Understanding The Bible
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BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST
Evidences of His humanity
His human birth and growth (Lk. 2:7,12, 40-52)--a perfectly normal child
His possession of a human body (Heb. 2:14; 10:5; Jn. 4:6; Mt. 4:2-4; Jn. 19:34; Mk. 4:38-39; Lk. 24:39,50-51; Acts 1:11)
His possession of a soul which gives every indication of being a human soul (Jn. 12:27; Mt. 26:38; Mk. 3:5; 10:21; Mt. 9:36; Jn. 11:33-35)
His possession of a spirit which gives every evidence of
being a human spirit (Lk. 2:40; 23:46)
Summary: We observe that Jesus is called a man repeatedly in the Scriptures (Rom. 5:15; 1 Cor. 15:21; 1 Tim. 2:5).
It is necessary to guard the doctrine of the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ against three common errors:
The error of the false declaration of the purpose of His incarnation. Scripture answers all such errors by declaring God's purpose through the incarnation of His Son.
He was incarnate to reveal the invisible God (Jn. 1:18; 14:9; Heb. 1:1-3).
He came to provide an offering for our sins (1 Pet. 2:24; Mt. 26:28; Heb. 10:5,8,10; 1 Jn. 1:7; Heb. 2:9).
He came to become a perfect captain of our salvation (Heb. 2:10).
d. He became a man in order that He might destroy the power of Satan (Heb. 2:14).
He came to deliver men from the fear of death (Heb. 2:15). Men fear the loneliness of death and its mystery, and the sting of death which is sin. For the Christian the mystery, the loneliness, and the sting are gone.
To give the redeemed a high priest (Heb. 2:17; 4:15).
To show believers how to live (1 Jn. 2:6; 1 Pet. 2:21).
To fulfill the Davidic covenant (Isa. ll:l,10;Jer. 23:5-6; Lk. 1:32-33; Acts 2:29-31).
The error which claims that when Christ became a man He emptied Himself of His deity. This error is called the Kenosis Theory and is based on a misinterpretation of Philippians 2:7.
From the context of Philippians, it is much more logical to conclude that Jesus emptied Himself of His glory (2 Cor. 8:9).
Christ declares that He laid aside His glory when He came to earth in human form (Jn. 17:5).
It seems evident from the Gospel records that Jesus
emptied Himself of the independent exercise of His deity, from His
incarnation to His crucifixion. He had divine power within Himself and
yet chose to make Himself utterly dependent upon the Father's power.
John 6:38, cp. Jon 17:24
Mark 13:32, cp. John 5:20; 10:15; Matthew 11:27
John 14:28, cp. John 5:18-29
Matthew 20:23, cp. Revelation 3:21
John 3:16, cp. Ephesians 5:25
Isaiah 53:10, cp. John 10:17-18
Acts 2:24, cp. John 2:19
For Christ's dependence, see: Mt. 12:28; Mk. 1:12; Lk. 4:14,18; Jn. 3:34.3.
The error that states that He had Adam's fallen nature,
based upon such references as Jn. 1:14; Phil. 2:7; Heb. 2:14.
We answer this heresy by the following considerations:
Though born of the seed of Abraham and David (Mt. 1:1), yet He was conceived in the virgin's womb by the direct act of the creative Spirit of God (Mt. l:18-23; Lk. 1:30-35).
He never gave evidence of a sinful
nature, and therefore is different from every son of Adam. He claimed to
be sinless and so far as our records go He never offered a sacrifice and
He never uttered a prayer for forgiveness.
We need to keep in mind in this connection that, because He had a sinless nature, there was one respect in which His temptations were unlike ours. He could not have been tempted as God the Son (Jas. 1:14), but the temptations referred to in Hebrews 4:15 were testings from without.
There are two kinds of "temptations":
(1) A testing or trial of faith (Jas. 1:3-4)
(2) That which arises from the desire of an evil nature (Jas. 1:13-14)
See New Scofield Bible note on James 1:14, which deals with this twofold use of the word.
Temptations of Christ (Chafer, pp.
74-84) Mt. 4:1-11; Lk. 4:1-13; Heb. 2:18; 4:14-15
Whole problem concerned with relation of His two natures to one another.
Union of the two natures (Bancroft,
Christ is a single, undivided personality in whom the divine nature and human nature are vitally, completely, and inseparably united. This is technically called the Hypostatic Union. He is truly the God-man. It is an indissoluble and eternal union. This is not 50% man and 50% God, but 100% God and 100% man. As the old Confession puts it: "Very God of very God and very man of very man. "
Attributes of both natures are ascribed to Christ.
Infinite value of the atonement and the union of the redeemed in Him are intelligible only when Christ is seen as the God-man in whom the two natures are perfectly united.
Universal Christian consciousness
recognizes the fact in song, prayer, and every expression of worship.
For a discussion of the Kenosis Theory and Christ's alleged limitations growing out of misapprehensions of the Hypostatic Union, see Theology Proper, Doctrine of the Persons of the Trinity, pp. 18-19.
He showed a perfect simplicity of mind.
He taught by the simplest illustrations (e.g., parables, Mt. 13).
His language was almost without adjectives.
His teachings were never labored and argumentative although He dealt with the most profound themes.
With all their simplicity His
teachings are inexhaustible.
His absolutely unique claims.
Either these words from Jesus' own lips were true and He was God (Divine), or else Jesus was a deceiver (if He knew what He said was not true), or deceived (if He thought He was God and was not), or He was demented to make such astounding claims.
We must choose one of these four conclusions. If Jesus is not God as He claimed to be, then He is not worthy of our admiration, let alone of our worship and trust as Saviour,
He claimed the right to receive human worship (Jn. 5:23; 9:35-38; Mt. 14:33; 28:9, 17;Jn. 20:28-29).
He claimed the power to forgive sins (Mk. 2:5-11; Lk. 7:48-50).
He claimed to be a personal revitalizing force able to cure every problem of the soul On. 7:37-38; Mt. 11:28-30; Jn. 4:14).
He claimed to be the only hope of life eternal (Jn. 3:16; 5:40; 6:46, 51; 10:28).
He claimed to be sinless (Jn. 8:46).
He claimed to fulfill prophecy (Lk. 4:17-21; Mt. 21:40-44; Jn. 5:39,46; Lk. 24:26-27; 24:44-45).
He claimed that His blood was shed for others' sins (Mt. 26:28).
He claimed He would rise from the dead on the third day (Jn. 2:19-22; 10:18; Mt. 16:21; 12:39-40; 17:23).
He claimed He would judge the world (Mt. 7:21-23; 25:31-32).
He claimed absolute equality with God (Mt. 28:19; Jn. 5:17-29; 10:30; 14:1-6; 14:21-23; 17:3-5).
He claimed to have infinite and
unique superiority (Mt. 11:27; Jn. 6:33,38, 41,50,51,58,62; 10:15).
His Deity is claimed throughout the book of Acts and the NT Epistles, as is clearly evident if one tries to substitute any other name for His in the countless passages where reference is made to Him (Phil. 2:6; Col. 2:9).
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