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The Doctrine of Christ

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    Section IV—THE GREAT FACTS CONCERNING CHRIST

    LESSON FOURTEEN The Great Facts

    “The gospel is not a mere philosophy. It is the good news concerning Christ, the Son of God and Son of man. It has its basis in those facts concerning him which are set clown in the four records of his life. These facts are wrought into doctrine for us in the Acts of the Apostles, and are further interpreted for us in the Epistles. Our Christian experience depends upon our personal relation to those facts as thus interpreted to us. “The history deposits the material of the doctrine, for that material is nothing else than Christ manifest in the flesh-his incarnation, his obedience, his holiness, love, grace, and truth, his death and passion, his resurrection and ascension, and then, beyond these, his glorified life, and his coming and his kingdom, in which the past history finds its necessary and predicted issues.” “The gospel which the apostles preached consisted of two elements, a testimony of external facts which fell within the region of the senses, and a testimony of the virtue of those facts in the predestined government of God, and of the consequences of them in the spiritual history of men, neither of which was it possible for the senses to certify.” The foundation of the gospel is in facts which have come to pass, and will yet come to pass. Christ died, he ascended, he will come again, he will reign in glory. These are external facts. They enter the region of doctrine (as we commonly use the term) through their consequences to ourselves, through their effect on our own inward consciousness, through the uses and applications which may be made of them. If Christ died to bear our sins; if he ascended to be manifested in the presence of God for us; if he will come again to judge our state; if he will reign in glory to perfect our salvation; then these, facts, in themselves external to us, are external no longer. They are among the grounds of a whole system of thought and habit of feeling, and when taught as such they grow into a scheme of doctrine.” “The importance in the whole course of instruction of first fixing on the mind both the objective reality of the facts and the living portrait of the person, is further intimated by the fourfold repetition of the history. Four times does the Lord walk before us in the glory of grace and truth, and whatever correspondences or variations the Gospels may exhibit in other parts of their narratives, four times are the great facts of the death and resurrection of Christ rehearsed to us in the minuteness of circumstantial detail.” “Christian doctrine does not ground itself on speculation. It begins from the region and the testimony of the senses. Its materials are facts, and it is itself the interpretation and application of them.”TDOC 37.1

    Seven facts

    “In the manifestation of the person of Christ, the great center of the gospel, seven facts, around which many minor events cluster, stand out prominently. They are: The deity of Christ; the incarnation of Christ; the atoning death of Christ; the resurrection of Christ; the ascension of Christ; the mediatorial work of Christ; the Second Advent of Christ. The testimony to these facts is found in the history, the types, and the predictions of the Old Testament. They appear in, concrete form in the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Gospels, and are interpreted and applied in personal experience in the other writings of the New Testament. “We have not followed cunningly devised fables.” “The Christian doctrine is a doctrine concerning facts which have occurred and a person who has been manifested within the sphere of human observation. The foundations of all that is to be known of the Word of life was laid in that which was seen with the eyes, and heard with the ears, and handled with the hands of men. In the facts of Christ’s life and death, as we ponder them and grow up to understand them, we get to see more and more the key to all things. For thought, as for life, he is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the ending. All that we can or need know about God or man, about present duty or future destiny, about life, death, and the beyond, all is in Jesus Christ, and to be drawn from him by patient thought and by abiding in him.”TDOC 38.1

    “We shall now study these facts, their interpretation, and their application to Christian experience. We shall thus see how that all the vital doctrines of the gospel are rooted in these facts, and that our hope of salvation, and our message to the world, do not rest upon a collection of theoretical dogmas evolved from isolated texts in the Bible, but upon the manifestation of a person, Jesus Christ, “in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden.”TDOC 39.1

    NOTES: Facts, not philosophy

    “The gospel is pre-eminently factual. It stands in the facts of the incarnation and the atonement, and not in any philosophies or theories of them.”TDOC 39.2

    Recognizing the facts

    “We must duly recognize all the great facts of his incarnation, and his resurrection and ascension, and the apostolic teaching that he ever lives to make intercession for us.”TDOC 39.3

    The meaning of the facts

    “The complete exposition of the gospel was the result of a combination of the facts and the words of the old dispensation with the facts and the words of the new, a combination effected in the minds of the apostles under the teaching of the Holy Ghost, who thus brought to light the meaning and the scope of his own earlier inspirations, preserved in the law and the prophets.”TDOC 39.4

    The sum of Paul’s preaching.TDOC 39.5

    “The three historic facts of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, viewed in their relation to sin and salvation, constituted the sum and substance of the preaching of this great apostle.”TDOC 39.6

    The interpretation of the facts

    “The facts are finished when Jesus is glorified; the manifestation of the Son of God is perfect, the redemption is accomplished, and the conditions of human salvation are complete. The history must now be treated as a whole, of which the plan and purpose have become apparent. The time is come for the full interpretation of the facts, of their effects in the world of spirit, and of their results in human consciousness.”TDOC 39.7

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