Archive for August, 2013

If you love me…
While practically speaking the process of becoming mature in Christ is not simple or clear-cut, there is no mistake that love is the end goal (love in unity). Love is the nature of God, while the term “divine nature” is not often used in the Bible there are mountains of material on the centrality of love in God and how Christians partake in it.

It is only through our union with Christ through the Holy Spirit that we are granted access to God who is love himself (for there is no love apart from God). Just as it says in Hebrews:

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
(Hebrews 6:19-20 ESV)

The love of God can’t be over emphasised it is at the core of who he is. That is why it is impossible to talk about biblical unity without talking about love. Love is the glue that binds a union together; it is the self-sacrificial nature that is love that makes it good for the preservation and growth of unity.

As Jesus says, if anyone considers themselves born of God then they would love him. Therefore the outward indication of anyones membership in this new human union is that they love Christ because Christ came from God and is God.

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.
(John 8:42 ESV)

However unity in God not only requires that you love him but that you love anyone who loves him too. Just as it says:

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen.
(1 John 4:20)

The union of Christ will grow strong in the love of God, where each member concerned with the welfare of every other member seeks the best for the whole. In doing this they will express the love of God appropriately within the order determined by God as the head of all things. So how do you show our love for Christ?

Jesus states that obedience to his commandments is proof that you love him. As he says:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments…
(John 14:15 ESV)

Love in unity is reciprocal. Christ who came from God and is loved by God will love those who love him, more than this his father will love them too. This is the nature of unity:

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
(John 14:21 ESV)

“Do as I say, then I will know you love me.” this is not the manipulation of a friend or lover who wants their own way. This is the command of the head of a new human union, of God himself, to seek first his kingdom by upholding and expressing the unity of the Holy Spirit. Christ does not speak out of turn or from selfish ambition, he speaks from obedience and love of his father. By his obedience we know that he loves his father who sent him. So Christ is asking all Christians to do what he is already doing, practicing love in unity through obedience to his head.

Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
(John 14:24 ESV)

And also:

…but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
(John 14:31 ESV)

Therefore this is the command that Jesus gives to all who are united in him, that they love one another with the love he has demonstrated (love in unity). By practicing this love it will be evident to the world that you are united in Christ, the unmistakable love in unity that comes from God.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
(John 13:35 ESV)

However love is not an ethic in itself, it is not enough. Love needs to be expressed within the context of the order of unity, otherwise all forms and expressions of love would be permissable.

Advertisements

God is Love
1 John 4:8 clearly states that God is love, not merely that he loves nor that he is the definition of love, rather that he is the only love. This is why it can be said that if you know love you know God. It is impossible to understand God without understanding love, on his terms. This is why when Adam and Eve rebelled against God their attitude toward each other (also creation and God) changed. Their actions had broken unity with love himself and in so doing they no longer shared in him. Therefore human nature became not-love.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love
(1 John 4:7 ESV)

The mark of those who are united to God is that they love. Not that they are capable of love, but that it defines them and they live it out constantly and consistantly.

When Christ came he revealed the love of God to the world, i.e. “while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Christ denied himself the position rightfully his as God, subjected himself to the flesh of Adam, the blood thirsty hands of men and ultimately death so that those who hated him might be brought into union with him (Philippians 2).

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
(1 John 4:9-12 ESV)

Therefore in Christ the world learned what true love is, the love of God in unity. How does this relate to Christian love?

The Divine Nature: One Love
2 Peter 1 is an important passage that explicitly draws the link between the nature of God and the nature all Christians are to strive to reflect (though imperfectly) in the present age. The same nature that is their birth right in Christ.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
(2 Peter 1:3-9 ESV)

It is only by knowing God in unity, through Jesus Christ, that all Christians are called to a life of unity for the glory of God. It is their unity in Christ, who is the fulfillment of all God’s promises, that all Christians become partakes of the divine nature. This is their inheritance in Christ after having been released from the corruption (disunity) that was their birth right in Adam. Once released from this corrupt union they become creatures of God’s design (as Adam was in the beginning), fully disposed to him, seeking his glorification and forgetting the ways of their former lives in Adam. All this is only made possible by the authority and power of God actively working to restore unity in himself.

