Lesson 13: The Person of Christ | Biblical Foundations for Living

Who am I? I am an undeserving recipient of God’s love.

Introduction to the Doctrine of Christ

The doctrine of Christ (or Christology) focuses on the person and work of Jesus Christ. An understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done is essential to a proper view of our identity as Christians.


As stated in the Introduction to this course, we are attempting to answer the questions, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” Were it not for who Jesus is and what He has accomplished, our task would be finished for we have already learned who we are apart from Christ–sinners who have offended their Creator. We would be left without an answer to our second question, for a life lost in sin is meaningless. In Christ, however, God Himself became a man in order to conquer sin and, thus, give meaning to life.

This section will draw on concepts already learned in previous lessons. As both God and man, the person of Christ will reflect that which we have learned concerning God and man. The work of Christ will draw upon much of what we have learned concerning God’s character (for example, His justice requires that sin be punished) and man’s plight (he is a sinner in need of a Savior). May the study of this doctrine give us a greater appreciation for who Christ is and for what He has done on our behalf.

Lesson 13: The Person of Christ

Jesus Christ is absolutely unique. The Bible teaches that He is at the same time both fully God and fully man. Although a complete understanding of the person of Christ is beyond our comprehension, the Bible clearly teaches the amazing truth of the God-man.

This lesson will examine the biblical evidence for the dual nature of Jesus Christ.

[By "dual nature” we mean that Christ possesses both a human and divine nature. That is, He is both human and God at the same time. He possesses characteristics of both because He is both. This lesson examines the person of Christ, i.e., who he is.]

The Bible teaches that:

1. Christ is God .

2. Jesus is man .

3. Jesus Christ is the God-man .

Note: You will notice throughout this lesson that the name “Christ” is used when emphasizing the deity of the God-man, while “Jesus” is used when referring to His humanity. When these two names (Jesus and Christ) are combined, they signify both His deity and humanity.

I. Christ is God.

The statement, “Christ is God,” means that Christ possesses all the attributes (character qualities) that belong to God. In other words, all that is true of God applies equally to Christ. The word “ deity ” describes one who possesses the attributes of God. In Lesson One, we learned that there are three persons who possess the attributes of deity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This lesson deals with the second person of the Triunity, God the Son.

A. The Bible teaches that Christ is God.

1. Christ existed before the birth of Jesus.

Many mistakenly believe that Christ came into existence at the birth of Jesus. However, the Bible teaches that Christ is eternal. As God, there was never a time when He was not.

a. Christ existed prior to Creation .

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.   John 1:1

[T[The context of this verse clearly indicates that the Word/God is referring to Jesus. Christ, as the second person of the Trinity, eternally existed.]b>

b. Christ was active in Creation .

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.   John 1:3 (See also Colossians 1:16.)

Note: Since Christ was the Creator, He could not have been part of the creation.

c. Christ appeared in temporary human form throughout the Old Testament.

The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert.   Genesis 16:7

Who Was the Angel of the Lord?

Several facts have led most scholars to identify “the angel of the Lord” with Christ:

1) The use of the definite article (“the” angel)–Appearances of other divine messengers normally do not include the article (Luke 2:9 and Acts 12:7).

2) The angel of the Lord is equated with God and worshiped as God (Exodus 3:1-5).

3) The angel of the Lord never appears after Jesus is born.

d. Christ claimed to have existed prior to Abraham .

Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”   John 8:58

[W[When did Abraham live? Long before Christ, even before Moses. The statement implied more than the fact that Christ lived before Abraham. What is the implication of Jesus’ words "I am?” He is equating Himself with the God of the OT. In other words, He is claiming the name of God for Himself. Look at the next few verses to see how the Jews responded to this – they understood that he was equating himself with God, and they wanted to stone him for it.]b>

2. Christ is called the “ Son of God .”

In Scripture, “son of” often means “to possess the character qualities of” a person or object. For example, in Genesis 5:32 the original Hebrew literally says that Noah was the “son of 500 years.” Acts 4:36 says that the name “Barnabas” means “Son of Encouragement.” The title “Son of God” indicates that Christ possesses the attributes of God, a fact which even Christ’s enemies acknowledged:

“We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” Jesus answered them, “. . . Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?”   John 10:33 36

3. Christ is fully God.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.   Colossians 2:9

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.   Hebrews 1:3

[Som[Some cults/religions teach that Christ is "a god” or somehow less than fully equal with God the Father. The Bible teaches that He is fully and equally God.]

B. Christ demonstrated that He was God.

1. Christ demonstrated that He was omnipotent .

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. -Mark 4:39

2. Christ demonstrated that He was omniscient .

Jesus knew their thoughts. – Matthew 12:25

3. Christ demonstrated that He was sovereign .

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”   Matthew 28:18

4. Christ demonstrated that He was holy .

Christ did not yield to Satan’s temptations (Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13).

These are the same attributes we studied in Section One (the doctrine of God).

