THE HUMANITY OF JESUS CHRIST
John 1:1, 14: Phil. 2:8a
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was GodÖ .And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth"; "And being found in fashion as a manÖ"
In the last issue of The Fundamentalist Digest, this editor delineated the Scripture truth concerning the deity of Jesus Christ (I John 5:20); that He is the second person of the triune God (I John 5:7); one God in essence, but three persons in distinction (Matt. 28:18-20, II Cor. 13:14). In this issue, he is concentrating on Christís humanity.
In John 1:14, the apostle John inextricably links the glory of Jesus Christ with the glory of God the Father. The phrase "the glory of God" (Ps. 19:1, Rom. 3:23) refers to the sum total of Godís attributes, divine character and intrinsic perfections. John 1:14 makes it plain that the glory of God the Father and the glory of Christ are inseparable, while II Cor. 4:6 indicates that "the glory of God" is manifested "in the face of Jesus Christ."
The glories of ChristóHis attributes, characteristics and perfectionsócan be divided into three categories: (a) Christís essential glories, (b) Christís earthly glories and (c) Christís earned glories.
Christís essential glories are those which pertain to Him as the eternal Son of God, eternally co-existent with God the Father ("Before Abraham was, I am" John 8:58) and co-equal with God the Father ("I and my Father are one." John 10:31)
Christís earthly glories are those perfections attached to every human relationship He maintained and to every human circumstance with which He was associated while temporarily dwelling upon this earth in His first advent. This earthly glory is reflected in Christís question with its obvious answer in John 8:46 "which of you convinceth me of sin?"
Christís earned glories are those rewards rightly conferred on Him by God the Father when He returned back to the heavenlies after His earthly triumph. These earned glories are depicted in the changed seating arrangement upon His return to the third heaven where God the Father dwells.
To grasp its significance, readers may need a few moments to ponder the following facts. In Ps. 16:8, in eternity past, Christ is portrayed as being seated at the left hand of Godís throne, while God the Father is pictured as being on the right hand.
In Ps. 16:9-10, Christ has come to this earth, paid the price for our sin on Calvary and his soul has descended temporarily in the upper compartment of hell. When he died (I Cor. 15:2), Christís spirit and soul were temporarily separated from his body, (Luke 23:43 & 46), His soul descended into hell (Eph. 4:9-10), while his body was placed in a sepulchre (John 19:40-42). On the third day, He rose again with an incorruptible body and 40 days later He ascended back to the heavenlies, (Eph. 4:8 & 10) where He is now seated at the right hand of God the Father (Ps. 16:10, Heb. 1:3, 10:12).
This editorial concentrates on Christís earthly glories, on His humanity that began with the incarnation and the virgin birth.
I. Christís Humanity was a TIMED humanity and that humanity was a SUPERIOR Humanity. Christ did not possess an eternal humanity, as some individuals have errantly taught. Phil. 2:7 states that He "made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man." Heb. 2:14 reiterates this truth when the writer states, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he likewise himself took part," while Heb. 2: 16 declares that "he took on him the seed of Abraham."
This timed humanity was a SUPERIOR humanity. There never has been a human being equal to Him and there never will be anyone who can supplant Him. Christís incarnation and virgin birth was timed by God: Gal. 4:4 states that "when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law."
A. In His timed humanity, Christ was superior in His PRECEPTS. In John 7:46, the Jewish officials who were responsible for abducting Christ but failed to do so explained their refusal with these words, "Never man spake like this man." Luke 1:22 says that "he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes."
B. In his timed humanity, Christ was also superior in His PERCEPTIONS. In John 2:23-25, speaking of Christ, John writes that "many believed in his name, when they saw the many miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all menÖfor he knew what was in man."
C. In his timed humanity, Christ was superior in his PLEADINGS. It is an often overlooked fact that Christ never asked anyone to pray for Him. The apostle Paul frequently requested the saints to pray for him (I Thess. 5:22, II Thess. 3:2), but Christ never appealed to anyone to intercede to His Heavenly Father on His behalf.
Furthermore, when Christ was praying to His heavenly Father, He never used the same terminology as He did when he taught the disciples to pray to His/their heavenly Father. In the model prayer in Matthew six, He taught the disciples to pray "Our Father," (Matt. 6:9), but when He prayed, Christ only used the term "Father" or "O Father." (John 17:15). As sincere as many of the prayers of saints in Scripture may be, they can never compare with the earnest pleadings of Christ in His prayers.
There is a distinct difference in God being the eternal heavenly Father to Christ (John 17:5) and in God becoming the heavenly Father of repentant sinners through faith in Christ (Gal. 3:26).
II. Christís Humanity was a TRUE humanity and that humanity was a SELFLESS humanity. Christís human life was totally devoid of any selfish interests, personal gain or prideful vanity. In John 5:30 He stated, "ÖI seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which sent me," while in John 8:29, he declared, "I do always those things that please him." In Rom. 15:3 the apostle reiterates that "even Christ pleased not himself."
A TRUE HUMANITY
As a real human being, Christ took upon himself both a human body (John 1:14, I Tim. 3:16) and a genuine human nature as well (Phil. 2:5 & 8). It should be noted that this TRUE humanity manifested authentic human characteristics.
