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Was the Lord Jesus omnipresent when He was a man on earth, or did He lay this aside when He became a man?

"Omnipresent", though not a Bible word, conveys quite well how God fills the scene personally everywhere, and not merely with His power or His authority.

It is vital that we understand the teaching of Scripture concerning the Person of Christ. In the Lord becoming man He never relinquished one whit of His eternal deity. Paul in Colossians 2.9 makes clear that the fulness of the Godhead dwelt absolutely, personally, and eternally in Christ. All the attributes of deity were found in Him in His holy Manhood and continue to dwell in Him. Thus, if we think of omnipotence, He displayed this in His many miracles. If we think of omniscience, then Matthew comments, "Jesus knowing their thoughts said…" (Mt 9.4), Peter acknowledges, "Lord, thou knowest all things" (Jn 21.17), and the Lord, too, knew the precise moment the cock would crow when Peter denied Him. If we believe He was omnipotent and omniscient we cannot say He was not omnipresent.

Men may say, "How can it be that the Lord moving in the limitations of His body on earth could be omnipresent?". Human reasoning may find this difficult to understand, but we must believe Scripture. No attribute is more distinctive and peculiar to deity than omnipresence and yet none more strange and incredible to man. Yet of Christ in His present bodily exaltation to the throne of heaven it is said that He "filleth all things" (Eph 1.23). The locality of Christ in heaven does not interfere with His divine omnipresence. So He can be on the throne on behalf of the believer and yet still be in communion with the believer on earth. Thus while on earth, speaking to Nicodemus, the Lord spoke of Himself as, "the Son of man which is in heaven" (Jn 3.13). This can only be explained by the doctrine of the deity of Christ. How could it be true of any man that while speaking on earth he was in heaven?!

We may also see His omnipresence demonstrated in the healing of the nobleman’s boy without His physical presence. He transmitted His power down the miles to Capernaum where the boy lay (Jn 4.46-54).

John J Stubbs

Who are the disorderly to whom Paul refers (2 Thess 3.6) and to what extent do we "withdraw" from them? How can we do this when they are in fellowship in the assembly?

Among the subjects of discipline in the assembly is the "brother that walketh disorderly" (2 Thess 3.6) i.e. with slackness, not keeping rank - in fact, a military term is used. According to 2 Thessalonians 3, part of the disorderly conduct was laziness: "there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all" (v.11). Idleness and sponging often go together; both are unworthy of a Christian. God’s order was that man should work: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" (Gen 3.19). Paul pointedly commands, as he did when he was with the Thessalonians, "that if any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 Thess 3.10) – this involves an attitude of careless indifference to moral responsibility (like, "The world owes me a living"). Paul thus sets before his readers a fair equation: "No work, no food". N.B. Paul was not writing about unemployment.

Another example of disorderliness is to be a busybody: "but are busybodies" (2 Thess 3.11). Instead of being busy in lawful occupation, some were busy in interfering in others’ matters or business. Such were visiting fellow saints, not for edification, but for gossip.

How are the disorderly to be treated? Certainly not by excommunication, but by withdrawing or drawing back from them: "withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly" (2 Thess 3.6). The word used here pictures the gathering together of a robe as a sign of disgust. Here the withdrawing would refer to having no part in the offending conduct.

The aims of such discipline are: 1) to keep the assembly a fit place for God’s presence; 2) to clear the assembly before the world and to vindicate the Name of the Lord; 3) to teach the offender what he should have learned from the Word of God; 4) to furnish a warning to all believers lest a careless walk should lead to a similar lapse.

David E West

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