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Time and Eternity: Chapter 5 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joseph R. Holder   

Chapter 5

                                                        The Unchanging Christ


                Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.  Hebrews 13:8, 9.


Several years ago, during a discussion I had with a neighbor on religion, the neighbor described certain peculiar beliefs and practices he held.  Immediately, upon stating his belief, he said, "Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, today, and for ever."  His inference was clear.  If these practices existed in the Apostolic Age or the life of Christ, they gained automatic acceptance for all time.  His allegation carries a certain logic, but all logic fails unless it finds biblical support.


After the conversation, I thought for some time about the nature of Christ.  Did he begin with the virgin birth?  How is he different now in heaven than he was before his First Advent?  As I searched the scriptures for more insight, the real impact of this verse from Hebrews closed in upon my thoughts.  Jesus lived here as a man for about thirty three years.  Thirty three years as a fraction of the earth's history is minuscule.  How does thirty three years relate to eternity?  The flaw in this friend's thinking became obvious.  He judged Christ's eternal being on the basis of his brief life on earth.  By this course, he ignored the eternity of Christ.  When we fully grasp the life of Christ, we will find that it altogether harmonizes with his eternal nature.  However, without giving consideration to his eternal nature, we risk a superficial interpretation of his life on earth.


Take a logical journey back through the epochal events of God's dealings with man.  At each juncture, think about this verse which displays an unchanging Christ.  At the time the Hebrew letter was written, the ascended Christ was seated at the Father's right hand in heaven.  Think back to the day when a handful of disciples watched from a quiet mountain top as Jesus ascended out of their sight.  As you recall the angelic message of Christ's promised return, ask yourself, "Did he change or remain the same?"  Stand beside Joseph's new tomb the day after Christ's crucifixion, and again ask yourself this question?  Look upon the cross with your Lord hanging on it.  Ask the question.  Go to Bethlehem thirty three years earlier.  Stand beside the manger where the infant Jesus lay.  Ask the question.  Trace your steps into Old Testament times, and repeat the question. 


Next, think about Jesus Christ today.  Is he different or the same as he was in those past events you considered through his yesterdays?  If he fed Elijah with ravens, can he provide for your necessities?  If he delivered the lion, the bear, and the Philistine giant into David's hands, can he deliver your frightful enemies into your hands today?


Now move forward into the future to that day of all days, the day which David saw in his dying confession, a day without clouds.  Think of the voice which will wake the dead.  See him stand before his Father in final victory.  Ask the question. 


Instead of allowing free-flowing imagination or philosophical thought to answer the question at each of these occasions, let this verse supply you with God's answer.  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.  Now, my friend, you have begun to think of Christ as you should.  As this profound truth closes in upon you, does this sense of the eternal Christ change your image of his thirty three years on earth?  It should!  According to the verse, this thought should form the backbone for the whole gospel message.  It comprises the "End of their conversation," the grand conclusion of everything represented by the faithful minister of Jesus Christ.


Without question the visible image of Christ's body changed from birth to death.  His resurrected body probably looked some way different from his body, as he hung on the cross just before his death.  But the essential Christ, the real being, is the same, "Yesterday, today, and for ever." 


When you consider the eternity of God and the fact that Jesus is the Second Person in the Triune being of God, this conclusion follows naturally.  When you think of his thirty three years of dwelling in a growing living human body, the conclusion becomes more difficult, but nonetheless true.  John expressed the mystery of the eternal God in one of the most despised verses in the entire Bible, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one," I John 5:7.  Only as you believe all of this verse will you hold to a balanced faith.  It is easy within the scope of various religious philosophies to accept half of this verse.  Some hold only to the first half of the verse, but deny the last half.  They believe in three gods on three thrones.  Unbiblical!  Others believe in the second half, but deny the first half.  Unbiblical!  To hold to the full truth of biblical teaching on Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and for ever, you must believe all of the verse, "There are three ... and these three are one."  Both parts of the verse speak of essential truth.


What practical value does this truth have to us?  Everything!  How often do we condemn ourselves or others for a moment of sin?  Well we should, for God hates sin in the life of his children.  At the moment of condemnation, do we consider what the eternal Christ, the One who is the same throughout time, does for that sin?  We can agree that he disapproves and that he chastens the sinful child.  Can we also agree that his love continues uninterrupted?  Can we grasp that he loves his child at that moment just as deeply and eternally as he ever did?  Before we become too judgmental toward our personal sins or sin in others, we should think back to our Lord's life on earth.  The most popular professional religionists of his day, the Pharisees, often condemned him for "Eating with publicans and sinners."  Every time they condemned him, he defended his action.  "I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."  Remember the man who invited him to dine in his home, but then silently condemned him for allowing the sinful woman to wash his feet.  Remember, he told this man that the amount of forgiveness measured the amount of love.  The ones who know that all of their many sins are forgiven will love him much.  The one who thinks he never committed much sin will love little.  When you catch yourself in sin, do not fail to heed the condemnation of conscience within.  Repent hastily and heartily!  Then eagerly recall that the same Jesus who sat down and lovingly ate with sinners sits with you to dine and fellowship now.  And as you meditate on how much he has done for you, do not forget to wash his feet with your tears of joyful thanksgiving, and to love him above all others.


                God shall alone the refuge be,            
                And comfort of my mind; 
                Too wise to be mistaken, He,       
                Too good to be unkind.
                In all his holy, sovereign will,  
                He is, I daily find,       
                Too wise to be mistaken, still      
                Too good to be unkind.     
                (When I the tempter's rage endure,    
                'Tis God supports my mind;         
                Too wise to be mistaken, sure,        
                Too good to be unkind.)     
                (When sore afflictions on me lie, 
                He is (though I am blind) 
                Too wise to be mistaken, yea,      
                Too good to be unkind.)  
                What though I can't his goings see,
                Nor all his footsteps find? 
                Too wise to be mistaken, He    
                Too good to be unkind. 
                Hereafter he will make me know, 
                And I shall surely find,   
                He was too wise to err, and O,        
                Too good to be unkind.   
                      Samuel Medley
Last Updated ( Monday, 09 April 2007 )
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