3. BASIC BIBLE DOCTRINES – THE STUDY OF CHRIST (Part 1)

The study of Christ is the study of what He did, is doing, and what He will do in the future. He is the Supreme Revelation of His Father, He is our Saviour and High Priest, and the source of all the good things that we receive in life .

THE PRE-INCARNATE CHRIST (in person)

As the Second Person of the Godhead, Christ has always existed, and Scripture speaks to this in the fact of the creation and that He is active in its continuous existence . In respect to His revelation, we see this in many instances in Old Testament times where He appeared in the form of a man, as an angel of God or in the form of fire . In all these instances we see God the Father revealing Himself through The Son.

THE DEITY OF CHRIST

“But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever”” . Christ is called God on more than one occasion showing His superiority over all things including angels, but the most convincing proof of His deity is seen in His attributes. This is evident in the fact that Christ is both God and man, He is the “God-Man”. We must understand that He is not a God who was transformed into a man, nor was He a man that was so perfect that He became God; He is equally God and man, possessing perfect humanity and perfect deity simultaneously; therefore, we need to fully grasp the deity of Christ by fully examining His divine attributes.

His eternity is seen in the fact that He has always existed .

His pre-eminence: as Son He is equal to God in all aspects .

His omnipotence seen in the creation and in His power over nature, demons and death .

His omniscience, in that He knows all things; thoughts of mankind even at a distance, and future events .

His omnipresence, although limited by His earthly body, but now that human body is seated at God’s right hand, and His spiritual presence is with each believer wherever we may be in this world .

His immutability: God the Father is unchangeable and so is God The Son, it is not possible for His character to change
His righteousness is essentially the same as God The Father and seen in the fact that he hates sin but loves the sinner . 
His holiness: mentioned in regards to His birth; seen by His followers, demons, and the description given Him in heaven . 
His love expressed in His compassion while here on earth, His love for the Church, and His mercy extended to us .

Thus we see that in all His characteristics, Christ is not only the Son of God but also God The Son. We also see in the Old Testament that where “Jehovah” is used, it refers to Jesus in the New Testament <cf Ex.3:14;  Jn.8:58 — Isa.40:3; Matt.3:1-3 — Num.21:6-7; 1 Cor.10:9 — Psa.68:18; Eph.4:8>. Christ is co-equal and co-eternal with The Father.

THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST

Christ displayed all the characteristics of a human being except a sinful nature. This is seen in His birth , and His youth . Willingly, He was subject to human limitations . While in great danger He trusted in His Father and exhibited no fear . He died as a human being with one difference; He voluntarily gave up His spirit . He had the three-fold nature of mankind – body, soul, and spirit .

He was the perfect human being except for the fact that He was sinless; and this is a significant difference since all mankind are in rebellion to God because we are born with the sin nature , and neither God nor Christ can be inconsistent with their character, thus Christ could not sin . Proof of this is seen in the fact that God raised Him from the dead . Christ had to be a perfect human being because only as such could He fully reveal God to mankind, and only as man could He die, and only as a man could He intercede for us with God ; only a sinless man could die for other humans. His divinity required that He was sinless.

THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST

As seen from the previous discussions, Christ has two natures; His divine nature is His from eternity past and His human nature is acquired from being born of a virgin, and this human birth is called His Incarnation. So as to be the “saviour” of sinful mankind in becoming our Substitute, the eternal God had to become a man; “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” . God had given many promises to this event in the Old Testament ; and from these, and many other passages we learn that the expected “Saviour or Deliverer” would be a man, not an angel or any other being. Other Old testament passages indicate that God Himself would descend to earth . In answer to the question “How could it be possible for the promised King and Saviour to be both God and man?”,  is that it is only possible if God became man; and the New Testament shows this in such passages as His Virgin Birth and statements of His Deity .

It is possible to believe that Christ relinquished some of His attributes when He became man, for we read: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,  but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!”; another translation renders it as – “He emptied Himself”, meaning that He put aside the outward appearance of His glory and the independent use of His attributes. This was evident in that while on earth He did not use His divine powers to satisfy His human needs, but it should not be conceived or said that He did not possess these powers.

In conclusion it should be understood that Christ has a human and a divine nature, but He is only one Personality, and we should not attempt to divide His Person or Personality, or confuse His two natures. There is a Man in the glory at God’s right hand; “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place…” .

TITLES AND NAMES OF CHRIST

“Son of God” signifying His eternal Sonship in the Godhead, and “Son of Man”indicating His true representation of humanity before God, are two of the New Testament names given to Christ; and since names had a great importance to the Jews let us examine three most often used names of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Lord” identifies Him as the Lord (Jehovah) of the Old Testament, and denotes His deity and authority .

“Jesus” which means “saviour” or “salvation”, signifying that He is the Lord of salvation. Although this was a popular Jewish name, when used for our Lord in the Gospels it usually had the title “Lord” or “Christ” appended, or the full title “Lord Jesus Christ”.

“Christ” is the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament “Messiah” or “Anointed One” , and gives importance to His status as Prophet, Priest, and King, including His Davidic ancestry. “Christ Jesus” emphasizes His status (office), and when “Jesus Christ” is used, the emphasis is on His humanity.
(Continued…..)

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