Friday, July 29, 2005

Learning Obedience

Hebrews 5.8 says, "So even though Jesus was God's son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered" (NLT).

Why did Jesus have to learn obedience? I have heard many people say that Jesus could not have sinned because God is incapable of sin, and Jesus and his father are one. So if he couldn't sin, why did he have to learn obedience?

19 comments:

jettybetty said...

I think from the human part of Him, He did have to learn obedience--and the reason that is important is--He can understand now how hard that is for me to learn obedience. I don't think everything he learned was easy for Him--I think He always obeyed--but He struggled some.
Now are you totally confused??? I think I might be.

JB

Tony Arnold said...

My opinion:

Because He became man just a we are, the only way He could perform the perfect sacrifice. He had to be human to do it, He could not be relying on super-natural power. So if you are man, you have to learn obedience.

Tony

JMG said...

I agree with that, Tony. I don't think that when he was here on earth, he was anything more than a man. All this "fully God and fully man" stuff just doesn't get it for me. If he was God on earth, he couldn't have been tempted because James tells us that God cannot be tempted. The only way to learn obedience is to suffer through temptation.

Ayatollah Mugsy said...

I can't speak for Jesus, but I will say that obedience training was an important part of my upbringing.

jettybetty said...

Well, I hate to "stir the pot" here--but, if He were all human could he have called 10,000 angels in? I know He didn't do it, but could He have if He were all human??

JB

Tony Arnold said...

Good question Jettybetty. I would not say that Jesus did not have access to his God nature or Super-human power. I would think He did and never availed Himself of it. That is even a greater temptation than any man could ever experience, yet He still obeyed. So Christ was tempted not only as man, but beyond the limits of man. Wow, what a Savior!

Again, my opinion.

Tony

jettybetty said...

I agree with Tony's opinion--He really was totally God--He chose to not ever use the super-natural power while living as a human on earth.

And AMEN--what a Savior!!

JB

JMG said...

You could be right about him simply not availing himself of his "God power." But the reason I think he was human and not God when he was on earth is because of what he told his disciples: "anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, because the work of the Son brings glory to the Father. Yes, ask anything in my name, and I will do it!" (John 14.12-14) and in his prayer: "My prayer for all of them [his disciples and those who believe in him] is that they will be one, just as you and I are one Father--that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are--I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one" (John 17.21-23). The way this reads to me is that if we walked so completely in God's spirit as Jesus did, we could do the same and even greater works--but we can't do greater works than God. I have always heard it taught that Jesus being "one" with God means that he is God. However, I think that them being "one" means that they shared the same vision for the world; when we as disciples come to share that same vision, we are one with them, but that doesn't make us God. When we become one with them, then we are walking completely in God's Spirit and have the same access to his power that Jesus did.

If you can't tell from what I'm saying here, I'm a non-trinitarian. I know that makes some people uncomfortable, but I really do believe that Jesus is the divine son of God who came to earth and died on the cross and was resurrected and is now seated at God's right hand.

JMG said...

Mugsy, obedience is a tough thing to learn. My Jack Russell Terriers are very strong-willed and would rather disobey than obey even when obedience is obviously the better choice. Well, it's obvious to me anyway.

Hmmm. There seems to be a parallel between people and pups.

jettybetty said...

JMG,
What is non-trinitarian? You don't believe God, Jesus (the Son) and Holy Spirit are One?

I think what Jesus was saying was that the power of the Holy Spirit working through believers will do amazing things--things people just cannot do. Is that how you understand that?

JB

JMG said...

"the power of the Holy Spirit working through believers will do amazing things--things people just cannot do."

Yep, that's pretty much how I see it.

As far as being non-trinitarian, that just simply means that I don't believe in the traditional idea of "God in three persons." I think that God and Jesus are two separate entities altogether--Jesus is God's son. I think that God is the Holy Spirit--God is holy and God is a spirit. I don't see the need for a God who is a holy spirit to have a separate Holy Spirit.

I believe that Jesus is, for lack of a better word, subordinate to God. Jesus always claimed that he was doing what his father told him to do, not his own will.

There are some who would say this is heresy. I think it's just a different way to understand who God and Jesus are.

Tony Arnold said...

