The Incarnation

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“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn. 1:14). John taught the true deity of the Son (Jn. 1:1) and the incarnation of the Son (Jn. 1:18). The Son of God did not transform into a human or divest himself of divine qualities in order to function as a human. Since God does not change (Js. 1:17), we understand that “without ceasing to be what he was, he became what he was not” (Gregory Nazianzen Epistle 101).

Both the divine and human natures of Christ are seen in Acts 20:28, “God purchased the church with his own blood.” God, since he is spirit and does not have a body (Jn. 4:24), does not have blood. God cannot die since he is life (Ex. 3:14; Jn. 5:26), and is eternally the same (Ps. 102:27). Still, the church was purchased with nothing less than the blood of God by virtue of Christ’s human nature.

Christ had to have a true human nature to be the High Priest for the redeemed. Hebrews 2:17 teaches, “he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:17 is important to our understanding of Christ because it teaches us that Jesus was true human just like every other human even though he was also true God unlike every creature. Jesus’ human nature allowed him to experience human life as we do. He “suffered when tempted.” In this way, he is also “able to help those who are tempted” as the “merciful and faithful High Priest.”

Christians need to remember that, after the incarnation, Jesus had two complete natures while he was one person. We should not attribute human characteristics to the divine nature of divine characteristics to the divine nature. Still, salvation depends upon the one person who, “existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow” (Phil. 2:5-11 CSB).

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