THE basf - it's importance and teaching
“That being so begotten of God, and inhabited and used by God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us, God manifest in the flesh – yet was, during his natural life, of like nature with mortal man, being made of a woman, of the house and lineage of David, and therefore a sufferer, in the days of his flesh, from all the effects that came by Adam’s transgression, including the death that passed upon all men, which he shared by partaking of their physical nature. – Mat 1:23; 1Tim 3:16; Heb 2:14; Gal 4:4; Heb 2:17”
We have given abundant proof in our earlier studies, to illustrate how our Lord Jesus – though he were the Son of the Most High – nevertheless wore our “condemned nature”, enabling him to bear away both the condemnation and that which was in it being condemned – the diabolos. But in being “of like nature with mortal man”, the Lord inevitably experienced throughout his life the pains and sorrows common to all of Adam’s posterity. Truly he was “touched with the feeling of our infirmities”, for he, (as do we) travailed with a body under the dominion of death (Rom 8:9), and was therefore a sufferer of all of the effects of Sin –though he were personally “without spot”, holy and blameless. There was however, a difference, due to his personal holiness, and the nature of the work he was sent to do. He experienced the weakness and fragility of the flesh more than other men in the sufferings he endured, in the doing of his Father’s Will.
That this is indeed so, is made plain by the Apostle’s testimony concerning our Lord’s crucifixion, for speaking of that great victory over Sin, he wrote: “though he were crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak with him (marg), but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you”(2Cor 13:4). Our Lord then, was crucified “through weakness”. But wherein lay this “weakness”? It was not through want of Divine power, for he himself declared that he had twelve legions of Angels at his disposal, should he ask for them (Mat 26:53). Neither was it weakness of mind, as Bro Heaster would have us believe, claiming that he suffered “intellectual failure,” a “wavering in purpose”, for “he even doubted if he really was the Messiah” (Beyond Bible Basics, p 631, 636). Nay, such assertions are but the absurd ruminations of the flesh – any one of those options would make Christ a sinner, rendering him unsuited to be the perfect Sacrifice to take away the sin of the world.
In this place, the “weakness” referred to, is the “weakness” associated with being crucified; something which the Apostle contrasts with the “Power of God,” which effected his resurrection, and by which he now lives in an Immortals state.. It is plainly evident therefore, that the “weakness” our Lord experienced, was the hereditary weakness of the flesh, which rendered him prone to suffering and even death, as opposed to the power of Immortality, raising him to suffer no more.
But the time of our Lord’s “weakness” was not restricted to that brief period of suffering at the hands of Jew and Gentile combined. Being “made of a woman”, the BASF teaches how “in the days of his flesh,” he suffered “from all the effects that came by Adam’s transgression”, that is, an entire lifetime of travail under a cursed constitution, or order of things, experiencing hunger (Mat 4:2), tiredness (Jno 4:6), grief (Jno 11:35), and suffering (Heb 5:8). Truly he was, as the prophet depicts him, “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Is 53:3). Life afforded him no comforts, for he forsook the pleasures of sin that he might do the Will of Yahweh.
Naturally speaking, there was “no beauty that we should desire him” (Is 53:2); on the contrary, every line on his face bare testimony to the anguish he endured constantly in his lifelong warfare against the flesh. And to such an extent, that though he was in his early thirties, his enemies took him to be nearly fifty (Jno 8:57), having aged through the afflictions which he suffered. The Spirit of Christ in David spake of the life of Christ accordingly: “my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing”(Ps 31:10), and again: “I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I am gone like the shadow when it declineth: I am tossed up and down as the locust. My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness” (Ps 109:22-24). Whilst we quite rightly focus upon the sufferings of our Master at the time of his great sacrifice, let us never forget the lifetime of sufferings that went before it. After all, it is his mortal life of faithfulness in the face of constant adversity, that presents such a glorious example of obedience to his brethren: ” … when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps …” (1Pet 2:20,21).
THE MEMORY OF SUFFERING
This bearing of the infirmities common to all men, was crucial for the performance of our Lord’s role as a High Priest, for as the Spirit taught the Hebrews, a priest cannot be compassionate to others, unless he has experienced the nature of their sufferings for himself: “every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity” (Heb 5:1,2), and our Lord himself is no exception to this, for he himself was indeed “touched with the feeling of our infirmities”, as we are taught in the preceding chapter (Heb 4:15). But a point that arises from these things, is that it is the memory, the knowledge of the experiences of suffering that enables our Lord to be a faithful and merciful high priest for us. Bro Roberts explained it thus:
“He is now the corporealization of life-spirit as it exists in the Deity. But this change from what he was “in the days of his flesh” has not obliterated a single line of his human recollections. This is evident from Paul’s words in reference to his priestly function: “We have not an high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Heb 4:15). This can only be on the principle that Jesus retains a memory of the infirmity with which he himself was encompassed in the day of his flesh career upon earth” (Christendom Astray, P 94).
The experiences of our Lord thus give us a most interesting insight into what Immortality will be like for the saints. Though the former things will be greatly surpassed by the wonders of the Kingdom Age, we are not suppose that all cognisance of past events; will be erased from the minds of the faithful. On the contrary, the sufferings they had to endure will remain in their minds, that by way of contrasting one against the other, they will truly recognise that those afflictions were as nothing by comparision with the exceeding great weight of glory which will then be theirs.
GOD MANIFEST IN THE FLESH
The sufferings our Lord endured must be borne in mind at all times, if we are to truly recognise all that it meant for him to be “God manifest in the flesh”, as the Apostle declares he was (1Tim 3:16). He was Immanuel, God with us, the Son who perfectly mirrored the image of His Father (Jno 14:9); and that in spite of the human travail he experienced, in common with his brethren. He was, as it were, God made manifest in the weakness and sinfulness of human nature; for despite his many sorrows, he overcame and now sits enthroned in victory at the Father’s right hand.
Indeed, the real irony, is that it was the very afflictions which the Lord bare as a descendant of Adam, which moulded and shaped him to be wholly obedient. “though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb 5:8). Even though he inherited the Spiritual qualities and power to overcome from His Father, Christ was not innately ‘programmed’ to obey. It took a lifetime of affliction, suffering and learning for the Son to be sufficiently prepared, that he might undergo that greatest test of obedience, even his death upon the cross. Here then, is truly a wonderful example for those who would be his brethren. The way to Divine Glory is not an easy road, but a path of affliction. Those who would attain the victory with Christ ought not therefore seek to avoid the necessary sufferings the Father brings upon us, but rather seek to face them after his example, that so suffering with him, they might also reign with him.