Therefore in light of restored unity in Christ Christians are commanded to make every effort to take hold of this nature and promote their union in Christ while they are still in the flesh of Adam. It is because they are still in the flesh of Adam that they must make every effort, because they will not take hold of their true selves until the resurrection. So by increasing:
• faith with virtue, and
• virtue with knowledge, and
• knowledge with self-control, and
• self-control with steadfastness, and
• steadfastness with godliness, and
• godliness with brotherly affection, and
• brotherly affection with love.

Generally speaking reflecting the love of God in unity is not a simple matter of advancing through measurable stages of maturity to finally arrive at enlightenment (perfection). The Bible clearly states that as long as the flesh of Adam remains the sinfulness (nature) of Adam will also remain. What this process in 2 Peter 1 does is emphasise this fact, just like the command for Israel to constantly remind themselves of the law (Deuteronomy 6). In the present age reflecting the love of God is not a simple proposition this is why Christians are commanded to make “every effort”. This means that maturing in Christ will be a difficult process requiring constant reminders and significant suffering, and even then this process will not be complete until all Christians are reborn into the image of Christ on the last day.

There is only one love, the love of God in unity. This is the same love that is in Christ and the same love that all Christians are to demonstrate.

THE NATURE OF CHRIST
As previously discussed the flesh and order of marriage given to man still existed after the fall even though Adam and Eve’s attitude to them both had changed. Every subsequent generation of mankind was born into a state of disunity making this attitude (not love in disunity) the nature of fallen man. Therefore sharing in the flesh (disunity) of Adam brings with it a common nature/mind set defined by disunity with God. When Christ took on human form he became a member of Adam’s broken union, sharing in Adam’s corrupt flesh, literally subjecting himself to a decaying body (mortal, limited and dead). This raises an interesting question, How can Christ share in the flesh of Adam but not his fallen nature?

Before the fall Adam and Eve were human, sharing in an undefiled nature consistent with God (in union with/sinless). Yet after the fall they were still considered to be human even though they shared in a corrupt nature (because of their rebellion). Before his death and resurrection (a spirit only remains with a body while the body is alive) Christ shared in the flesh of Adam without sharing in the corrupt nature of Adam. This seems to indicate that the necessary condition for being human is sharing in the flesh (limitations included) of Adam but not necessarily his corrupt nature. Why then is the nature of Adam unavoidably transmitted to his race but not Christ? How is Jesus different from us and Adam?

There are a few reasons why Jesus does not and cannot share in the corrupt nature of Adam:
• Christ is a member of two unions, man and God.
• If Christ is indeed God he cannot share in the corrupt nature of Adam and maintain the unity of the trinity. Being God he must share in the divine nature and spirit of God.
• If Christ is indeed a sinless man then he cannot share in the corrupt nature of Adam, he must share in a nature that is consistent with God.

Before Christ was born into this world he was already part of a more important union (the trinity) that is the template for all unions. Meaning Christ was a member of two distinct unions (man and God). For him to maintain his links with both unions simultaneously he needed to share in the essential characteristics of both unions. For humanity it was a union in the flesh of Adam, for God it is a union of spirit (form) and love (divine nature, the original nature). Therefore Christ was one in flesh with man and one in spirit and love with God merged together in one person.

It is important to uphold both because Christ’s perfection (sinlessness) existed and originated in the context of the unity of God (the trinity). This shows that Christ must be understood in the context of his union with his father revealing that perfection can’t exist without a perfect union (i.e. he isn’t a rouge perfect human). Because Christ was not cut off from God he still had a direct link to the source of love (himself, the trinity).

While this sounds similar to the way Adam and Eve were able to be part of a human union and the union of all things under God it isn’t. While both are examples of people being part of more than one union the similarities end there. This is because of the distinction between God and man in the beginning, Adam and Eve were not united to God in the same way Jesus is (i.e. members of the trinity), this made it possible for the fall to occur.

