Today’s podcast continues the series, Know What You Believe… In this series, we’re looking at the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. I hope you enjoy.
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We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus—Israel’s promised Messiah—was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.
Everything in your faith rises and falls on Jesus. Who is he? What do you make of him? What do you do with his claims?
You probably wouldn’t have made it this far into the Grace Pathway without having believed in him as your Savior. That moment is like stepping through a doorway into a breathtaking palace. Having Jesus as your Savior first makes it possible to begin experiencing Jesus in all his other titles and roles too.
When we organize all the wonderful truths the Bible tells us about Jesus, we wind up with two main sub-topics: his Person and his Work.
The Person of Christ tells us who he is and what he is like.
The Work of Christ tells us what he did for us, focused mainly on his saving work in the Cross and Resurrection.
For example, in the doctrinal statement at the beginning of this chapter, there are three sentences. The first two sentences talks about the Person of Christ. The third sentence talks about the Work of Christ. Take a look.
In a short chapter like this, we can only study a tiny tip of a gigantic iceberg about the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. The Bible affirms the immensity of his Person and Work:
And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. (John 21:25)
But it has never been truer of a person to say that to know him is to love him. The more you learn about Jesus, the stronger your love for him will grow. And the stronger your love for him grows, the more you begin to think, believe, live, and choose a life that honors him.
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The Person of Christ: Fully Human / Fully Divine
Just as the Trinity puts God in a class by himself, the Person of Christ puts Jesus in a class by himself too.
Jesus is the only person who pre-existed his own birthday. Long before that first Christmas, long before Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem, and the Virgin gave birth to a child, the Son of God enjoyed the glories of heaven, since the ages of eternity past.
The first, most important, non-negotiable truth to understand about Jesus is that he is fully human and fully divine. Jesus is the God-Man in ways utterly unlike any of the hybrids of ancient religion.
Jesus is fully God. He is co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. He is not a junior god, as we’ve already seen. Some verses that affirm the deity of Christ include:
• In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
• Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58)
• Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
This is not the place to defend doctrine as much as to just lay it out, so I’ll not add the overwhelming Scriptural teaching that Jesus Christ is truly, fully, and eternally God Most High. At the same time…
Jesus is fully Human. In his human nature, the only difference between Jesus and everybody else is the complete absence of sin from his life. Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life.
Other than that, he walked the road we all walk. He felt pain. He got tired. He was hungry and thirsty. Jesus wept over things that broke his heart. There were times when he said he didn’t know certain things. Whatever limits humans feel, Jesus felt. Whatever pain, whatever temptations, whatever frustrations we feel, Jesus felt to the maximum. He really was a human.
You might wonder how he might feel pain or suffer temptations if he were also God. Couldn’t he cheat and use his God powers to make life easier?
Well, he could, but he didn’t….
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