Let me first put in two disclaimers before this blog.
- There are some things about doctrine that I hold with a closed fist. These things are non-negotiable and absolute. Deviation from them would no longer fit the biblical message I believe. There are many things about doctrine that I hold with an open hand. These things are areas I believe and how I explain what I understand in the Bible. But these things are not as absolute. It is possible to disagree with me here and still believe in the same biblical message I believe. Today’s statement is held with an open hand.
- This issue has been one hotly debated topic that some attempt to move to a closed fist argument. I believe it is a mistake to do so and attempting to move those opened handed items into a close fist doctrine is what often divides the church.
Having said that, I want to talk about the humanity and deity of Christ. Jesus Christ, is both fully God and fully man. But how can that be and what does that look like and where can we point in the Bible to affirm this view? That is what I will attempt to answer here.
Jesus is eternal.
Perhaps the two most quotes scriptures about the existence of Jesus as part of God before the birth told in the Gospels would be in Genesis and John.
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Gen 1:26a)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2)
Jesus (the Word of God) has been with and part of God from the beginning.
Jesus fully man.
When Jesus enters the world as a baby, as told in three Gospels, He is fully man. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:5-8)
He emptied Himself and was now in human form. This understanding is critical for the value of the cross. For if Jesus was fully God the entire time, then the value of Him living a blameless life would be no big deal. But if He spent 30 years on this earth as fully man and was still blameless, that that would mean something. For this reason, and for the season of those first 30 years, He “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” so He released it.
Jesus fully God.
We already discussed how Jesus was fully God before He arrived as a baby, but how or when did He regain His deity? At the beginning of His ministry.
All four Gospels describe this scene is almost the exact same way, but I like Luke’s version. “when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”” (Luke 3:21-22)
From this point through the ascension, Jesus was still fully man but was also fully God.
Why does all of this matter?
Simple. And this part is certainly held with a closed fist.
If Jesus were only God, then His sacrifice would not suffice. Because it is obvious for God to live a blameless life… but for a man to live a blameless life… on that life could be a worthy sacrifice to pay for our sins.
If Jesus were only man, then His claim to also be God would be false and the entire Gospel message would have no value.
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