A. Christís true humanity exhibited human instincts. Christís humanity contained all the sinless infirmities related to actual existence. Christ grew weary (John 4:6), He suffered hunger (Matt. 4:2), He became thirsty (John 19:28), He needed sleep (Matt. 8:24) and He was tempted (Heb. 2:18. He also desired human sympathy, sought divine assistance and subjected Himself to the rules of human parentage. Christ wept, cried, prayed, ate, slept, and drank liquids, etc., manifesting every sinless trait and every sinless infirmity of human flesh.
B. Christís true humanity exercised human intelligence. Christ possessed a human mind that manifested the capabilities of thinking and exercising human will power. Phil. 2:3 says, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." Christ used his human intelligence to make reasoned thoughts in his words and prayers before their utterance.
C. Christís true humanity expressed human interests. Christ knew something about the building construction business, having been taught carpentry as a child/youth. He knew about fishing, speaking frequently about it in his personal and sermon discourses. He manifested a genuine love for children, taking them lovingly into his human arms.
A SELFLESS HUMANITY
A. Christís selfless humanity was a holy humanity. Heb. 7:26 says of Him "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." Speaking of Christ, Isaiah uses the phrase "the holy one" or the "holy one of Israel" 26 times in his O. T. prophetic book.
B. Christís selfless humanity was a humble humanity. Writing about Christís selfless humiliation, Paul stated: "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Phil. 2:8) The creator of all things and the God of all glory permitted Himself to be crucified on a tree that He himself had formed!
C. Christís selfless humanity was a harmonious humanity. Everything in Christís life was in perfect balance, there was nothing in His life that was out of proportion. All the powers of his soul and body were in perfect harmony with each other. Justice and mercy were always in perfect balance in Christís actions. Truth and love were always manifest in perfect synchronism in His life.
There was nothing in excess in Christ. The famed Bible teacher, Dr. R. A. Torrey noted that Christís "firmness never degenerated into obstinacy or His calmness into indifference. His gentleness never became weakness, or His elevation of soul forgetfulness of others. He never spoke when it would be better to keep silence; He never kept silence where it would be better to speak." The virtues in Christís nature never clashed one with one another.
III. Christís Humanity was a TESTED humanity and that humanity was a SINLESS humanity. Christís humanity was clearly tested; tested, tried, and tempted but always unaffected in His sinless nature. Matt. 4:1 declares that Jesus was "led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." Heb. 2:18 says, "For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted," while Heb. 4:5 states that "we have not an high priest which cannot be tempted with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
A. Christís tested humanity was an immaculate humanity. The word immaculate means perfectly clean, without spot or stain, unsoiled, without faults, flaws or errors. Christís human nature was perfectly holy and pure, without the slightest trace of sin.
(l) Christís birth was an immaculate birth. Matt. 1:20 indicates that Jesusí human conception occurred via the divine impetus of the Holy Spirit. The seed that was placed in Maryís womb by the Holy Ghost was the seed of perfect man.
(2) Christís being was an immaculate being. Some cultists claim that while Christ lived a sinless life, He possessed a sinful nature, but Scripture refutes this error. Rom. 8:3 states that God sent in the "likeness of sinful flesh," not "the sinful likeness of men."
(3) Christís behavior was immaculate behavior. In John 8:46, Christ challenged his detractors when He openly rebuked them by saying "which of you convinceth me of sin?" Judas Iscariot had to reluctantly admit that he had "betrayed innocent blood." Jesus Christ was the only human being who lived his entire life inside out!
B. Christís tested humanity was an impeccable humanity. One of the great theological questions of the ages is "Could Christ have sinned?" On this issue, some well-noted Fundamentalists have gone astray in their theological beliefs claiming that Christís humanity carried within it the ability to sin, but the Scriptures teach otherwise.
What is temptation? In its simplest terms, temptation is simply the solicitation to evil and sin. The real nature of temptation does not rest in the nature of the person being solicited, but in the individual doing the soliciting. There are three possible sources of temptation: The world (I John 25-17) the flesh (Rom. 7:18) and the devil (Matt. 4:4). Solicitation to evil can come from within a person or it can come from without an individualís nature.
The key question is: Did Christís solicitation to evil comes from within His nature? The answer is obviously, NO: it came from without, from Satan. Christ was tempted not to prove that He could sin, but to prove that He could not sin!
Emery Bancroft in his book Elemental Theology stated, "Christ possessed no moral limitations which were due to sin or which involved the possibility of sinning." Dr. W. E. Best in his treatise, The Impeccable Christ wrote: "A peccable Christ would mean a peccable God," while the noted New York City pastor Dr. I. M. Haldeman declared: "His human nature was holy. Scripture calls it Ďthat holy thing.í Since its quality was the holiness of God there was no sin in it, and no possible tendency to sin."
C. Sadly, Christís tested humanity is an inappreciated humanity. John 1:11 indicates that he came unto his own [creation], but his own [people] received him not." Jesus Himself stated in John 5:39, "Ye will not come to me that ye might have life." Tragically today, the vast majority of the worldís populace rejects this one who always possessed eternal deity (John 1:1), but who became the God-man in His incarnation (John 1:14), deity now forever robed in human flesh.
Conclusion: The God-man Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man (I Tim. 2:5). As the Saviour who paid redemptionís price (Rom. 3:24-25), He alone can save (Acts 4:12) and has the power to remit our sins (Heb. 7:25). The great question is simply this: Are you saved? If not, come now to Christ for there is an open invitation for you-Matt. 11:28-30, John 3:16, Rom. 10:13 D.J.
Also in this issue:
|Editorial Ė June - July 2007 The Fundamentalist Digest: Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.|