And, beyond controversy, great is the mystery of our religion– that Christ appeared in human form, and His claims justified by the Spirit, was seen by angels and proclaimed among Gentile nations, was believed on in the world, and received up again into glory.1 Timothy 3:16
This passage is believed to be one version of the kinds of affirmations early Christians would have sung or recited. It presents the non-debatables of the common faith.
The hymn is acutely Christ-centred. It contains not even a hint of the Jewish priorities. Its thrust is crystal clear.
- The incarnation
- The attestation through the Holy Spirit
- The unprecedented angelic observation
- The proclamation to the nations
- The successful gospel advance
- The return to glory
The Christ event does not include a creation theme, even though atonement is labelled as a new creation. There is no attention to the patriarchal or Levitical traditions. There is no affirmation of previous covenants. We must not say amen to the myriad lists of requirements, to the demands that we emulate Israelite conventions, or that the good works of the saints constitute compliance with the law or prophets. No calculations, revisions, or extensive prophetic scenarios make the cut: just Christ, no rocket science.