He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3).
Jesus is described here in the ESV translation as having the “exact imprint” of God’s nature. Other translation render this as the “exact representation” (NASB) or “express image” (KJV), but the idea is the same. Now, this book of Hebrews was written to, well naturally, Hebrew people. That is, people who had come from an Old Testament Jewish background. And how does Old Testament define the nature of God?
- Eternal – “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2).
- All Powerful – “Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).
- All Knowing – “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure” (Psalm 147:5).
- Omnipresent – “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:24).
- Unchanging – “For I the LORD do not change” (Malachi 3:6).
This is only a partial list of the characteristics of God’s nature. If you omit any of these characteristics, you have grossly neglected describing the one true God of the universe. And if Jesus did not possess any of these attributes, then he would in no way be the “exact representation” of his nature as described in Hebrews chapter 1. But Jesus did possess all those characteristics and all the others I did not list, because he was truly God in flesh. And this was to fulfill what had been foretold by God through the prophet Isaiah long before Jesus’ birth:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
The Mighty God came down in the form of a child to save his people from their sins.
Most Christians are familiar with the passage in Acts 4:11-12 in which we are told that Jesus is the only way we can be saved:
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:11-12).
It is interesting that the Old Testament records a passage written about 700 years prior to Jesus in which we are taught that the LORD (literally Yahweh) is our only Savior:
You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior (Isaiah 43:10-11).
Sine we know that Jesus is also fully God, these passages are easy to harmonize. It is also a great reminder that God’s ultimate plan of redemption for his people has never changed. The depth of the revelation culminated in the coming of Christ Jesus, but the plan was clear from the beginning.
Filed under God, Salvation
What I believe with my mind and with my heart often seem to be two different things. I know from Scripture that God can save absolutely anyone he chooses to save. No one’s sin is so great that they cannot be forgiven through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. The prophet Isaiah wrote:
Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save (Isaiah 59:1).
Yet, my heart often tries to convince me that the sinful world I live in cannot experience revival. That God cannot reach this nation. That this God-hating, sin worshiping, immoral world is beyond the reach of the Gospel. That there is no hope of revival in America any longer.
But these thoughts of mine are sinful. Wickedly sinful! It is a reminder that my “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). That I could doubt, even for second, the ability of God to move in the hearts of people and save them is wickedly sinful…and arrogant.
Yes, this nation is truly full of God-hating, sin worshiping, immoral people—like I once was. And if God can save me, then he can save them too.
This past weekend at church, we had an uplifting report given by missionaries who serve primarily Iranian refugees living in Turkey. The missionaries reported on the miraculous work the Holy Spirit is doing among the Muslim world in bringing people to saving faith in Christ Jesus through the preaching of the Gospel. This report was both encouraging and convicting. Encouraging to see what great things God continues to do in this world. Convicting because I regularly doubt his ability to do so.
Forgive me Lord God for thinking that your arm is too short to save. Thank you Lord God for continuing to work despite my unbelief. “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
I am always amazed when I read Isaiah chapter 53. It is such an amazing prophecy of Jesus and his suffering for my sin. While reading through it again recently, I was struck by the beginning of verse 10
“Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him” (Isaiah 53:10).
As a father of 5 children, I cannot for a moment begin to imagine taking the life of any of my children for the sake of others. How great and wonderful is the love of the God of my salvation!