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A LIVING CHRIST
There is and ever has been but one Christ. A change of nature does not change identity. Whether as the pre-existent One, as the Word made flesh, or as the High Priest who can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, He still is Lord, and as such we worship Him. "Ye call me Lord and Master," said He on earth, "and ye do well, for so I am." Forgiveness of sins is one of God's prerogatives. "He said to the sick of the palsy, 'Son, thy sins be forgiven thee,…that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins.'"
The wise men came at His birth to worship Him. (`Matt. 2`) The leper worshiped Him. They in the ship worshiped Him, as did also the ruler and woman of Canaan. Yet none were ever rebuked for it.
Even in the flesh He was "God manifest." From His character in its perfection we get our earliest and truest idea of God. When Philip
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requested to see the Father, He answered him, "Have I been so long time with you, Philip, and yet hast thou not known me? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father also, and how sayest thou, then show the Father." (`John`). Whether we, like Philip, become acquainted with Him through His earthly life, or by catching the spirit of the written word, whose vital teachings contain the image of Him whose name is called the Word of God, if so be that we know Him, it shall be to us eternal life. For to know Him is to know the Father also.
To worship a false Christ would indeed be sin, but to worship Christ in any form cannot be wrong, for when He bringeth the first Begotten into the world, He sayeth, "Let all the angels of God worship Him." And Again, "Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest…. As a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed, but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail." (`Heb. 1:6,10,12`.)
Mankind are represented as in a condition of death, because they are under sentence of death. Christ, who received from the Father an UNFORFEITED life, never entered that condition of death, never passed under sentence of death, until he voluntarily yielded himself into the hands of wicked men. Hence, whatever Scriptures typify his death (like the sacrifices of the law), or whenever His death is spoken of, the death on the cross, the only death He ever tasted, must be referred to. "In Him was LIFE, and the life was the light of men. John came to bear witness of that light. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not."
He did not die when He became human, yet He took upon Him new relations and new offices, and consequently new titles. Prior to His humanity He is never called the Son of God, nor ever spoken of as Christ, which means the Anointed (He was anointed at His baptism). Let us then remember when Christ is spoken of, it is in His office as the Anointed and not in His pre-existent state.
L. A. A.
— March, 1880 —