Class Notes: 12/22/2010
The Doctrines of Christmas part 2
Continuing with our discussion of the meaning of Christmas that we started last time...
For believers in TLJC, every day is to be Christmas. Phil 1:21; but since we are celebrating Christmas at this time it is appropriate for us to review some of the doctrines related to the first advent of TLJC via the Virgin Birth.
We left off with Jesus advancing in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52; Jesus "grew in wisdom (epignosis Bible doctrine available to be applied to experience), stature, and in favor with God and man,"
He quickly reached spiritual self-esteem from His personal love for God followed by spiritual autonomy and impersonal love for all mankind, and cognitive invincibility at spiritual maturity. This was demonstrated by the unique temptations of His evidence testing found in Matt 4; and Luke 4;
So after being born perfect, our Jesus Christ continued to live perfectly in the prototype spiritual life for thirty-three years. He never committed any personal sin. He was tempted far beyond anything we will ever understand, but remained impeccable. Heb 4:15; He resisted temptations that we will never even experience and He reached the cross with impeccability.
Jesus Christ's unique identity cannot be understood without a discussion of the doctrine of the Hypostatic Union. Jesus Christ is God, and as God, He is coequal and coeternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
All three members of the Trinity when viewed from the attributes of God have identical essence. In this sense, God is said to be one. But there are actually three persons in the Godhead, all having identical attributes.
Each one has coequal, coeternal, and co-infinite sovereignty, holiness, justice, righteousness, love, eternal life, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, immutability and veracity. We see from this that God is One in essence but three in persons.
But at the point of the virgin birth that we celebrate at Christmas, Jesus Christ became different from the Father and the Holy Spirit because He also became true humanity or the God-man. This is the doctrine of the Hypostatic Union
In the person of the incarnate Christ are two natures, inseparably united, without mixture or loss of separate identify, without loss or transfer of properties or attributes, the union both personal and eternal.
In other words, since the incarnation, our Lord Jesus Christ is both true humanity and undiminished deity in one person forever. So Jesus Christ is different from the Father and the Spirit in that He is true humanity and He is different from true humanity in that He is God.
The pre-incarnate person of Christ was deity. But once His First Advent occurred at the point of the virgin birth, Jesus Christ became the unique person forever, the unique God-man. John 3:16; Net note 37
As God, Jesus Christ could have nothing to do with sin so to be our Savior Jesus Christ had to become human. . For redemption to occur, the sins of the world had to be imputed to the impeccable humanity of Christ on the cross where the justice of God the Father judged every one of those sins.
The whole purpose of the virgin birth was to enable our Lord to be born perfect into the spiritual life. His purpose while on earth was to remain in that state of perfection in the spiritual life so that, when He arrived at the cross, He was still perfect humanity and therefore qualified to be judged for the sins of the world as our substitute and Savior.
That's the basis for our salvation. Without becoming true humanity, Jesus could not have been judged for the sins of the world and we could not be saved. This makes him the only way of salvation. Acts 4:10-12;
He had to become human to be the Mediator, 1Tim 2:5-6; Heb 9:14-15; Christmas celebrates this event.
This makes Jesus Christ as the mediator between God and man equal with both parties. Jesus Christ is both God and true humanity. As God He is equal with God the Father. As true humanity, He is equal with all members of the human race. So as the God-man, He becomes the Mediator between God and man.
Our Lord's salvation work required that He be true humanity. Our Lord had to become true humanity to have equivalency with Adam as man was created to be our mediator. Jesus Christ is equivalent to Adam as Adam was created perfect before he sinned.
A mediator has to be equal with both parties. The first party here is God; the second party is man. The only qualified mediator has to be God and has to be true humanity. The mediator has to be equal with man as he was created perfect from the hand of God, not equal with sinful man. The problem is how to bring these two antithetical parties together.
Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus Christ to become a man, minus the old sin nature, Adam's original sin, or any personal sin.
As the mediator, Jesus Christ must have equal integrity toward both parties. He had to live a human life of perfect integrity to be qualified to be our mediator. He had to have perfect human integrity to be qualified as a mediator for mankind.
With these qualifications, the humanity of Jesus Christ provided the basis for mediation through His substitutionary sacrifice on the Cross.
Jesus Christ in hypostatic union is the only qualified mediator between God and mankind because He is perfect, eternal God, and simultaneously He has perfect integrity as a human being in his hypostatic union.
Salvation came after mediatorship. Mediatorship had to come first before Christ could provide our salvation.
Jesus Christ is the mediator. He accomplished mediatorship through his unique person and his unique work: redemption, propitiation and reconciliation. His work removes the separation between God and man that is caused by the old sin nature and spiritual death.
He had to become human to be our High Priest and he is presently seated at the right hand of the Father in His glorified humanity where as our great High Priest he keeps on making intercession for us. Heb 1:3; Rom 8:34;
A priest is defined as a member of the human race who represents himself or humanity before God. A priest must have the same nature of the persons for whom he acts or represents.
Heb 7:4-5, 14, 28; Heb 10:5,10-14; all state that a priest must be a member of the human race.
Heb 5:1-6; "For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;
v2 he is able to moderate his feelings with regard to the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is subject to weakness,
v3 and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins as a substitute for the people, and so also for himself.
v4 And no one takes the honor for himself, but receives it when he is appointed by God, even as Aaron was.
v5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, (Psa 2:7) `You are My Son, today I have begotten You';
v6 just as He also says in another Scripture (Psa 110:4), `You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.'
Because of their union with TLJC, the entire royal family in the Church Age, is referred to as a "kingdom of priests," 1Pet 2:9;
He is not a Levitical priest from Israel nor is he qualified to be one because he is from the tribe of Judah, but with His third royal patent He became a royal high priest.
As His royal family in the Church Age and sharing all He has by our union with him in positional sanctification, each Church Age believer is a royal priest.
He also had to become human to become the Son of David, 2Sam 7:12-13; Psa 89:28-29;
Over 3000 years ago, God promised David that he would have a son who would reign forever. This promise was made in the form of an unconditional covenant and being unconditional it must be fulfilled.
So at the First Advent through the virgin birth, our Lord received His second royal title, "Son of David." In order to become the Son of David, Jesus Christ had to become true humanity.
In His Second Advent our Lord will fulfill that unconditional promise to David. The humanity of Christ, riding a white horse, will come back and reign on earth, not only for the 1000 years of the Millennium, but for all eternity in the new heavens and earth. Luke 1:31-33;
The promise that was offered to Israel in the First Advent is fulfilled unconditionally in the Second Advent because of God's integrity.
When the apostles dealt with the Jews after the Day of Pentecost , they always brought up the question: how can Jesus Christ be the Son of David and at the same time be God?
The answer is found in the doctrine Hypostatic Union and it leads to the concept of redemption and salvation.
Some passages related to the virgin birth that we celebrate at Christmas include:
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 words of Christ as he came into the world. Heb 10:5-7;
The result of the virgin birth; John 1:14; Rom 1:3; Rom 10:4; 1Tim 3:16; 2Cor 5:18-21; Heb 2:14; Phil 2:5-11;
v5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
v6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
v7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
v8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
v9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
v10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
v11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
As we celebrate Christmas let's recall these doctrines so that Christmas is not only the Ritual that we do but also the Reality of our thinking.
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