The Perfect Humanity Of Christ
The Hypostatic Union
When considering the Hypostatic Union of Christ, we must remember that the Son existed from all eternity as one of the three distinct personalities within the one substance of the Trinity.
The Incarnation took place through the method of the Virgin Birth, when Jesus took on, not another personality, but another nature – the nature of humanity.
It was a full humanity, but one without sin. This humanity was created by God the Father and the Holy Spirit, and the Son entered into it and took it unto Himself.
This uniting of the two natures is called the Hypostatic Union. It is the balance of both of the natures within one substance. Christ was very God and very Man. When we take an unbalanced position, the result is error in the belief of the nature of Christ and the work He has done for me in redemption.
Unbalanced Beliefs of the Hypostatic Union of Christ
There is a danger when studying the hypostatic union of Christ to overemphasize the one nature to the neglect of the other. Even if the reason may be honorable, the danger lies in affecting the hypostasis of that union and destroying what the Son became. The result is a belief that Christ’s humanity was not fully true humanity.
1. The belief that the hypostatic union was only in semblance.
The Gnostics believed that Christ’s body was a phantom, or that the spirit of Christ was in the bloody of Jesus, the latter therefore declaring it was two different persons. They taught that the physical body was evil and only the spirit was good. Because of that belief, it necessitated the denouncing of the true body of humanity.
2. The belief that the humanity of Christ was more of a passive nature, or that He had perhaps a body and a nature of man, but He did not have the spirit of man; the Logos took the place of the human spirit.
3. The belief that a deeper reverence is paid to Christ’s deity by denying or diminishing His humanity.
4. The belief that it is impossible to conceive of humanity and divinity in one personality.
These erroneous beliefs show us how imperative it is to allow the Bible to declare this hypostatic union. We look to the Gospel writers to witness the miraculous balance of the two natures of the Son of God.
The Human Nature Of Christ
There are six divisions in the life Christ where the Bible presents the perfect humanity of our Saviour.
1. Christ’s Physical Life
The Son was born into the world, being conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary. (Luke 2:7)
- Christ was a helpless babe, dependent on His mother (Luke 2:7)
- Christ was subject to the authority of a home (Luke 2:51)
- Christ grew, from a newborn babe to an adult (Luke 2:40,52)
- Christ hungered and he ate (Luke 4:2)
- Christ thirsted and drank (John 4:7)
- Christ worked and became weary (John 4:6)
- Christ felt the need of rest and sleep (Luke 8:23)
- Christ’s body suffered pain and privation (His death).
- Christ learned a trade and worked at it for 18 years.
- And Christ died.
2. Christ’s Moral Life
Christ had an unwavering sense of duty, an intense consciousness of right and wrong which led Him to feel the pressure of temptation and to resist it.
- Christ recognized and accepted opportunity and responsibility.
- Christ possessed moral qualities in his character: love of God and man, self-control, self-denial, self-respect, honorable sincerity, courage, calmness, patience, prudence, humility, endurance, and goodness.
3. Christ’s Emotional Life
Christ entered fully into the experiences of joy and sorrow.
- Christ exhibited wonder and surprise
- Christ displayed love and anger, indignation and compassion.
- Christ sought sympathy and felt the pain of disappointment.
- More than once, Christ wept
- Christ’s gratitude and zeal were unmistakable.
4. Christ’s Intellectual Life
The Gospels record that He grew in wisdom. What Christ knew as man, He must have learned.
- Christ went to the synagogue, as did every Jewish boy, and His mind developed as our minds do.
- The existence of all knowledge and limited knowledge in one and the same person is part of the mystery of the Incarnation, of the divine and the human in one personality.
- We must remember that within His life on earth He was in the kenosis state: though deity was His nature, He chose not to draw from that deity to satisfy His humanity.
5. Christ’s Social Life
Christ lived a social life.
- Christ was a member of a family, having a mother, brothers and sisters, and an earthly father.
- Christ fitted into the social life of His time.
- Christ attended a wedding feast and accepted invitations to dinner.
- Christ had special friends such as Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.
- Christ needed and wanted companionship, and He fount it in the company of His apostles and of those women who ministered to His temporal needs. With His last words He made provision for the temporal care of His mother.
6. Christ’s Religious Life
Christ’s religious life is a profound and difficult subject to expound, but the essence of it consists in His relation as a man to God.
- Christ revealed a deep sense of His dependence on God His Father, and apart fro God he had no thoughts, desires, or will.
- Christ’s sense of dependence was repeatedly expressed in such passages as “The Son can do nothing of himself.” (John 5:19)
- Christ had a habit of prayer, which is prominently recoreded in Luke’s and John’s Gospels. His life was a life of prayer; He taught much on prayer.
- Christ’s absorbing love for His Father is another evidence of His religious life. His love for the Father became the very atmosphere in which all His actions performed and all His feelings felt.
The Sinless Humanity Of Christ
But amidst this human nature and expressions, we must safeguard His humanity. Christ’s humanity was not only perfect, but it was also without fault of sin.
In the Gospels we read of the life of Christ. It is clear that such a life could not have been created by a human mind. The false gods and demi-gods of history all possessed faults and failures. They committed atrocities and sins worse than those who served them. The Gospel writers present to us the reality of the perfection of Christ’s life. His life was not the creations of man’s imaginations.
The biography of the character of Christ stands apart from all others. All that was written of him and about him in the Scriptures is true.
There was no consciousness of sin. The sinlessness of Christ relates to His humanity, not His deity. He was a sinless man. Sinless in His thoughs, motives, deeds, and His words. We must make this following point very clear, that Christ’s sinlessness was not attained but was found in His moment by moment living. The believer will one day be sinless, but our sinlessness will be attained in glory. Jesus was born sinless, and bypassed the corrupted seed of Adam, living a sinless life.
Chris’s life was the only unspotted life that has been lived within our sinful race. Had he not been sinless, to have made as He did such a claim for Himself would of itself been sin.
Oh, the Perfect Unity of Christ! His humanity relates Him to the human race; His divinity relates Him to the Eternal God. And His unity relates Him to both God and man.
This matter of the unity of Christ is the profoundest mystery, and the only knowledge we can have of it must be derived from what the Scriptures say.
“Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh” (I Timothy 3:16)
Article Source: The Gospel According To Luke: The Humanity of Christ. [Lecture Two by Dr. H. T. Spence for Summer Studies 2020 at Foundations Bible Collegiate Church.]