The flesh of Adam can’t last beyond this temporal existence like the rest of this creation it must be destroyed to make way for the new creation. By his death and resurrection Christ died to the flesh and corruption of Adam and was reborn into a new spiritual body, immortal and of a greater glory than the flesh of Adam.

THE FORM OF CHRIST
As already discussed, Eve shared in the flesh of Adam which made her a suitable helper for him and that it is only by sharing in the flesh of Adam that anyone can be counted as human (i.e. this is what it means to be human). In the same way to be Christian means to share in Christ’s spirit, being reborn into it by dying to Adams flesh and being raised in the spirit of Christ.

RESURRECTION AND NEW HUMANITY
Through one man (Adam) came death, and in the same way through one man (Christ) came the resurrection of the dead to eternal life, this is why Jesus’ righteous act was greater than the trespass of Adam. These two heads are not the head of the same race. This new humanity under the headship of Christ is born out of the old humanity, it is only once the old humanity has died can the new be reborn in the image of Christ.

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
(1 Corinthians 15:42-49 ESV)

1 Corinthians 15 says that this is the natural order of things, death is required to bring life (for wheat to grow the kernel must die). So it must be for the birth of the new human union in Christ, before Christians are raised to life as part of this new humanity their earthly body must die. In the weakness of Adams flesh they are planted as the seeds for a harvest, a superior immortal union that will never waver, decay or fracture. It is the superiority of Christ and his headship that makes this union greater than that of Adam.

Adam was made from dust and had a body of flesh, whereas Jesus is from heaven with a spiritual body. Those who are born of flesh (from the union of a man and a woman) bear the image of Adam in their natural bodies. Those who are born of heaven (raised in the spirit of Christ) will bear the image of Jesus Christ in their spiritual bodies (on the last day and beyond).

It was Jesus’ resurrection from the dead that signified his mantle of headship. Jesus was the first to be reborn from the dead so that he (not anyone else) would be the head of this new human union (and ultimately the new creation). Just like Adam, Jesus is the first of his race (first-born). It was the subsiquent birth of every human into his Adam’s flesh that tied them to his fate. Likewise it is through the subsiquent death and resurrection (in Christ) of every Christian that they are able to fully take hold of the reality of their membership in this new human union.

UNITED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
However this reality has not yet dawned on those who are still in our earthly bodies (the flesh of Adam). They will not fully take hold of their union in Christ until all are raised from the dead on the last day. How then is it possible to be united to Christ if you are still in the flesh of Adam?

Those who are still in the flesh of Adam are only able to begin to take hold of our union in Christ now (set their minds on things of God) by the Holy Spirit. That is, Christ’s spirit living and working in them (unity in spirit). As it says:

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
(1 Corinthians 6:17 ESV)

And again it says:

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
(1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV)

It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit (which raised Christ from the dead) that all Christians are able to begin to turn our minds and actions to the things of God, i.e. live out their union in Christ. Romans 8 states that it is the Holy Spirit living in all Christians that unifies them in Christ, making them alive, despite the fact that they are subject to the decay and corruption of Adam’s flesh (earthly body). The Spirit of Christ is much more powerful than the flesh of Adam.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
(Romans 8:9-11 ESV)

Christians owe nothing to the flesh of Adam and have no obligation to continue to live the life of corruption they were born into. If anyone continues to live according to the ways of the flesh they show themselves to be dead (in Adam) by their own actions. Only by actively opposing the ways of the flesh (yourself) do they take hold of their inheritance in the union (kingdom) of God, as sons of God (humans of the new creation), in a renewed union/relationship with him.

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
(Romans 8:12-15 ESV)

Therefore know that this current form (flesh) is only temporary and that the Holy Spirit (of Christ) is working in all Christians (using the suffering they endure in their flesh) to prepare them for future glory, perfect unity in Christ.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-18 ESV)

As we struggle through this life we must fix our eyes on that which we cannot yet fully see, the glory of perfect unity in Christ, a renewed relationship with God. As suffering is multiplied to us we must persevere until we are reborn into the image of our Lord Jesus.

