REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Jabez Yeo who is now a friend of AMI, was first posted on August 1, 2016. He is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (B.S.) and Columbia International University where he studied Islam (M.A.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Adoptionism!” Sounds Good But Is It Biblical?
He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, but he who ignores reproof goes astray.
You wouldn’t think that such a feel-good word like “adoption” could create a theological controversy, but it did in the early church. Proponents of this errant view called “adoptionism” explained that Jesus’ divinity consisted of His special relationship with God the Father, which only began at His baptism. By default, supporters of adoptionism denied the Trinity, as they placed Jesus above all men due to His elevation to sonship by the Father but below God due to His humanity and God’s absolute oneness.
Thankfully, the work of the earliest theologians helped to combat adoptionism. Some pointed to verses such as Colossians 2:9 (“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form”) to establish that Jesus had both divine and human nature. Others, such as the theologian Irenaeus, used Romans 5 and other parts of Scripture to explain that without Christ’s full divinity and humanity, salvation is impossible. In light of these works, Pope Victor I, the first bishop of Rome, rightly and forcefully condemned adoptionism as a heresy.
Unfortunately, Victor I’s forceful personality created disunity at times. As mentioned in an earlier devotional, Victor I’s feud with the Quartodecimans (those who celebrated Easter on Passover instead of Sunday) led him to rashly excommunicate them from the church. It took other theologians such as Irenaeus who, despite agreeing with Victor I, urged him to withdraw his sentence to preserve unity. Thankfully, Victor I heeded their advice and the churches in Asia, where most of the Quatrodecimans resided, remained in communion with the Western church.
Despite our good intentions, all of us, like Victor I, will eventually sin against others through our words or actions. When those times come, do we have people who can speak into our lives and instruct us in truth? Even if we do, do we have the humility to listen to them? Let’s pray that God will supply us with both godly advisors and the humility to listen to their wisdom.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the gift of community, and that You yourself are the best representation of community as the Three-in-One, Father, Son and Spirit. Lord, help me to seek out godly men and women who can help me run this race with perseverance when I fall. Give me the humility to listen to You speaking through them, so that I can continue to fight the good fight. In Your Name I pray, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Exodus 27
Lunch Break Study
Read John 1:1-3: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 8:56-8: Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
Questions to Consider
1. Refute adoptionism based on John 1:1-3.
(Note: The Greek word logos, translated as word, refers to Christ.)
2. Refute adoptionism based on John 8:57-9. (Note: Recall that Abraham had lived about 2,000 years before the incarnation of Christ.)
3. In your own words, describe the dual nature of Christ.
1. John 1:1-3 makes three assertions about Christ: first, He existed before “the beginning”; second, He has always existed along with God the Father; third, He, in fact, is the Creator of everything.
2. Accordingly, Jesus predates Abraham, even though the latter had lived 2,000 years earlier. The Jews clearly understood its implication: Jesus was claiming to be eternal.
3. Jesus is fully man and fully God, equal to God the Father in divine essence and has always existed; He has no beginning.
In light of all that we have talked about—mainly, the eternality of Christ—it would be fitting to end this day with a brief worship. Let’s meditate on Psalm 95:6: “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” Relate this to John 1:3 and think about why this psalm is appropriate in worshiping Christ.