Flourish

A worship resource for Christian theology, creativity, and fellowship at Springhill Presbyterian Church

Jesus’ Theology

I came across the following article in J.I. Packer‘s book, Concise Theology: A Guide To Historic Christian Beliefs. I really appreciated its overview of these three theological themes that Jesus revealed:

Jesus was Son of God incarnate, and his teaching, given him by his Father (John 7:16–18; 12:49–50), will stand forever (Mark 13:31) and finally judge its hearers (John 12:48; Matt. 7:24–27). The importance of paying attention to it cannot, therefore, be overstressed. Jesus taught as Jewish rabbis generally did, by bits and pieces rather than in flowing discourses, and many of his most vital utterances are in parables, proverbs, and isolated pronouncements responding to questions and reacting to situations.

Out of Jesus’ witness to his Father, to people’s need, and to his own role, three theological themes take form:

1. The kingdom of God. This is a relational reality that came with Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s plan for history, of which Old Testament prophets had constantly spoken (Isa. 2:1–4; 9:6–7; 11:1–12:6; 42:1–9; 49:1–7; Jer. 23:5–6). The kingdom is present with Jesus; his miracles are signs of it (Matt. 11:12; 12:28; Luke 16:16; 17:20–21). The kingdom becomes real and crucial in a person’s life when he or she submits in faith to the lordship of Christ, a momentous commitment that brings salvation and eternal life (Mark 10:17–27; John 5:24). The kingdom will be preached and will grow (Matt. 24:14; 13:31–33) until the Son of Man, now reigning in heaven, reappears for judgment and, in the case of his faithful servants, for joy (Matt. 13:24–43, 47–50).

2. The saving work of Jesus. Having come down from heaven at the Father’s will to bring chosen sinners to glory, Jesus died for them, calls and draws them to himself, forgives their sins, and keeps them safe till the day of their resurrection, glorification, and introduction into heaven’s happiness (Luke 5:20, 23; 7:48; John 6:37–40, 44–45; 10:14–18, 27–29; 12:32; 17:1–26).

3. The ethics of God’s family. The new life, which comes to sinners as a gift of God’s free grace, must be expressed in a new life-style. Those who live by grace must practice gratitude; those who have been greatly loved must show great love to others; those who live by being forgiven must themselves forgive; those who know God as their loving heavenly Father must accept his providences without bitterness, honoring him at all times by trusting in his protecting care. In a word, God’s children must be like their Father and their Savior, which means being utterly unlike the world (Matt. 5:43–48; 6:12–15; 18:21–35; 20:26–28; 22:35–40).

— Packer, J. I. (1993). Concise theology: a guide to historic Christian beliefs. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.

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