The Doctrine of Christ Part 5

Posted: November 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

How much does the classical doctrine of the incarnation matter? What if much of it is myth as Rob Bell has pondered?

Here it is: Jesus had to be fully man to die and fully God to bear the fully penalty for all the sins of those who believe in him. Moreover, salvation is from the Lord (Jonah 2:9) and essential pieces of the incarnation (like the virgin birth) are part of that fact. Furthermore, only one that was fully God and fully man could be the one mediator between both (1 Tim. 2:5).

Christian history is littered with heretical teachings about the incarnation (apollinarianism, nestorianism, monophysitism and many other -isms…if you really want to know what all of these mean then google them). 

Some very wise folks got together in A.D. 451 and came up with the following:

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood;
truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body;
consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood;
in all things like unto us, without sin;
begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood;
one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably;
the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.   

This is known as the Chalcedonian Creed and it is both logical and Biblical.  For example, The combining of the two natures explains how it is that Jesus can be fully tempted even though he is fully God and God cannot be tempted with evil (James 1:13).  To quote Wayne Grudem “one nature does some things that the other nature does  not do.”

Tomorrow we begin covering the very important topic of the Atonement. 

Until then, grace and peace.

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