Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | April 28, 2006

Christ the God-man

Back in our 4/18/06 post we indicated that those on the religious Left are known to deny the virgin birth.  If this unorthodox position is correct then Christianity is futile and we should all renounce our faith.  The reason is that this position knowingly or unknowingly nullifies the message of the Gospel in a very major way.

This major problem is that without the virgin birth Christ would have been conceived like anyone else having a human father.  As a result, the sinful nature that has been passed on from Adam through the male seed would have been passed on to Jesus.  If Jesus possessed a sinful nature, then He would not have lived a sinless life and fulfilled all the demands that the Law required.  If He did not fulfill the demands of the Law, He would not have been innocent or able to represent us before God.  Thus, we would still be in our sins and subject to God’s wrath and judgment that we deserve.  Following the logical consequences of this position eliminates the Gospel message and any hope for reconciliation with our Creator.

Essentially, unless the virgin birth is a historic fact we have no hope and the Gospel message is empty.  However, the religious Left’s position is not authentic Christ was conceived in the womb of a virgin, lived a sinless life and His substitutionary death on the cross has really saved us.  This has been the belief of the Church since the resurrection and ascension. It was also summarized in the Apostles Creed almost 1900 years ago.  Today we consider Question 35 of the Heidelberg Catechism, which elaborates on this portion of the Creed:

Q. What does it mean that he "was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary"? 

A. That the eternal Son of God, who is and remains true and eternal God, 1 took to himself, through the working of the Holy Spirit, 2 from the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary, 3 a truly human nature so that he might become David's true descendant, 4 like his brothers in every way 5 except for sin. 6  

1 John 1:1:  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 10:30-36:  I and the Father are one… Acts 13:33 (Ps. 2:7): …that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, “You are My Son; today I have begotten You.”  Colossians 1:15-17:  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 1 John 5:20:  And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life.
2 Luke 1:35:  The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”
3 Matthew 1:18-23: …She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.  Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which means, “God with us.”  John 1:14:  And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. Galatians 4:4:   But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.  Hebrews 2:14:  Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.
4 2 Samuel 7:12-16:   .When your days are complete and you lie down you’re your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  Psalm 132:11:  The Lord has sworn to David a truth from which He will not turn back:  Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne.  Matthew 1:1:  The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.   Romans 1:3: …concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh…
5 Philippians 2:7: …but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Hebrews 2:17:  Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
6 Hebrews 4:15:  For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Hebrews 7:26-27:  For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all whom He offered up Himself.
 

The virgin birth is also essential to our understanding to the Person and nature of Christ.  Being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary makes Him fully God and fully man.  In the coming weeks we will consider more closely the relation of Christ’s natures, however for today we will consider this concept of Christ being the God-man.

Christ had to be man to save us, since it was man that had sinned against God.  Thus, a man would have to partake in the reconciliation of humanity with God.  Otherwise, if Christ were only Divine He would not qualify as a proper substitute in our place not being subject to the temptations we face.  However, He was tempted in all things, did not sin, and triumphed over the allurements of the flesh, the world and the devil.  In this He also redeemed the physical or fleshly characteristics of life that refutes any form of Gnosticism.

Christ had to be Divine to save us, since the gulf between fallen man and God would be to overwhelming for a mere human to bridge.  Thus, an infinite Person would have to partake in the reconciliation of humanity with God.  Otherwise, if Christ were only man He would not qualify to make the satisfaction necessary to resolve the alienation between humanity and God.  John Calvin has the following comments concerning today’s subject:

Accordingly, our Lord came forth as true man and took the person and the name of Adam in order to take Adam’s place in obeying the Father, to present our flesh as the price of satisfaction to God’s righteous judgment, and, in the same flesh, to pay the penalty that we had deserved.  In short, since neither as God alone could he feel death, nor as man alone could he overcome it, he coupled human nature with divine that to atone for sin he might submit the weakness of the one to death; and that, wrestling with death by the power of the other nature, he might win victory for us.  II.XII.3 

There are so many depths to explore in relation to our redemption, which contribute to the richness of the Gospel message.  In studying basic doctrine we are exposed to these truths, which help us to comprehend the extraordinary works that God has done for us.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

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  1. […] also has implications in our salvation and affirming the deity of Christ, as we considered on 4/28/06 the gulf between us and God was infinite.  Thus, it required a Savior who was also infinite.  In […]


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