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Christian Belief



The person of Jesus Christ.

Most works on Systematic Theology reserve the full consideration of the Person of Christ until later and deal with it in connection with the Atonement. However some mention of our Lord has to be made when considering the subject of the Trinity and it therefore seem better to include the whole subject in this section where we are concerned with the Godhead.

The Christian Faith holds that God is truly One but also that He is One in Three Persons. A full discussion of the Trinity can hardly be attempted until we have considered the Scriptural teaching concerning each of the Three Persons. We are going to think now of the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, of Lord Jesus Christ.

The Person of our Lord Jesus Christ has peculiar difficulties in that He took upon Himself human flesh, and thus we have to consider not only His deity but also His humanity, and how the two natures were combined in One Person.

When we speak of the Person of Christ it is obvious that we cannot limit the term to our Lord's manifestation in human flesh. Paul says that,"when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son". (Gal.4). The preparation for this sending forth was made from the commencement of time, and both prophecy and type in the Old Testament make it perfectly clear that Christ was to corm as the Redeemer of mankind.

Right from the protevangelium in Gen.3:15 down through the promises to Abraham, the promises to Moses to raise up a prophet like unto himself (Deut.18:15), the promises to David of a king to be upon his throne forever, the promises to the prophets, right up to those who were expecting the Messiah at the very birth of Christ, this expectation of the coming of the Messiah did not die out.

Christ too was the great Antitype of all the types of the Old Testament both in persons and in the sacrificial system. In seeking to elucidate the problems and come to a reasonable and Scriptural understanding of the doctrine of the Person of Christ, we shall deal in the first three sections with the manhood of Christ - His Perfect humanity, then with His Deity and with the combination of these in the Divine-Human Person.

In the last three sections we shall have something to say as to the actual life of the Divine-Human Person on earth, the Historical Manifestation of the Redeemer; than we shall briefly mention the names given to the Redeemer in Scripture; and finally we shall deal with the Unscriptural Theories which have boon held concerning the Person of Christ.

1. The Perfect Humanity of Christ.

The fact of Christ's presence in history is irrefutable. "Christianity arose from a historical person. Attempts to explain away its founder as a mythical personage have failed: and He stands as a living character in history..... The founder of Christianity lived.....Thus Jesus has a real and vital place in history.

He fulfils the clearest hope of coming good that earliest times had attained to; He enters, when He comes, a world providentially prepared for Him; and He is the source and inspiration of all the best that comes after Him. He is inwrought into the life of mankind." (Clarke, Outline of Christian Theology p.260/261).

The Scriptures clearly teach that Christ took upon Himself our flesh and blood (John 1:14; Hebews 2:J4). This must mean that His human nature was true and complete, subject to the normal growth and development of our nature, and receiving no additions to its essential elements by virtue of its conjunction with Deity. In all this, sin is, of course excepted.

(a) The Characteristics of Christ`s Human Nature.

Human nature does not consist merely of body, but of body and soul. Christ's human nature was not therefore merely the assumption of a human body but of body and soul as well, of human nature in its fulness.

The fact that Christ had a human body is abundantly testified to by the actual account of His birth and circumcision, by references to His lineage and accounts of His baptism and temptation. Also it is recorded that He was hungry (Matt,4:2), thirsty (John. 19:28), and weary (John 4:6). The incidents in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the road to Calvary and on the Cross itself all likewise point to the reality of His human body. (See Luke 22:44; 23:26; Matt 27:33-66; Mark 15:22-47; Luke 23:33-56; John 19:16-42).

It is interesting also to note John's refutation of the opponents of Christ's humanity in the first chapter of his epistle and also the gradation of his proofs from hearing to handling.
(1 John 1:1). The proof of the fact of Christ's human soul is found in such references as "Now is My soul troubled" (John. 12:27), and "I am meek and lowly in heart" (Matt.11:29). See also Matt.26:38.

(b) The Sinlessness of Christ.

Christ had no original sin. His birth was a miraculous one. Human nature as it originally came from the hand of God was not sinful. Since God alone was His Father, Christ's birth was not a birth out of sinful human nature, but a conjoining of sinless human nature with deity.

Since Christ was the preexistent Logos, the Second Person of the Trinity, He was not only sinless, but free from the possibility of sin. He was, of course, free from actual sin.(1 Pet.2:22; Hebs.7:26).

Christ never expressed any sense of guilt, nor did He ask forgiveness, but, at the same time, He pressed others men everywhere to repent and seek forgiveness. The words in Romans 8:3 where it says that Christ was made in"the likeness of sinful flesh", mean nothing more than that Christ's flesh is like that which in us is sinful.

While flesh is the vehicle of sin in us, it has no need to be, in Christ it was not the vehicle of sin. This subject will be dealt with more fully when considering the Divine Human Person.

(c) The Suffering of Christ.

Because Christ was God Incarnate, Ho was lifted above the infirmities which attach to sinful human nature. On the other hand He freely took upon Himself the human weakness of mankind and was abject to hunger, thirst, weakness, pain and suffering (See Hebrews 2: 9,10).

"The Sufferer was at once God and man. As the same Person was united with both natures, and that Person the Son of God, we may say that the Son of God suffered. This suffering, however, is that of a divine Person and not of the divine nature the one Person that is God, being also man, suffered in His human nature." (Wiley, Intro.p.l95).

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