Sunday word BY PROSPER TINGINI
Christ is the foundation of the Christian religion, the cause for its formation. He is seen as a God in some Christian circles. His real identity and purpose in our Christianity is sometimes misconstrued or misunderstood depending on the ideological teachings across the Christian denominations.
During his short time ministering God’s gospel among the people, he was often referred to as a “teacher” by his then religious followers, including some of his disciples (Matthew 19:16, Mark 10:17, Luke 18:18). Indeed his teachings were awesome and glorious despite an absence of a known religious schooling background about him. His revered stature has over periods of time grown from “religious teacher” to a God, as witnessed in some of the churches of today.
I personally take him to be the Lord our Saviour, in the sense that he became the sacrificial lamp for the atonement of sins. His death, his blood and flesh paid for the forgiveness of our sins. Just like in Abraham’s case where God substituted the life of Isaac, the son, with a ram as a sacrificial offering, in this instance He made Jesus to be the sacrifice for the wiping away of our sins.
As a remembrance for the purpose of his coming and of his death, Jesus Christ addressed his disciples at the last supper (Matthew 26:26-28). He took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to his disciples and said, “Take, eat, this is my body.” And he then took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”. This statement sums up his purpose for mankind.
In Leviticus 17:11, God gives us the significance of blood as an offering, saying; “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that make atonement, by the reason of the life in it”. While the blood of Christ represented the forgiveness of our sins, his body or flesh represents the sin offering, as the bread for the Lord (Leviticus 1:9). In that vein, Jesus Christ made the wine he gave to his disciples to be a representation of the blood. He also made the bread (Holy Communion) to be a representation of his flesh in fulfilment of his Father’s ritual requirements for the forgiveness and washing away of our sins. To me, that was Jesus’ most significant purpose on our planet Earth.
How Jesus is now regarded as the God in some Christian circles and not as the original purpose, of being his Father’s sacrificial substitute for the forgiveness of human sins boggles my mind. After the death of Christ, his teachings spread like wild fire across the globe igniting what was to be later known as the Christian crusades, holy wars that were fought in support of Jesus’ mission and purpose, and in his name. Out of the ashes of these wars arose the new view that Jesus Christ was indeed a God. The first notable person to want to spread this inclination was none other than Emperor Constantine, ruler of the Roman Empire between 306AD to 337AD. His mother, Helen, was the one to first convert to Christianity and then to bring the same conversion to her son, Constantine. Upon assuming power to the throne, he placed a blanket ban on all Christian persecution in all Roman Empires. He then proceeded to wage the religious Christian crusades in an effort to enforce the Christian religion across the entire Roman Empire and beyond.
There were overwhelming successes and victories militarily so much that Emperor Constantine convinced himself and others that Jesus Christ was indeed a god. An event that is said to have occurred to him in one of his most crucial battles in 312AD is said to have inspired and sealed his view that Christ is in fact God. While on the battlefield, Emperor Constantine and a group of his soldiers are said to have seen a sign of the cross up in the sky alongside with the words “With this sign you shall conquer” written in their Roman language. He went on to win the ensuing battle very decisively, against all odds. Henceforth, the ideology that Jesus Christ was indeed God was rooted.
We should remember that during that time the Romans worshipped many gods. They had gods named after the Sun, the Moon, planets and etc, Jesus Christ thus became one of the gods. To promote that ideology Constantine organised a meeting of the Christian Church Fathers in the city of Nicaca (Nice) in 325AD where he presented the idea of the divinity of Christ, that Jesus Christ was indeed a God. However, some Christian leaders opposed the idea and it failed to be decreed.
The arguments persisted thereafter. More than a century later in 381AD, Emperor Flawins Theodosins reorganised another meeting of the Church Elders, referred to as the Council of Constantinople, in the modern day city of Istanbul in Turkey. It was agreed in that meeting to adopt the doctrine of the Holy Trinity encompassing the godliness of Jesus Christ. The doctrine established the 3 in 1 concept of God being an entity of three, i.e God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
I remain skeptical on the validity of the holy trinity doctrine since God the Holy Spirit part of it appears to be just a duplication of God the Father, whom we know from onset to be in the spiritual form. I strongly believe in the oneness of God as supported by many verses of our Scriptures. In Deuteronomy 6:4 God spoke, “Hear, O Israel; the Lord your God is one Lord”. In the book of Isaiah 43:10, He also speaks; “You are my witnesses, 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”. The first of the Ten Commandments is also explicit on the oneliness of God. Exodus 20:1-3 reads; “I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods besides me.” Let it be according to these words, spoken by the one and only Almighty God.
Humanity has a propensity of creating Gods out of cherished things just like the Romans, Egyptians and many other religions of different cultures in many parts of the world.
Jesus Christ never made any pronouncements to the effect that he was God. He always referred to God as his Father, never at par with him. God was above him. He indeed preached that he was the way to his heavenly Father, meaning that he was the channel to God. He was thus making himself a medium to the Almighty, the way to the destination. Unfortunately, many Christians now misinterpret his words to mean as if he is the destination, thereby making him the God. He stood by the one-God principle to the very end and never attempted to elevate himself to be at par with God.
Prosper Tingini is the President of the Children of God Missionary Assembly. Registration in progress for those who wish to undertake Bible Studies or train as Ministers of Religion. Contact 0771 260 195 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org