The Two Natures of Christ

The Doctrine of Christ - Lesson # 3

I. The humanity of Christ

A. Note in particular how the full humanity of Christ was important in the writings of John - Jn. 1:14; 1 Jn. 4:2; 5:5-6; 2 Jn. 7

B. Find out who Cerinthus was and why the apostle John opposed him. Define what docetism was. Study the KJV of 1 Jn. 5:6-8 and find out why it is longer than more recent trans-lations. What is the meaning of "water" and "blood" in this passage?

C. Some arguments for the humanity of Christ

1. He was born of flesh - Mt. 1:1; Psa. 132:11; Gal. 4:4; Rom. 1:3; 9:5

2. He became flesh, that is, took on human nature - Jn. 1:14; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 Jn. 4:2; 2 Jn. 7

3. He went through the same growth process as all humans - Lk. 2:40

4. He had normal human physical needs. List some of these based on the following: Mt. 4:2; Jn. 4:7; 19:28; Jn. 4:5-6; Mt. 8:24; 14:23.

5. He had and felt human emotions. List some of these based on the following: Lk. 10:21; Jn. 15:11; Mt. 26:37; Jn. 12:27; Mk. 3:5; 10:21; Mt. 9:36; Jn. 11:35

6. He endured temptation as a human - Jas. 1:13; Heb. 4:15; Mt. 4:1-11; Lk. 4:1-13

7. He suffered and died as a human - 1 Pet. 3:18; 4:1; 1 Jn. 5:5-7

8. In the Bible he is often called a "man" - Jn. 1:30; 8:40; 19:5; Acts 2:22; 17:31

D. Some problems which one encounters if the humanity of Christ is denied

1. Undermines the atonement. Mankind sinned, thus mankind owes a debt to God. As a representative of mankind, himself human, Jesus paid our debt.

2. Undermines Jesus' role as mediator and high priest. Because he was human he is able to understand and sympathize with our difficulties. As one of us he is able to represent us to God. We need no other mediator, not Mary, not the saints. As Lorraine Boettner said, the New Testament reveals Jesus as "the most approachable of men" - Heb. 2:17-18.

II. The deity of Christ

A. Some ways in which the deity of Christ can be established

1. Implications from his birth - Lk. 1:35

2. Possession by Christ of attributes or prerogatives of deity. List some of these based on the following: Mk. 2:5-11; Jn. 1:1, 3; 2:25; 5:24-25, 27-29; 8:58; 14:13-14; 16:30; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:2-3; Mt. 14:32-33; 18:20; 28:20

3. His resurrection - Rom. 1:4; Acts 2

4. Plain statements of fact - Col. 1:15, 19; 2:9

5. He is called not only Lord and the Son of God, but also God - Jn. 1:1; 20:28; and maybe Rom. 9:5; Tit. 2:13; Heb. 1:8; 2 Pet. 1:1

6. How does the Jehovah's Witnesses translation of the Bible render Jn. 1:1? Try to find out what is incorrect in this regard in their translation.

7. See if you can find information on Granville Sharp's rule for Greek grammar and its significance for Tit. 2:13 and 2 Pet. 1:1.

B. In what ways is the deity of Christ essential for the following?

1. Christ's past work as co-creator

2. Christ's work as redeemer who atones for our sins

3. Christ's work as mediator in the present

4. Christ's future second coming and his role as judge

5. Christ as an object of our worship and faith

III. The two natures in one person

A. What Christ was not

1. He was not God only while in this world

2. He was not man only while in this world

3. He was not a body with two persons inside, one divine and one human

4. He was not deity only in mind and spirit and human only in body

5. He was not some sort of intermediary being, e.g. angel, but neither God nor human

B. The fullness of his two natures

1. During his incarnate life Christ was fully human.

2. During his incarnate life Christ was fully divine.

3. Christ was one, singular, unified person. His humanity was not diminished by his deity and visa versa. He was the God-man.

C. The element of mystery

1. What was the nature of temptation for Jesus? God can not sin. Could Jesus have sinned? If he could not, would temptation have been real temptation? Did his divine nature give him extra power rendering him unable to sin?

2. How much did Jesus himself understand about who he was? At what point did he begin to understand these things?

3. These and other questions will continue to strain our abilities to understand since in Christ the infinite and the finite are joined.

D. Name a hymn which points to the humanity of Christ.

E. Name a hymn which points to the deity of Christ.

F. Memory verse - Jn. 20:28

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