Class Notes: 12/6/2009
The doctrines of Christmas:The Virgin Birth, The Hypostatic Union, Impecability, and Kenosis
John 1:14 - And the Word (undiminished deity) became flesh (true humanity), and dwelt among us (the Incarnation), and we (James, Peter, and John) beheld His glory ( the visual manifestation of the Uniform of Glory), glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (Bible Doctrine).
Since we are in the Christmas season it is appropriate to review the doctrines that relate to TLJC in his first advent or incarnation via the virgin birth.
Christmas is about how God so loved the world that he gave his uniquely born son. It is about how God became human in order to solve man's problem of separation from God. Christmas is about what God did to resolve man's problem and how he did it while maintaining his perfect integrity.
Jesus Christ as second Person of the Trinity, without ceasing to be undiminished deity, was united with true humanity at the Virgin Birth. The result was one Person with a divine nature including all the attributes of deity, and a human nature including all the attributes of true humanity, without genetic and imputed sin.
This makes the Virgin Birth the central event in human history. It marks the moment God directly entered into human history and took on the essence of man. It was the moment God became incarnate as the unique theoanthropos.
The term "incarnation" comes from the Latin word" incarnare"; "in" plus "caro", and literally means "in the flesh." Christmas Day marks the moment of the Virgin Birth when true God and true Man entered into hypostatic union in the Person of Jesus Christ.
As John writes in John 1:14, "The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us."
The Holiday known as Christmas that is celebrated on December 25th has been established as a time when Christians celebrate this event.
During this time, the believer's focus should be centered on Christ with emphasis on the doctrines of the Virgin Birth, or Incarnation, the hypostatic union, his impeccability and the kenosis.
Jesus is celebrated as the Messiah whose mission was to qualify in His true humanity to become the sacrifice for the sins of the entire world.
The Christmas holiday provides a unique opportunity to communicate the gospel of salvation by grace through faith alone in TLJC alone.
With this in view, we will begin our study by reviewing the Doctrine of the Virgin Birth.
Some of the Passages that discuss the Virgin birth are:
The first prophecy of the virgin birth: Gen 3:15-16.
The prophecy of the virgin birth to Israel: Isa 7:14, Isa 9:6.
The historical fulfillment of the virgin birth: Matt 1:19-25.
The result of the virgin birth: John 1:14; Rom 1:3; 1Tim 3:16; Heb 2:14; Phil 2:5-11;
The virgin birth was necessary because of Adam's original sin.
Adam's original sin is the origin of the old sin nature in the human race, Rom 5:12. It is Adam's original sin that was the precursor for the old nature.
It was Adam's sin and not the woman's sin that was the issue because Adam's sin was made from cognizance and therefore deliberate because he knew he was violating God's command but the woman was deceived. 1Tim 2:14;
It is because of this that the old sin nature is transmitted from the male in conception and that results in the imputation of Adam's original sin to the genetically formed OSN at birth.
Because of this every cell in the naturally conceived and born human being is contaminated by the old sin nature and when God the Father imputes Adam's original sin to the old sin nature, and soul life to biological life at birth that results in human life in spiritual death. 1Cor 15:22a
Through meiosis and polar body, twenty-three chromosomes are thrown off by the female ovum, leaving twenty-three uncontaminated chromosomes prior to fertilization and conception.
All the other cells in the female body remain contaminated by the old sin nature.
Although both the man and the woman in the Garden were equally guilty, the woman's sin of ignorance was the reason she became the bearer of the embryo, 1Tim 2:13-15.
While both man and woman are carriers of the old sin nature, only the man can transmit the old sin nature through the fertilization of the female ovum because it is the male's twenty-three chromosomes that carry the old sin nature.
This means that if a woman could have a virgin pregnancy, that is if her ovum could be fertilized apart from the human male, a child could be born into the world without an old sin nature.
Being born without an old sin nature would mean that Adam's original sin could not be imputed to that person because there would be no genetically formed OSN available to receive the imputation.
This was the case in the birth of the humanity of Christ, since it originated from Mary's virgin pregnancy and virgin birth. Being born without an old sin nature meant there was no imputation of Adam's original sin to our Lord when he was born.
This was how our Lord was born as the last Adam. The first Adam was created perfect; the last Adam, Jesus Christ, was born perfect. So Jesus Christ was equivalent to Adam before the fall.
Mary, with an old sin nature, was still a virgin when she became pregnant with our Lord as described in Matt 1:20; Mary's other children are mentioned in Matt 13:55 and Mark 6:3, so we know she eventually conceived children with Joseph.
