Class Notes: 12/9/2009
The doctrines of Christmas:The Virgin Birth, The Hypostatic Union
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 so much 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 that is composed of his perfect righteousness, his perfect justice and his perfect love.
Last time we saw that there had to be a virgin birth so there would be no transmission of the OSN and then took up the doctrine of the hypostatic union that explains the mechanics of how undiminished deity and true humanity reside in the person of TLJC.
We saw that 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.
We left off last time where we were looking at the fact that his deity did not assist his humanity in maintaining his impeccability during his life on this earth.
He maintained the impeccability of his unglorified humanity through the filling of the Holy Spirit and Bible doctrine circulating in his stream of consciousness.
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.
He had his spiritual life from birth because God the Father imputed the spiritual life to his human spirit at his birth. Because of this Christmas is also a celebration of the spiritual life.
Believers have this same spiritual life imputed to their human spirit at their second birth when they are born again.
This means that the precedence of for the spiritual life of the believer comes from the spiritual life of the unglorified humanity of TLJC.
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 that he lived entirely in his human nature without any divine attributes coming over to assist.
Eph 3:20, "Now to Him who is able to do more than we could ever ask or think on the basis of the power that keeps on working for our benefit, to Him the glory by agency of the Church by agency of Christ Jesus with reference to all generations of this unique age."
Within the hypostatic union, whatever is true of either nature is true of the entire person of Christ. This emphasizes the fact that Jesus Christ is not two persons, but one person with two natures.
To deny that Christ is one person is to deny the Incarnation itself.
Rom 9:5, "From whom are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ in so far as the flesh is concerned, who is God, sovereign over all, blessed forever. Amen."
Our Lord is both "flesh", true humanity, and "God" the divine nature.
Jesus Christ is eternal God.
All divine titles are ascribed to Him. He is called "God," "the Mighty God," "God over all," "the Great God," and "Lord." "kurios" is the Greek word for deity.
All divine attributes are ascribed to Christ. He is declared to be the creator and sustainer of the universe in Col 1:16-17; the flashing forth of God's glory in Heb 1:3, ; immutable, in Heb 13:8; He declared that He and the Father are one in essence in John 10:30.
Jesus Christ is true humanity.
The humanity of Christ is said to have flesh and blood, Heb 2:14; 1John 4:2-3;
Jesus Christ was born into the human race through a virgin pregnancy and virgin birth, Heb 10:5-10; (This passage also indicates that our Lord was fully aware of His deity from birth.).
As we have seen, it was through the virgin birth that Jesus Christ was born without an old sin nature, and therefore, was born without the imputation of Adam's original sin.
He was born trichotomous, having a body, a soul, and a human spirit. Therefore, Christ was born as Adam was created. He depended on the PPOG for his life.
He did not use His deity independent of the Father's plan, as we see in his testing in Matt 4.
He had to depend on the protocol system and the prototype spiritual life. At birth the protocol system was imputed to the human spirit of our Lord.
In Luke 2:52; we see that Jesus had a normal human growth. We see that he suffered pain, hunger, thirst, fatigue, pleasure, rest, death, and resurrection. These are all functions of humanity, not of deity.
Jesus Christ had names and titles associated with His humanity: "the man Christ Jesus," "Son of man," "a man of sorrows," "son of David," and "Jesus."
The incarnation is an eternal arrangement because the two natures of Jesus Christ in hypostatic union maintain their separate identity in one Person forever.
The attributes of one nature are never attributed to the other nature, but the attributes of both natures are properly attributed to one person, TLJC.
There is no transfer of attributes from deity to humanity or from humanity to deity. The attributes of the divine nature belong only to the divine nature. The attributes of the human nature belong only to the human nature.
The attributes of the human and divine natures belong to their corresponding natures while at the same time the attributes of either nature belong to the person of Jesus Christ.
The divine nature always remains undiminished deity. The human nature always remains true humanity. In fact, it is impossible to transfer the attributes of one nature to the other nature without destroying both natures.
His essence is composed of the sum total of its attributes. Therefore, a change of attributes involves a change of essence. To take away a single attribute of our Lord's deity would destroy His deity. To take away a single attribute of His humanity would destroy His humanity.
In the incarnation of Jesus Christ, no attribute of His divine nature is changed.
In the incarnation of Jesus Christ, no attribute of His human nature is changed.