II. Jesus is Man.

The statement, “Jesus is man,” means that He possesses all the attributes that belong to man. In other words, all that is inherently true of humanity applies equally to Jesus. This does not, however, include sinfulness. Adam and Eve were created truly human but were not created sinful. Therefore, sin is not essential to being human . Jesus, though fully human, was not sinful.

[You m[You might say that Adam, Eve, and Jesus were the only truly human humans. Everyone else has suffered the damaging effects of sin and are thus less than what they were originally created to be.]/p>

A. The Bible teaches that Jesus is a man.

1. Jesus is called a man .

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.   1 Corinthians 15:20 21

2. Jesus has the components of humanity (See Lesson Ten.).

  1. Jesus has a human body .

But the temple he had spoken of was his body.   John 2:21

[Some [Some have taught that Jesus was a phantom/ghost. The Bible clearly presents Jesus as a man like other men. Does he still have a body? Yes.]/p>

b. Jesus has a human spirit .

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”   Luke 23:46

3. Jesus is called the “ Son of man .”

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.   Matthew 20:28

Note: See above for the significance of the phrase “son of.”

B. Jesus demonstrated that He was a man.

1. Jesus experienced a human birth .

See Matthew 1 and Luke 2.

2. Jesus experienced mental, physical, spiritual, and social growth .

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.   Luke 2:52

3. Jesus experienced human emotions .

Jesus wept.   John 11:35

4. Jesus experienced human limitations .

Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well.   John 4:6

[Any s[Any such statements that imply Jesus’ changing, growing, being ignorant, etc., must be linked with/based upon the limitations of humanity. As God, Jesus could not have grown intellectually or been ignorant. But as man he could have. Thus any growth or development must be due to his humanity.]

Jesus is fully man. However, the Scriptures also teach that Christ is fully God. This gives us a complete view of the two natures of the God-man, both human and divine. One should not conclude from this, however, that Jesus Christ is two persons . The Bible is clear that He is a single person possessing two natures .

[The t[The two natures of Christ (divine and human) are distinct from each other tho united in one person. The hypostatic union stayed intact in thru death. The two natures are united in one person, without confusion, conversion, division, or separation. We must neither divide the person nor confound the natures. His deity didn’t "leak” into his humanity or vice versa.]/p>

III. Jesus Christ is the God Man.

In order to combine the divine and human natures into a single person, God did something unique.

A. The two natures were united at the incarnation.

The word “incarnation” means “to embody in flesh .” Theologians use this word to describe Christ’s entrance into the human race. John 1:14 says: “The Word became flesh.” The Bible describes how the incarnation took place:

1. The incarnation took place by means of the virgin conception and birth.

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High . . . .” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”   Luke 1:30 35

Note: The virgin conception was necessary in order to prevent a sin nature from being transmitted to Christ (See Lesson Ten on procreation as the means of transmitting the sin nature.).

2. The incarnation took place by means of an emptying .

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing [literal[literally, "emptied himself”] the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.   Philippians 2:5 7

In the incarnation, Christ gave up the independent use of His divine attributes. This is not to say that Christ gave up His deity, but rather the independent display of His deity. Jesus occasionally displayed His deity, but would not do so apart from the will of God the Father.

Christ continued to be equal in essence with the other persons of the Godhead. However, He demonstrated a subordinate role or function in the incarnation (1 Corinthians 11:3).

B. The union of the two natures is permanent.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. – 1 Timothy 2:5

Notice that this verse refers to Christ as a man after His earthly ministry.

[It is imp[It is important for us to neither confuse the natures of Christ nor divide the person of Christ. His humanity did not limit his deity, and his deity did not change his humanity. His personality (the "I”) resided in his deity as the second person of the Trinity/the Word. He did not have two separate personalities.]

Recap & Review

In this lesson, we have learned:

1. Christ is God. He possesses all the attributes of deity.

2. Jesus is man. He possesses all the attributes of humanity.

3. Jesus Christ is the God-man. He is both fully God and fully man at the same time. He is one person possessing two natures.

Learning to Live It

1. During lunch at school, you are drawn into a discussion about various world religions. A friend says, “I think all religions are good and were founded by good men. None are better, none are worse.” How should you respond?

Jesus was more than a man–He was God. Furthermore, Jesus demanded exclusive worship (John 14:6), thus placing Christianity on a different level than all other religions. Either Jesus is who He said He was and is, thus, to be worshipped exclusively or He was a liar and is, thus, not good.

2. A TV preacher [Kenneth Cop[Kenneth Copeland]med to a national audience a few years ago: “Jesus said, ‘I am,’ and bless God I am too!” What was this preacher implying?

He was claiming to be divine by referring to himself by the divine name “I am.” Some charismatics teach that believers are little gods. But do we possess the attributes of deity? No.

Comments

  1. Very, very good article.

    Indeed, the WoF teachers DO claim we are little gods…

    Watch the “DEMO” on this site: http://www.justinpeters.org and see Creflo Dollar’s teaching on this in a clip provided by Justin, who holds seminars exposing the unfruitful works of darkness in the WoF.

    Justin spoke at my church and comes highly recommended by my pastor, Dr. John MacArthur.

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