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Confession of Faith - Article 2:
Jesus Christ

   

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We believe in Jesus Christ, the Word of God become flesh. He is the Savior of the world, who has delivered us from the dominion of sin and reconciled us to God by humbling himself and becoming obedient unto death on a cross.1 He was declared to be Son of God with power by his resurrection from the dead.2 He is the head of the church, the exalted Lord, the Lamb who was slain, coming again to reign with God in glory. "No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ."3

We confess Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, through whom God has prepared the new covenant for all peoples. Born of the seed of David, Jesus Christ fulfills the messianic promises given through Israel.4 As prophet, he has proclaimed the coming of God's kingdom and called everyone to repent. As teacher of divine wisdom, he has made known God's will for human conduct. As faithful high priest, he has made the final atonement for sin and now intercedes for us. As king who chose the way of the cross, he has revealed the servant character of divine power.5

We accept Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world.6 In his ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing, he proclaimed forgiveness of sins and peace to those near at hand and those far off.7 In calling disciples to follow him, he began the new community of faith.8 In his suffering, he loved his enemies and did not resist them with violence, thus giving us an example to follow.9 In the shedding of his blood on the cross, Jesus offered up his life to the Father, bore the sins of all, and reconciled us to God.10 God then raised him from the dead, thereby conquering death and disarming the powers of sin and evil.11

We acknowledge Jesus Christ as the only Son of God, the Word of God incarnate. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. As fully human and tempted as we are, yet without sin, he is the model human being.12 As fully divine, he is the one in whom the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. During his earthly life, Jesus had an intimate relationship with his heavenly Abba and taught his disciples to pray "Abba, Father."13 He is the image of the invisible God, and "all things have been created through him and for him, for he is before all things."14

We recognize Jesus Christ as the head of the church, his body.15 As members of his body, we are in Christ, and Christ dwells in us. Empowered by this intimate relationship with Christ, the church continues his ministry of mercy, justice, and peace in a broken world.16

We worship Jesus Christ as the one whom God has exalted and made Lord over all. He is our Lord and the not-yet-recognized Lord of the world. We live in the assurance of his coming again as the one by whom all humanity will be judged. He is the one who shall be acknowledged Lord of all, and the Lamb who will reign forever and ever.17

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Commentary

  1. This article reflects biblical understandings of Jesus Christ in an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective. It stresses, for example, Jesus' obedience and suffering in his work of atonement, his humility and servanthood as the pathway to exaltation, the believers' experience of Christ in the community of faith, the integration of faith and ethics, and peace as central to the character of Christ. These themes belong to the heart of the gospel.

  2. In some Protestant traditions, the Messiah (the Anointed One) is identified as prophet, priest, and king--the offices for which people were anointed in Old Testament times (Isaiah 61:1; Exodus 29:29; 1 Samuel 10:10). This confession also identifies Jesus as teacher, against the backdrop of Old Testament wisdom literature (for example, some of the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes). As disciples, we participate in this fourfold work of Christ.

  3. For centuries, Christian creeds have confessed that Jesus Christ has both a human and a divine nature. The Bible does not use the language of "natures" to describe Jesus Christ. When using this language, we should not overemphasize either the human or the divine side. This way of speaking about Jesus Christ can be helpful if it upholds what the Bible reveals to us about him.

  4. As Son of God, Jesus Christ shares fully in the character and work of the triune God (Matthew 11:27; John 1:1-3; 78; Colossians 1:15-20; Ephesians 1:3-14). For example, the Bible teaches that Christ participated in creation; he was one with God from the beginning (Colossians 1:16). His intimate unity with the Holy Spirit through his Father is revealed in Jesus' words of comfort to the disciples: Jesus said that the Father will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, in Jesus' name, who will teach the disciples and remind them of what Jesus told them (John 14:26). While on earth, Jesus addressed God with the Aramaic term of endearment "Abba," used in his day to express an intimate father-child relationship, much as we might say "Daddy."

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Scripture references

  1. Phillipians 2:5-8.
  2. Romans 1:4.
  3. 1 Corinthians 3:11.
  4. 2 Samuel 7:13-14; Isaiah 9:1-6; Romans 1:3; 2 Corinthians 6:18.
  5. Isaiah 42:1-9; Matthew 4:17; Luke 4:43f.; Matthew 57; Hebrews 2:17; 1 Peter 3:18; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; John 18:36-37; Revelation 5:8-14; 7:17.
  6. Acts 4:12; 1 John 4:14.
  7. Ephesians 2:13-22.
  8. Mark 3:13-19.
  9. Matthew 26:50; 1 Peter 2:21-23.
  10. Luke 23:46; Romans 5:18; 2 Corinthians 5:19.
  11. Colossians 2:15; Ephesians 1:20-21.
  12. Hebrews 4:15; Romans 5:14-21; 1 Peter 2:21.
  13. Mark 14:36; Matthew 6:9-13; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6.
  14. Colossians 1:15-17, 19.
  15. Ephesians 1:22-23.
  16. Colossians 1:24.
  17. Acts 17:31; Phillipians 2:11; Revelation 5:12-14.