In the fulfillment of God's plan and purpose for the incarnation, it was necessary for certain divine attributes to be unused, but while unused, these attributes were never surrendered.
In the incarnation, the preincarnate Christ as eternal God took on Himself a human nature composed of both material and immaterial elements (body, soul, and human spirit).
While the characteristics of one nature are never attributed to the other nature, the attributes of both natures contribute to the person.
This is why our Lord in hypostatic union could simultaneously be weak and omnipotent, increasing in knowledge and omniscient, finite and infinite during the first Advent.
Since in the one unique person there are two uncompromised natures, there are three categories in this doctrine.
Category one. Some of our Lord's attributes are true of His whole person. This includes such attributes as the fact that our Lord is prophet, priest, and king.
As prophet He anticipates His death on the Cross. As priest He emphasizes the hypostatic union as an efficacious, priestly sacrifice. As king He emphasizes that the Cross must come before the crown. As redeemer at the Cross, Christ is both man and God.
While the humanity of Christ was being judged for the sins of the world, the deity of Christ was there, being omnipresent. We do not take the deity out of Christ just because the humanity of Christ was our redeemer or priest or king.
The true humanity of Jesus Christ was a sin offering as noted in Heb 10:5-10; 2Cor 5:21; 1Cor 11:24.
He is also mentioned as a priest offering a sacrifice.
When Jesus Christ accepted the imputation of all personal sins, this was His expression of impersonal love for all mankind.
When He received the judgment of all the personal sins of mankind that was His expression of personal love for God the Father.
Jesus Christ had to become true humanity to be our Savior. He could not do it as God. He had to become true humanity to be a mediator between God and man, Job 9:2; Job 9:32-33, the savior had to be a mediator between God and man. 1Tim 2:5-6.
Jesus Christ had to become true humanity to be our High Priest, Heb 4:14; a King-Priest, Heb 5:10; 1Pet 2:9.
Jesus Christ had to be born true humanity to fulfill a promise given to David that he would have a son who would rule forever.
Category two. Some attributes are true only of His deity but the whole person is the subject.
John 8:58, "Jesus said to them, `Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham came into being, I existed eternally (I am).'"
Category three. Some attributes are true only of His humanity but the whole person is the subject,
John 19:28, "I thirst." Luke 23:46, "Father into Your hands I commit My spirit."
In some passages, the subject is stated from one nature or his entire person and the predicate addresses another nature.
Rev 1:18, "And the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forever, and I have the keys of death and of Hades."
In this passage, Christ is speaking from the perspective of his deity and from that perspective addresses the fact that "he was dead" an aspect of he humanity.
John 6:62, "What then if you should behold the Son of Man (humanity) ascending where He (deity) was before?"
In this passage, the person of Christ is described according to His human nature, but the predicate references his divine nature
John 5:25-27. The Son of God (deity) speaks and the dead rise up, verse 25. But in verse 27, the Son of Man (humanity) executes judgment.
In this passage starts with his deity in view but ends with his humanity in view.
There was no separation of the humanity and deity of Christ on the Cross; deity was present because Christ, as God, is both immanent and transcendent.
Immanence means that God fills all space with His presence. Transcendence means that God the Son is prior to and exalted above the universe, that He has created and sustains.
As the God-man, Jesus Christ is different from the other members of the Trinity in that He is true humanity, and He is different from mankind in that He is eternal God. The pre-incarnate person of Christ as deity is co-eternal and co-equal with the Father and Holy Spirit.
The incarnation does not in any way diminish or destroy the deity of Christ. The post-incarnate person of Christ includes both undiminished deity and true humanity united in one person forever.
Jesus Christ, therefore, is the unique person of the universe. As infinite and eternal God, He is infinitely superior to angels and mankind. As undiminished deity and true humanity in one person forever he is superior to all angels and mankind.
This is described in Hebrews chapters 1 and 2 and Deut 6:4. "Hear O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is the unique one."
In this passage, the Hebrew word "echad" that is translated "one" in the NASB is more accurately translated " the unique one".
In His deity, He continues to hold the universe together, Col 1:17. Heb 1:3,
During his first advent, under the doctrine of kenosis, TLJC did not use His divine attributes to glorify Himself or to provide for Himself.
The prototype spiritual life fulfilled by the humanity of Christ in hypostatic union plus His efficacious sacrifice plus His resurrection provide the unique content of the dispensational of the incarnation.