Head of a New Humanity
To understand God’s plan for the fullness of time (unity) requires an understanding of this new human union inaugurated in Christ, which requires an underatanind of its head Christ. This new humanity like the old humanity is defined by its head. It is Christ’s image that this new humanity bears (not Adam’s).

It must be first acknowledged that Adam and Jesus are not head of the same race. Adam was the first born in creation and all who are human share in his flesh, Jesus is the first born of the new creation (resurrected), so all who are Christian share in his spirit. A clear contrast between Adam and Jesus Christ is given is Romans 5:12-21.

One Man
In Romans 5 the phrase “one man” is used to describe the status that both Adam and Jesus have as the heads of their respective races (their race is one in them). It states that through a single act both men determined the course of their entire race. The rebellious act of Adam bringing death “once for all” and the righteous act of Jesus Christ giving bringing life “once for all”.

It the rebellious act of the “one man” Adam, sin and rebellion was introduced into the world. As discussed, the rebellion of Adam, in eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, constituted a rebellion against and rejection of God as creator and judge (head of all things). All who share in Adam’s flesh, Adamkind, share in his corrupt flesh. Therefore all who are born into Adam’s flesh are born into disunity and by their own actions (sin) are condemned to death.

When the law was given to Moses, mankind had been in rebellion and disunity since Adam. It is not by the law that humanity became sinners, the corruption of sin was already in the flesh of Adam when Moses was still in Adam’s flesh. Instead the law exposed mankind for what it really is, rebels, usurpers, deserters and covenant breakers.

Adam’s sin was different to the sins committed by the rest of his race because as head his sin affected the entire race (which was still in his flesh). Therefore in corrupting himself he forever tainted all who would come from him. He is the type of the one to come, Christ.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
(Romans 5:12-14 ESV)

Jesus Christ was born into the flesh of Adam, so that through his life, death, resurrection, etc he could pay the price for our rebellion in his flesh and restore the place of the union of humanity in the union of all things under God. as the new (better) Adam. So that whoever believes in him is reborn into his spirit partaking in his union (this is the free gift of Christ).

The righteous act of Jesus Christ is not like the sin of Adam because they have fundamentally different results. The sin of Adam brought judgement and condemnation for all mankind. The righteous act of Christ not only removed the judgement and condemnation of Adam’s flesh but brought those who trusted in him into a renewed union with one another and God. Because of Adam death had dominion over all born into his flesh and yet in Christ those who believe in him are united in his spirit and take their rightful place under God ruling in life.

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
(Romans 5:15-17 ESV)

Headship is central to understanding biblical unity. To understand this new human union requires knowing Christ. It is important to note that the headship of Adam and Christ have important implications for the physical image and nature of the members of their respective races.

How many times do I say Father
To understand God’s answer to the oldest question in the universe requires an understanding of the union of God. John 17 is the most important passage in understanding biblical unity. It provides a glimpse into the inner workings of the union of God through an interaction between Jesus and his Father (head). It reveals the ultimate purpose of Jesus and his followers.

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.”
(John 17:6-8 ESV)

To put it simply Jesus’ purpose in becoming human was to perpetuate unity in his Father. Jesus specifically prays for unity amongst all his followers, asking that all his people would be one as he and his Father are one. So this unity Christ came to establish was a human union in the image of his union with his Father. Making his union with his Father his motivation for doing this, unity perpetuates unity and disunity only perpetuates disunity.

In John 17 Christ demonstrates his union with his Father in the following ways:
• Jesus shows that he has an intimate understanding of the purposes and timing of God, not only for himself but for all those he was given (for his given purpose).
o Jesus knows that because his Father has given him authority over all flesh (to give eternal life in a new human union) it is time for him to return to his Father’s side. (vs2-5)
• All those who follow Jesus have been given to him by God the Father (vs2, 6 & 10). In unity all things come from God for the good of all.
• The words that Jesus gave to his followers were given to him by God the Father (vs7-8).
• Jesus has manifested the name of God the Father to his followers. More than words, his whole existence reveals God, unity and subjection to God (vs6).

