It is my purpose, God so willing and enabling, to briefly take up some of the more modern forms of error, seeking to point out from the Word of God (avoiding abstruse theological terms, so far as possible) the special way in which these systems deny the truth which the Holy Spirit has revealed for our acceptance, as to the Person and Work of our Lord Jesus Christ. For, be it remembered, all fundamental error is aimed at the truth of His Person and Work, and is intended by its Satanic author to deter anxious souls from trusting alone in our blessed Saviour for their present and final salvation. By detracting from His dignity as the "Word made flesh" they impugn the perfection of His atonement. Where there are differences of opinion that do not reflect on these great themes we may well bear with one another; but the voice of God speaks with no uncertain sound as to our responsibility where the truth as to Christ is assailed. "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine [or, teaching] of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine [teaching] of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine [teaching], receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed; for he that biddeth him Godspeed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 9-11). The force of the original is even stronger, for it is really, "Neither greet him; for he that greeteth him," etc. By "the teaching" of Christ we are to understand both what He Himself taught while "in the days of His flesh," and what the Holy Spirit later revealed concerning Him.
It is necessary therefore, ere examining errors, that we should be clear as to what is really involved in the teaching, or doctrine, of Christ.
According to Scripture Christ Jesus is God from all eternity, the ever-living uncreated Word (John 1:1), whose glorious title is the Son, the Creator of the world and all things, who upholds all that exists (John 1:3, 10; Col. 1:13-17; Heb. 1:1-3); and because He underwent no change in all the past ages, He is of necessity "the Eternal Son" (John 1:2). "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16). He did not become the Son after He was given. He was ever that.
He became Man, the divine glory tabernacling in human flesh, God and man united in one wondrous Person—a mystery beyond our understanding, but revealed to faith by the Spirit through the Word (1 Tim. 3:16; John 1:14). As such He is Son of God in a new sense, as begotten in the Virgin's womb (Ps. 2). It was of this that the Father said, "Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee." He who had ever been God the Son was henceforth the Son of God as Man born into the world without a human father. "That Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Lk. 1:35). As Man He was possessed of a spirit and soul and body. Otherwise He would only have had the appearance of a man; but He became truly "the Man Christ Jesus," being made in all things like unto His brethren (Heb. 2:17). But He was both God and Man in one Person, and He so abides for all eternity. Being truly Man, He grew in grace and in wisdom as He increased in stature; yet He was ever the Eternal Wisdom, "the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). That there is great mystery here, utterly beyond human comprehension, we readily confess, but faith believes what God has revealed, although reason may not be able to clearly define it.
His humanity is and ever was, from the incarnation, holy and unspotted. Sin was ever to Him abhorrent. He knew no sin, either inward or outward. Yet in infinite grace He was made sin for us on the cross, when God's judgment fell on Him that we might be delivered from the coming wrath (Lk. 1:35; Heb. 2:14; 4:15; 2 Cor. 5:21).
Made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, He has been raised from the dead in the same prepared body in which He died, and now, as Man, sits, in that very body, glorified, on the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, God over all, blessed forevermore (Heb. 2:9; 13:20; John 20:27; Acts 1:9; Heb. 1:3; Rom. 9:5).
He is coming again, unchanged and unchangeable forevermore, to be revealed as the Judge of the living and dead (Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:16; John 5:26-29; 1 Pet. 4:5; 2 Tim. 4:1).
This is the Christ who saves. Any other is an Antichrist, and he who proclaims another is antichristian.
In the light of these truths we shall endeavor, therefore, to examine some of these popular systems.
"'What think ye of Christ?' is the test
To try both your state and your scheme;
You cannot be right in the rest,
Unless you think rightly of Him."