Certain aspects of the prototype spiritual life that was used by the humanity of Christ in hypostatic union are adopted for the Church Age and the Millennium.
Christ was brought to completion by rejecting every possible type of temptation while remaining impeccable true humanity and reaching the cross.
Heb 10:12, "But He, having offered one sacrifice as a substitute for our sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God."
Heb 10:14, "For by one offering He has brought to completion for all time those who are being sanctified."
Believers are brought to completion or sanctified by salvation,(justification or positional sanctification) by our post-salvation spiritual life ( experiential sanctification), and by the exit resurrection (glorification or ultimate sanctification).
The great power experiment of the hypostatic union emphasizes the uniqueness and superiority of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As eternal God, He is infinitely superior to all creatures, angels and mankind. As impeccable perfect humanity and the strategic victor in the great power experiment of the hypostatic union, He is superior to all human beings.
In the hypostatic union, the two natures of Christ are united, but without any transfer of attributes. The attributes of deity and the attributes of humanity in hypostatic union adhere to their corresponding natures.
The essence of His deity cannot be changed, Heb 13:8. To take from Christ a single attribute of His deity would destroy His deity. Christ's deity has remained intact in the hypostatic union ever since the virgin birth.
To take from Christ a single attribute of His humanity would destroy His true humanity. Attributes never leave one side of Christ's person and go to the other side. Deity and humanity are united forever.
Jesus Christ is eternal God and His eternal deity was never diminished at any time during the incarnation, or because of the hypostatic union. The incarnation does not destroy His deity. He remains coequal and coeternal throughout the incarnation. Divine essence never overflows into His humanity, nor does His humanity ever overflow into His divine essence.
As true humanity, the incarnate person of Christ has a body, soul, and spirit. Because of the virgin birth He had no old sin nature and no imputation of Adam's original sin and is therefore impeccable.
At birth He received physical life and spiritual life. Only His humanity could die on the cross.
Christ was born with a human spirit and already had eternal life as God. Therefore, the Father had to impute something to His human spirit. So the Father imputed the prototype spiritual life to the human spirit of our Lord.
In His hypostatic union, no attribute of divine essence are compromised or changed.
In the fulfillment of the Father's plan for the hypostatic union, certain attributes of our Lord's deity were not used or manifest, but this does not imply that they were surrendered or destroyed.
Christ did not use His divine attributes for the benefit of Himself or to stay within the Father's plan for his life. Instead, he functioned under the attributes of his humanity through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit provided inside the prototype spiritual life.
Christ didn't exercise His divine attributes to provide for Himself or to glorify Himself according to the doctrine of kenosis.
In the hypostatic union, the two natures of Christ are united without transfer of attributes. The attributes of deity and the attributes of humanity adhere to their corresponding natures.
Therefore, the union of divine essence and the human nature of the incarnate Christ must be considered hypostatic and personal.
Hypostatic refers to his two natures and personal refers to the emergence of the one unique person.
Because of this he is different from God the Father and the Holy Spirit in that He is man. He is different from true humanity in that He is God.
As man He is superior to man because He was perfect and impeccable.
No essence of his deity is changed and no characteristic of his humanity is changed in the union. He is therefore unique.
In the hypostatic union, the attributes of deity and the attributes of humanity adhere to their corresponding natures. The attributes of deity adhere to His deity; the attributes of humanity adhere to His humanity.
The essence of God is immutable and cannot be changed.
To take a single attribute of deity from Christ in hypostatic union would destroy His deity. To take a single attribute of humanity from Christ in hypostatic union would destroy His humanity.
Therefore, in the hypostatic union, the two natures of Jesus Christ are united without loss or transfer of attributes. In the hypostatic union, no attribute of the deity of Christ is lost, compromised, or changed. In the hypostatic union, no attribute of the humanity of Christ is lost, compromised, or changed.
This is a very important doctrine because without it there is no salvation because it was the humanity of Christ that provided salvation on the cross. "He carried our sins in His own body." In order to do this, He had to become true humanity.
As God, He couldn't save us without violating his perfect integrity, It was His human body that carried our sins. As He said at the first Eucharist, "this is My body which is given for you."
Everything related to eternal life hangs on this. Jesus Christ is God and Jesus Christ is true humanity.
There is no eternal salvation, no eternal life for mankind without the hypostatic union.
In the execution of the Father's plan in the dispensation of the hypostatic union certain divine attributes were not used under the doctrine of kenosis.
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