Jesus’ union with his Father becomes apparant through his obedience to his Father in unity, meaning that the actions of Christ perfectly reflect his father to the world. By manifesting his Father’s name Christ is actively living out his union with his Father and teaching others to do the same. For Christ, manifesting his Father’s name means putting his Father’s name first in everything and doing nothing that his Father hasn’t first given him to do.

Subsequently Jesus’ (the Father’s) union with his people becomes evident through their obedience to the word and model of obedience they received from the Father through Christ. They trust in Christ believing that he came from his Father because of his obedience to his Father in unity. So they obey because Christ was obedient first. This was Christ’s purpose, to re-establish unity in God the Father. However obedience to the Father is not possible without first being united him.

And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
(John 17:11-12 ESV)

To be united to God is to persevere in unity (for eternity). Jesus asks his Father that all those he is given would persevere under his Father’s power, so that they may be one as God is one. It is only by persevering in the power of God that his people are one in the same way God is one (eternally). Jesus is not only praying for those who had been given to him at the time of his prayer, but all who he is given/all who will believe in him. This is so that their union would reflect the union of God and through their obedience in unity the whole world would know that Jesus was sent from God.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.
(John 17:20-23 ESV)

Christ specifically prays that his followers remain in the world (for a time) just as the Father sent him into the world (To be clear this is a unity of all believers) so that through their union the world would know that Christ was sent by his Father. Christ does not want his people to be in the world forever, asking that they might be with him in his presence so that they may see him in his full glory, the glory that he had with his Father before the beginning of creation (the glory of God in perfect unity). Christ is not praying this prayer to say that he is finished making his Father’s name known. Rather his union with the father is perfect; he will never be done making his Father’s name known or doing the will of his Father, this would require him to forget himself. This is what it means to persevere in unity; continual obedience to God the Father in Christ, making him known in every word and action, so that the love of God might be all and in all.

I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
(John 17:24-26 ESV)

This passage is a profound piece of scripture demonstrating the importance of unity in the image of God.

Any understanding about the union of God and his plan for the fullness of time can only be gained through Jesus Christ. Only in Christ is the love of God in unity made clear, the same love and unity that all things were created to reflect. Jesus is God and he is the new (better) Adam, the only one capable of being who is needed to remake and enhance what was unmade in Adam. Not only does Christ perfectly satisfy God’s justice and mercy he also satisfies God’s requirement and standard for unity (relationship).

Since the fracturing of the unity that existed between God and his creation in the beginning one question was left unanswered for generations: How can a God, who is one, allow a state of disunity to continue? Before the beginning God was one, in the beginning all things were one in him, however after the fall mankind became many apart from God. Because unity is an essential characteristic of who God is, disunity with God means to stand in opposition to him. Therefore to allow it to continue seems to imply that God is acting in contradiction with himself.

To help understand how God addresses the problem of disunity it is important to look at one of the most important statements God has ever made about himself. In Exodus 34, after the events of the golden calf at Sinai and after the people of Israel had been punished, Moses requests that God pass before him. When this happens God gives one of the most important descriptions of himself in the bible. Given how immensely complex God is and the unfathomable depths of his character, form, powers, etc there are seemingly endless ways he could describe himself. Therefore when God chooses to describe himself in the form of a contradiction (from a human perspective) special attention must be given to this contradiction:

The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
(Exodus 34:6-7 ESV)

He is the God who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin, but at the same time does not let any trespass go unpunished, meaning his judgement is always complete. How can this be? How can he forgive sin and at the same time deliver justice?

The answer to this contradiction is Christ, God and man in one being. He fulfils God’s requirement for justice and mercy but above all he fulfils God’s requirement for unity. He is the image of the invisible God, the exact imprint of his nature, who fulfils all God’s promises and in him man and all things are returned to unity in God. These statements reveal the perfect unity that exists between God and Christ, ultimately showing how the question of disunity that has seemingly existed in God since the fall is resolved in Christ.