This Week

  • Sunday: 8:00 a.m. Worship on the Levee Sternwheel; 10:00 a.m. Worship, Communion
  • Tuesday: Bible Study @ Jeremiah’s, 2 p.m.; Elders, 3 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Church Events, 1 p.m.
  • Thursday, 4 p.m. Caring Connection; 4 p.m. Insurance meeting; 6:30 p.m. Consistory
  • Saturday: Emmaus Reunion Group, 8 a.m.
  • AA Meetings: in the Parish Hall:
    • Tuesdays, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Discussion
    • Wednesdays, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Big Book
    • Fridays 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Discussion

Pastor Phil’s installation service will be on Sunday, October 2, 2022, at 4 p.m. A light supper will follow. All are invited.

Sunday morning messages are available on the website (www.stpaulsmarietta.org/audio). Tell your friends.

Sermon 9/11/2022: “Formerly”

The faith we have is not our own, it has been given to us. It belongs to Jesus Christ. Yet we must make it ours by making it real in our own lives through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

“12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

1 Timothy 1:12-17

“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. 8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Luke 15:1-10
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Jesus Was and Still Is Human

Dane C. Ortlund

The Importance of Christ’s Humanity

One of the doctrines in the area of Christology that is difficult for some Christians to fully grasp is the permanent humanity of Christ. The impression often seems to be that the Son of God came down from heaven in incarnate form, spent three decades or so as a human, and then returned to heaven to revert back to his preincarnate state.

But this is a serious error, if not outright heresy. The Son of God clothed himself with humanity and will never unclothe himself. He became a man and always will be. This is the significance of the doctrine of Christ’s ascension: he went into heaven with the very body, reflecting his full humanity, that was raised out of the tomb. He is and always has been divine as well, of course. But his humanity, once taken on, will never end. In Christ, the Heidelberg Catechism says, “we have our own flesh in heaven” (Q. 49).

One implication of this truth of Christ’s permanent humanity is that when we see the feeling and passions and affections of the incarnate Christ toward sinners and sufferers as given to us in the four Gospels, we are seeing who Jesus is for us today. The Son has not retreated back into the disembodied divine state in which he existed before he took on flesh.

And that flesh that the Son took on was true, full, complete humanity. Indeed, Jesus was the most truly human person who has ever lived. Ancient heresies viewed Jesus as a sort of blend between the human and the divine, a unique third kind of being somewhere in between God and man—heresies that were condemned at the fourth ecumenical council in Chalcedon (in modern-day Turkey) in AD 451. The Chalcedonian creed that came out of that council speaks of Jesus as “truly God and truly man” rather than a reduced blend of both. Whatever it means to be human (and to be human without sin), Jesus was and is. And emotions are an essential part of being human. Our emotions are diseased by the fall, of course, just as every part of fallen humanity is affected by the fall. But emotions are not themselves a result of the fall. Jesus experienced the full range of emotions that we do (Heb. 2:17; 4:15).1 As Calvin put it,

“the Son of God having clothed himself with our flesh, of his own accord clothed himself also with human feelings, so that he did not differ at all from his brethren, sin only excepted.”

The Emotions of Jesus

The great Princeton theologian B. B. Warfield (1851–1921) wrote a famous essay in 1912 called “On the Emotional Life of Our Lord.” In it he explored what the Gospels reveal about Christ’s inner life, what Warfield calls his “emotional” life. Warfield did not mean what we often mean by the word emotional—imbalanced, reactionary, driven by our feelings in an unhealthy way. He simply is noticing what Jesus felt. And as he reflects on Christ’s emotions, Warfield notes repeatedly the way his emotions flow from his deepest heart.

What then do we see in the Gospels of the emotional life of Jesus? What does a godly emotional life look like? It is an inner life of perfect balance, proportion, and control, on the one hand; but also of extensive depth of feeling, on the other hand.

Warfield begins his study of specific emotions in the life of Christ this way:

“The emotion which we should naturally expect to find most frequently attributed to that Jesus whose whole life was a mission of mercy, and whose ministry was so marked by deeds of beneficence that it was summed up in the memory of his followers as a going through the land ‘doing good’ (Acts 11:38), is no doubt ‘compassion.’ In point of fact, this is the emotion which is most frequently attributed to him.”

He then goes on to cite specific examples of Christ’s compassion. Throughout, he is trying to help us see that Jesus did not simply operate in deeds of compassion, but actually felt the inner turmoils and roiling emotions of pity toward the unfortunate. When the blind and the lame and the afflicted appealed to Jesus,

“his heart responded with a profound feeling of pity for them. His compassion fulfilled itself in the outward act; but what is emphasized by the term employed to express our Lord’s response is … the profound internal movement of his emotional nature.”

Hearing the plea, for example, of two blind men for sight (Matt. 20:30–31) or that of the leper for cleansing (Mark 1:40), or simply seeing (without hearing any plea) a distressed widow (Luke 7:12), “set our Lord’s heart throbbing with pity.”

In each of these instances Jesus is described as acting out of the same internal state (Matt. 20:34; Mark 1:41; Luke 7:13). The Greek word is splanchnizo, which is often rendered as “to have compassion.” But the word denotes more than passing pity; it refers to a depth of feeling in which your feelings and longings churn within you. The noun form of this verb means, most literally, one’s guts or intestines.

Whatever it means to be human (and to be human without sin), Jesus was and is. And emotions are an essential part of being human. (to be continued…)

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