Christ For Us in Every Respect

“Christ in our place and Christ for us in every respect” —Thomas F. Torrance
“Christ in our place and Christ for us in every respect” —Thomas F. Torrance
There seems to be a lot of focus among Christians on the crucifixion alone. A lot of Christians focus only on the benefits of what they can get out of Christ’s death and they forget about the person and life of Jesus Christ himself.

According to theologian Thomas F. Torrance, “It is curious that evangelicals often link the substitutionary act of Christ only with his death, and not with his incarnate person and life—that is dynamite for them!”

Truly the death of Christ on the cross is a very important atoning work of Christ for all. But Christ’s atoning work not only includes his death on the cross but also includes his birth, life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension—that is, it includes the total person of Jesus Christ both human and divine. Christ is for us in all aspects of our lives.

Christ For Us in Everything

The atoning work of Christ involves all of Jesus, the incarnate person. It involves all that the Lord has done as our substitute and representative to save all of humanity. The atoning work of Christ not only began on the cross but it started even earlier when he was born in Bethlehem. The atoning work of Christ involves all of him—his incarnation, his life, his crucifixion, his burial, his death, his resurrection and his ascension. Christ is for us and takes our place in every respect.

Something is missing if we focus only on the crucifixion and not the total person of Jesus Christ. It is equally missing the point if we claim that the incarnation in and of itself alone constitutes salvation. We must look at the atoning work of Christ as a whole, as one complete atoning work of the incarnate person Jesus Christ for all.

Let us not also forget that right now the Lord Jesus is our High Priest who is busy interceding for us.  Through the Holy Spirit, God is busy leading us, guiding us, transforming us to become like Christ — until Christ be formed in us. When the Lord Jesus comes back, our atonement with God will have been finally, completely and fully realized. This is the final fulfillment of our “at-one-ment” with the Lord. We shall see him face-to-face, and we will be with the Lord forever. This is something to look forward to even as we enjoy life and love in Jesus Christ at the present time.

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Updated: 7/26/17

Can God Reveal Truth Using Myths or Parables?

In ancient times, people believed the earth was flat. God has allowed some parts of the Bible to be written from this perspective—from an “earth-centric” or human point of view where “the sun rises” and “the sun sets.” The Bible is not primarily a science book, a cook book or an engineering book and it would be wrong to interpret it in that way.

So what about parables? Can God use parables, myths, poems, songs, anthropomorphic or figurative language to reveal truth? According to Wikipedia, “The word ‘parable’ comes from the Greek parabole, meaning ‘comparison, illustration, analogy’. It was the name given by Greek rhetoricians to any fictive illustration in the form of a brief narrative. Later it came to mean a fictitious narrative, generally referring to something that might naturally occur, by which spiritual and moral matters might be conveyed.”

Myths, Parables, Stories

In other words, Jesus made use of and made up stories to reveal truth. Jesus had no qualms about using fiction to reveal truth to his audience. He used these fictitious illustrations to explain truth. Is there something wrong with that? Can God not use fiction, parable or a myth to reveal the truth? Jesus did it. He used parables as an example. In the Bible, God has used songs, poems, letters (epistles), proverbs, historical narratives, chronicles, apocalyptic language, etc. to reveal truth. Can we limit God in how he chooses to reveal truth? Can he not use all types of literature to explain the truth if he wants to? Of course he can!

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The Teacher’s Triad

In one of the seminary subjects called “Educational Principles and Methods,” I learned something of great value from a great teacher. She called this principle as the “teacher’s triad.” She said that each lesson plan should contain these three elements together. I found this teaching of great value for those in the teaching profession. If you want to be a great teacher, I think you need this when you are in a teaching situation.

Head, Heart, Hand

These are the three elements of a good lesson plan: head, heart and hand. These three must go together in a good lesson plan. In a nutshell, my professor said that the head  stands for that part of the lesson where the teacher gives the basics (facts, information, head knowledge) of what the lesson is all about. The heart stands for that part of the lesson where the teacher touches the heart or the feelings and emotions of the students. And lastly, the hand part of the lesson stands for practical application or the doing part of the lesson learned — the call to action part of the lesson.

Knowing, Being, Doing

I like to  call these three also as: knowing, being and doing.

Knowing has to do with the head.” We have to know the facts— the information, the truth. A good teacher, teaches his students about the basics of a certain topic, what is good, what is bad, what is important, what is not, etc. This is head knowledge. This is usually where we start — a good start. But we must not end there without ever moving on forward.

This applies as well when we study doctrines. But this head knowledge should also be tempered and another ingredient should be added to it and that is, the “heart”—or the “being” aspect of the teacher’s triad. Our head knowledge should sink in and go deep into our hearts. We “internalize” it. It becomes part of us—our being. This is the part where our knowledge should progress into or move forward into. We grow to maturity.

Normally, without us thinking about it, when we get to know more and more about a certain topic or person, our knowledge (head) so fills us up such that it actually becomes part our being (heart) which moves us into action—to doing (hand).

Paul’s Damascus Experience

I believe this is what happens when God leads or grants a person repentance  ( Rom. 2:4; Acts 11:18). That is, when God opens a person’s mind, it is a life-changing event. It is God who opens our minds and when that happens, it’s a life-changing experience.

Before his conversion, the apostle Paul was one who had great knowledge (knowing/head) about the Jewish faith and he had a lot of zeal (being/heart) and he persecuted Christians (doing/hand). But his knowledge was not according to God’s knowledge (the truth). After he encountered Christ on his way to Damascus, Paul became a changed person. His “Damascus experience” led him to  know Christ better this time which led to a heart change which led to doing the right things. When we experience Christ, we know him better than when we first knew him at the start.

Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom

As we go through experiences in life, our head knowledge becomes added with “better knowing” or “better understanding” of what life is all about.  And with  better understanding we gain wisdom — the ability to decide at the appropriate moment to do what is right and avoid what is wrong. After we know the basics, our experiences in life — it takes time — will hopefully lead us to knowing better who Jesus is and who we are in him.

Teacher’s Triad

Because of what we know (head), our being is affected (heart) which moves us to action (hand). These are the three ingredients of a good lesson plan—head, heart, handthe teacher’s triad. According to my teacher, a good lesson plan should say something about the head (basic facts), about the heart (touch the heart) and about the hand (appeal for action, practical application).

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