Slain From The Start
By Shawn Tomlin
It’s all too common in the modern mainline evangelical church to see Christ as something less than what He truly is. Christology has been lost. Too often is Christ thought of as a creature, someone God created with a purpose to fulfill. Hopefully, this piece will bring to light who Christ really is.
Paul, in his epistle to the Colossians (1:15-20) describes the reality of who Christ really is. “He is the image of the invisible God. the firstborn over all creation. For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth” (verses 15-16). This passage on its own is enough to realize that Christ is more than a guy God sent. “He is the image of the invisible God.” In fact, in the gospel of John, Jesus refers to Himself in saying statements such as, “I am the bread of life,” “I am the light of the world,” and “I am the good shepherd.” All these statements link Christ to the LORD in the Old Testament. Manna in the desert, light and darkness, and Ezekiel’s prophecy of the shepherd (Ezekiel 34:23). The biggest part of the statements are the “I am’s.” Going back to Exodus 3:14, we see God revealing His covenant name to Moses, “I AM”, or YHWH, or in our English bibles, this covenant name is written as “LORD.” Jesus is directly linking Himself to the eternal God.
Christ was born in human flesh with the purpose of redeeming His people. This was always His purpose…Christ was always the Lamb, is the Lamb, and forever shall be the Lamb, slain from the start for the forgiveness of sin.
From eternity past, Christ, the second person of the Trinity, a member of the Godhead, was always meant to be sent by the Father to dwell among His people, even before His incarnation. Many times in the Old Testament “the angel of the LORD” shows up and things are revealed about this “angel” that aren’t angelic, but divine. For example, in Exodus 23:21, God says of this “angel,” “My name is in Him.” Ok? Big deal… How does that show the eternal divinity of Christ? Glad you asked! Isaiah 42:8 says, “I am the LORD. That is my name, and I will not give my glory to another or praise to idols.” Here the glory of God is linked to His name, and if He doesn’t give that to anyone else, then why does the “angel” have His name in Him? Because this “angel” is distinct from YHWH, but at the same time has attributes that only the Father would have, as the divine name. This “angel” was the pre-incarnate Christ, the second person of the Trinity.
Philippians 2:6, when Paul wrote of Christ said, “who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited.” Christ’s obedience was key to Him being sent for the purposes of redemption. The Father and the Son were in total agreement here, since God cannot disagree within the Trinity. That can be bothersome though, since many see God of the Old Testament as so wrathful and Jesus as so loving. They were always coexistent along with the Spirit. If they were in complete agreement when Christ hung on the cross, they were in complete agreement when fire rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah.
Christ was born in human flesh with the purpose of redeeming His people. This was always His purpose. Christ is obedient to the Father and speaks often of being sent by Him. In John 17:5, Christ in praying to the Father, ends His prayer with, “Father, glorify me in your presence with that glory I had with you before the world existed.” The grace of our God is so overwhelming, it’s hard to put it into words, but before anything existed, Christ was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Christ was always the Lamb, is the Lamb, and forever shall be the Lamb, slain from the start for the forgiveness of sin.
“The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.”