Tuesday, August 30, 2016

First Things First: Unique nature of Christ

In this series, I'll be going through the first column of my doctrinal perspectives chart, defining each topic and defending its priority. Reference the chart for more information.

Doctrine: Unique nature of Christ

Definition: Jesus is the eternal God, coming to earth as 100% God and 100% man, being born of a virgin, possessing no sinful nature, and never committing any act of evil

Why it's primary: The identity and particular nature of Christ is of paramount importance in theological discussion and development. Because Jesus is the supreme focus of the Christian religion (and all of human history, for that matter), some aspects of His nature must be prerequisite convictions for any person to claim identification with Him and His people.

The following doctrines are key to the unique nature of Christ.

Diety: Jesus is God. He's the eternal Ruler of the universe, all things having been made by Him, for Him, and through Him. He had no beginning; He has no end; He is the I AM. John 1:1-14, Colossians 1:15-22, Hebrews 1:1-4

Hypostatic Union: It's likely that you've heard this term before -- but do you know what it means? The hypostatic union is the teaching that Jesus Christ came into human existence possessing a nature that was fully God and fully man. His nature was not made up of two parts (partly God and partly human); His nature was not just God or just human. The Messiah, the Son of God, lived out His life on earth with these two natures. Mark 2:5-12, John 5, Philippians 2:3-11

Virgin Birth: Because Jesus is God and because He needed to be found in human form as part of the plan of redemption, He needed to be brought into the world purely. As established in the last post, all people who are born possess a sin nature; therefore, Christ had to be born uniquely. The Father sent forth His Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and carried by the virgin Mary. It was necessary for Jesus to be born this way so that He would not be affected by man's sinful nature. Luke 1:26-38, Galatians 4:4-6

Perfection: Being God, Jesus can never sin. It's also important to note that during His earthly ministry He never sinned. There are many reasons for this, but the most prominent is that the sacrificial system established by God in the Old Covenant required that sacrifices for the people be made with a spotless animal. The Passover, for instance, required the slaughtering of the finest lamb. Jesus, as the final sacrifice, had to be spotless. Matthew 4, 1 Corinthians 5:7, Hebrews 4:15

As God's people have maintained for millennia, if any of these core tenants of Christ's unique nature are rejected, it is done so in error. Christ's deity, His dual nature, the virgin birth, and His sinlessness are each essential to the gospel.

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