rehabilitated, becoming a happy and healthy dog.

Amanda’s biggest challenge was establishing a relationship of trust with “Baby Bear”. This could not have happened until she got down on his level and made herself weak for his sake. In a similar way, when God looked down on our human race in its pitiful and lost condition, He knew that He could not send His Son in all His glory to rescue us. Not only would we have been terrified of Him, we would have been instantly destroyed by His glory, for sinners cannot exist in the presence of God’s holiness.

In his prophecy of the Messiah, Isaiah described the condescension of Jesus in becoming the Son of Man to save us: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3–5.

Through His condescension to take our nature and experience temptation and suffering, we may become healed of our moral infirmities and be reconciled to God. But this isn’t all! As equally the Son of Man and the Son of God, Jesus bears a unique relationship to both heaven and earth, and because of His condescension, we may become joint heirs with Him. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Revelation 3:21.

While we will study the mystery of godliness for eternity, let us see what the Bible has revealed for us to understand now.

I. EMMANUEL

1. Jesus referred to Himself as whom? John 3:18
2. In his gospel, how did the apostle John introduce Jesus? John 1:1
3. What dwells in Jesus? Colossians 2:9
4. What is Jesus to His Father? Hebrews 1:3
5. In His divine nature, did Jesus have a beginning? Micah 5:2
6. What names are given to Jesus? Isaiah 9:6
7. What did Thomas call Jesus? John 20:28
8. What is the meaning of the name Emmanuel? Matthew 1:23
9. What is, without controversy, the great mystery of godliness? 1 Timothy 3:16
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14.

II. THE SON OF MAN

1. What nature did Jesus take upon Himself in His human form? Hebrews 2:14

“God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” “Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Romans 8:3; Hebrews 2:17.
2. He took the human nature of whose seed? Hebrews 2:16
“Made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” Romans 1:3.
3. Did Jesus have to face infirmities and fierce temptations like us? Hebrews 4:15
“Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that He Himself also is compassed with infirmity.” Hebrews 5:2.
“For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.” Hebrews 2:18.

III. OUR EXAMPLE

1. What was one of the things He had to endure? Hebrew 12:3

2. How did He handle personal abuse? 1 Peter 2:23

3. In His personal life, how much room did Jesus leave for Satan? John 14:30

4. What thought did Jesus say will cheer us in the midst of tribulation? John 16:33

IV. OUR SAVIOR

1. At the culmination of a life of victory, what did Jesus do? 1 Peter 2:24
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5–8.
2. What did He say on the cross which reveals an even greater anguish that He had to endure? Matthew 27:46
“For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
3. Christ did all this for us who are what type of people? Romans 5:7, 8
4. What was the whole purpose of His life on earth? Matthew 20:28
For an inspiring prophecy of Christ’s mission, read Isaiah 53.

COMMITMENT

In the light of God’s Word, I understand that Jesus went through all that I experience and much more, yet without sin, so that I might be freed from sin. I desire for my life to be compelled by love for Christ who went through so much for me.

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