If you accept Jesus as your Savior, and recognize Him as the risen Son of God, according to Him you are saved. So not having the Trinity in your theology like many do, is not a salvation issue. In my opinion. I do accept the Trinity idea as a way of understanding God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, but I still don't understand it all. And most of the time I don't worry to much about my not grasping everything. I have so much simple stuff, clearly define stuff to fix in my life.

Tony

jettybetty said...

Nope, this would not be a salvation issue to me either. I don't ever think I will figure everything out about God here on earth--I do think I will understand a lot more in heaven! I have a lot of clearly defined stuff to work on, too!

When I first read that you were a non-triunist--I thought about my days as a children's leader in BSF. (This in itself was an absolute hoot, because I am awful with other people's children--that's way another blog.) To explain the "Trinity" to the children, we had 2 visuals: one was an egg--you know an egg has 3 parts, but it's just one egg---then an apple has 3 parts but it's just one apple--that's obviously not straight from scripture--but the kids seemed to always buy it--it just all came back for a moment there! I don't think you have to believe it to be saved!

JB

JMG said...

Thanks for the "vote of confidence," Tony and JB! I don't go around talking about this issue simply because so many people tend to get bent out of shape about it. For example, my belief keeps me from joining the Christian faculty group on campus. They want you to sign a statement of faith, and one of the articles is belief in the trinity. Oh well.

I like what you said over on the MD blog, Tony: "Too much of our beliefs and tenets are theology rather than being Christ incarnate and God's will enacted in our life." Sometimes people get so hung up on differences in theology that they become ineffective disciples. I'm glad I hooked up here with a group of open-minded and committed disciples!

JMG said...

By the way, JB, are you going to go study Genesis at BSF this year?

I know what you mean about working with the kids. I never fill out the purple volunteer card!

jettybetty said...

Too bad you can't be a part of the faculty group over this--I need to study it more--just so I will know more why I believe what I believe. I do really like Tony's quote there, too--so true!

Not sure about Genesis--I may have shared with you that is the one study I have not done with BSF--however, last year I got involved with a group of ladies at church and I may stay with them this year. We developed some deep relationships--and I would like to stay with them. They are doing a Beth Moore study--and I really like Beth Moore. So, I will just pray and see where I need to be. My husband has done Genesis--and it is one of his favorites.

Speaking of Genesis--how do you explain Gen 1:26 "Let us make man in our image." (emphasis mine) Hopefully you know me well enough by now--I am not judging--I would be interested in your thoughts.

I taught children at BSF for 4 years--my teaching leader thought it was interesting to have a former college prof teaching kids. I learned a lot, but I don't choose to teach kids.

Are you going to do Genesis?

JB

JMG said...

JB, I think God was talking to his son. I think Jesus was there when the earth was created. I just don't think Jesus was more than human when he was here on earth.

Yep, I'll be doing Genesis.

K said...

JMG --

As a follow-up to Jettybetty's question about the 'us' in Genesis (because I am interested in your views, as you explained them) -- what about the beginning passages in John (I think!) where the writer says, "all things were made through him (Jesus), and by him, etc. . . "

Thanks!

Paul said...

I applaud you JMG for writing in your blog that you are non-trinitarian even though you are aware of how some people will view that and the problems that causes for some people. Something that not a lot of people who name the name of Jesus have spent much time thinking about is that Jesus was not a trinitarian either. When you read and study Mark 12:28-34 and realize that the scribe who shared the same language, culture, and Scriptures as Jesus could agree with Jesus because he quoted Deut. 6:4-5 as being the foremost commandment of all, (and no one makes the claim that the Jews were trinitarian), and that Jesus saw that the scribe was wise in his response to Jesus because he said that God is one (that's unitarian as opposed to trinitarian) you have to begin to question the trinitarian dogma that developed over the first few centuries after Christ and has been with the church as a tradition ever since. [was that a run-on sentence?] A careful reading of Deut. 6:4 will show that the one called God is Yahweh, the self-existent one. Yahweh, the God of Israel, is often called Father in the OT (see Deut. 32:6 & 18, 1 Chronicles 29:10 and many other places in the OT). Jesus calls the God of Israel Father also. Jesus says in his prayer to the Father in Jn 17:3 that the Father is the only true God.

I happened across your blog article about Jesus learning obedience so thought I would invite you to read my article on Hebrews 5:8 at "thewordsarespirit@blogspot.com"

Paul