She had at least two daughters and four sons by Joseph so there is no such thing as the perpetual virginity of Mary.
Mary's virgin pregnancy was caused by God the Holy Spirit fertilizing her ovum. He provided twenty-three perfect chromosomes to fertilize her twenty-three perfect chromosomes which were uncontaminated by the old sin nature.
The virgin pregnancy resulted in the virgin birth, thus excluding the old sin nature from the humanity of Christ.
While Mary was a virgin, she was not perfect or impeccable. Only her virgin-born Son was absolutely perfect at birth.
Just like everyone else, at her birth, Mary received the imputation of human life to her soul and the imputation of Adam's original sin to her old sin nature; so she was not perfect.
But in the case of her Son, Jesus, God the Father imputed human life to his human soul, but divine justice could not impute Adam's original sin since there was no target, no home, no antecedence, no affinity for it, since there was no genetically-formed old sin nature in the cell structure of his body.
It is therefore the virgin birth that is the basis for redemption, because it provided the world with a perfect human being, the only one qualified to be judged for the sins of the world.
Human life is, in every case, created by God and imputed to each person at birth. There is no human life in the womb. There is only human life when God imputes the human soul to biological life. Simultaneously, Adam's original sin is imputed to the genetically-formed OSN that came from the twenty-three male chromosomes and the child is born dichotomous with a body and a soul in spiritual death.
At the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ however, God the Father created a human soul and imputed it to His biological life but because our Lord was born without an old sin nature, there could be no imputation of Adam's original sin. So our Lord was born physically alive and spiritually alive.
Instead of a sin nature, our Lord was born with a human spirit, He was born as Adam was created. Instead of receiving the imputation of Adam's original sin, He received the imputation of the prototype spiritual life to His human spirit.
In His humanity, Jesus was born filled with the Spirit. He was born trichotomous with a body, soul and spirit.
He was unique and this is why believing in him is the only way of eternal salvation. John 3:16; 1Tim 2:5; Acts 4:12;
This brings us to the doctrine of the Hypostatic Union that explains how deity and humanity coexist in the person of TLJC.
It explains how God became human without destroying or contaminating the nature of God or of man that simultaneously exists in the person of TLJC that is celebrated at Christmas and why this is important.
The definition of the Hypostatic Union is as follows:
In the person of the incarnate Christ are two natures, divine and human, inseparably united without mixture or loss of separate identity, without loss or transfer of properties or attributes, the union being personal and eternal.
The dispensation of the hypostatic union began at the moment of the virgin birth that is also classified as the first Advent of Christ or the Incarnation.
From the time of the virgin birth and forever, our Lord Jesus Christ has been and always will be undiminished deity and true humanity in one person.
The doctrine of the hypostatic union was confirmed by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D with the following statement:
The two natures of Christ maintain their complete identity though being joined in personal union forever. The attributes of His human and divine nature belong to their corresponding natures though the attributes of either nature belong to the one person of Christ. Each nature has its own attributes that adhere to that nature.
There is no mixture of the two natures to form a third substance or hypostasis. The human nature always remains the human nature and the divine nature always remains the divine nature.
It is orthodox to refer to Christ as a theanthropic person or the God-man. In him, the two natures are united without transfer of attributes. It is impossible to transfer an attribute of one nature to the other nature without destroying that nature.
The essence is composed of the sum total of its attributes. A change of attributes involves a change of essence. Therefore, there is no change in the essence of deity or the essence of humanity.
The focus of the doctrine concerns the union of two natures, divine and human in one hypostatic union and one person.
The word "nature" comes from the Greek word "ousia", that is the present participle of the Greek word "eimi", which means "that which is one's own." It means essence and it means being. It is the persona of the unique person of the universe. "Ousia" means "being, existing," but comes to mean "nature."
Beginning with the incarnation of Jesus Christ at the virgin birth, a human nature was inseparably united forever with the divine nature of Jesus Christ. Yet the two natures remain distinct, whole, unchanged, without mixture or confusion, so that Jesus Christ is true humanity and undiminished deity in one person forever.
Since the incarnation, Jesus Christ is true humanity and undiminished deity in one unique person forever. Since the virgin birth, it is no longer the divine nature alone which is expressed in His person, but the human nature as well.
The Lord Jesus Christ is unique in the universe. He is God with all the attributes of God. All the attributes of deity adhere to His deity and never cross over and become humanity. All the attributes of humanity adhere to the humanity of Christ and never become deity.
The attributes of the divine nature could not be transferred to the human nature of Jesus Christ to help Him to resist temptation or to meet the great problems of life. The human nature of Christ in hypostatic union had to depend entirely upon the plan of God the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ had to become perfect humanity to be our savior, to be our high priest, to be the mediator between God and man, and to fulfill the promise of the Davidic covenant that David's son would rule forever.
The two natures of Christ in hypostatic union remain distinct, whole, and unchanged without mixture or confusion, so that one unique person, our Lord Jesus Christ, remains forever truly God and truly man.
Whatever the Bible says about either the divine or human nature of Christ must be attributed to the entire person. Whatever is true of either nature is true of the entire person of Christ in hypostatic union. Jesus Christ is not two persons, but one person with two natures.
Jesus Christ is the God-man, undiminished deity and true humanity in one person forever.
The following passages provide Biblical Documentation of the Hypostatic Union.
John 1:1-2, "In a beginning which was not a beginning there always existed the Word (deity of Christ), and the Word was face-to-face with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God."
John 1:14, "And the Word (the deity of Christ) became flesh (true humanity) and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the unique one from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Heb 12:2-3, "Be concentrating on Jesus, author and completer of doctrine, who because of His exhibited happiness, He endured the cross and disregarded the shame, then He sat down at the right hand of God. Think about Jesus who has endured such hostility of sinners against himself, that you may not be fatigued in your souls."
Phil 3:10, "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death."
Rom 1:3-5, "Concerning His Son (deity) who was born from the seed of David according to the flesh (humanity), who has been demonstrated the Son of God by means of power according to the Holy Spirit because of the resurrection from the dead, ...Jesus Christ our Lord (deity and humanity)."
Rom 9:5, "And from whom is the Christ in so far as the flesh is concerned, who is God sovereign over all."
1Tim 3:16; is a summary of the dispensation of the hypostatic union. "And by common acknowledgement, great is the mystery of the spiritual life: He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up into glory."
Heb 1:3, "Who being the flashing forth of the glory, and the exact image of His essence; also sustaining all things by the Word of His power, having Himself accomplished purification for sins (function of His humanity), He was caused to sit down at the right hand of the majesty on high (only humanity sits)."
Heb 2:14, "Therefore, since children (all humanity) share blood and flesh, He also partook of the same (became true humanity), in order that through (substitutionary spiritual) death, He neutralized (rendered powerless) Satan who had the power of death."
Phil 2:5-9, "Keep on thinking this in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who though He existed in the essence of God, He did not think equality with God a gain to be seized; but He laid aside His privileges (kenosis) taking the form of a servant, having come to be in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of (substitutionary spiritual) death, even the death of the cross. Therefore also, God highly exalted Him and gave Him a name (a royal patent) which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father."
Church age believers are to have the same thinking that our Lord had during the dispensation of the hypostatic union. Precedence for our thinking does not go back to Israel. It goes back to the humanity of Christ inside the prototype spiritual life.
This thinking is our worship. John 4:23-24;
Under the doctrine of kenosis, our Lord did not use His deity in connection with the Father's plan for the incarnation.
In this passage we see that the secret of our Lord's greatness in His humanity was his humility. …. "He humbled Himself." This is also the secret to the believer's greatness.
While the two natures of Christ in hypostatic union remain distinct, whole, and unchanged without mixture or transfer one to the other, whatever the Bible says about either nature must be attributed to the entire person of Christ.
The attributes of deity never transfer to humanity or become the attributes of the humanity of Christ.
When Jesus Christ was on earth and facing all of the temptations to sin in His humanity, He did not call on His deity to solve the problem. He solved them from his humanity.
Our Lord never allowed the integrity of His human nature to be compromised by any enablement from His divine nature. All of His enablement came from the Father and Holy Spirit totally apart from His own deity.
He could not depend upon His own deity to prevent Himself from sinning. His deity did not help Him at all because there is no true humanity in Jesus Christ, if the attributes of His deity start functioning in His humanity.
He therefore did not use His deity to resist temptation. He used His humanity. His spiritual life was in His human nature, not His divine nature. He thereby tested and proved the spiritual life that was subsequently given to church age believers on Pentecost from His humanity and became the role model for the church age believer.
Eph 4:13, "until we all attain the objective because of the system from doctrine, and by means of epignosis knowledge of the son of God (understanding the hypostatic union), resulting in the mature believer attaining the stature of the maturity of the fullness of Christ."
The last phrase deals with the prototype spiritual life which he lived entirely in his human nature without any divine attributes coming over to assist.
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