The States of Christ

Jesus, the Christ

“In the state of humiliation Christ was under the law, not only as a rule of life, but as the condition of the covenant of works, and even under the condemnation of the law; but in the state of exaltation He is free from the law, having met the condition of the covenant of works and having paid the penalty for sin.”

The definition of the terms: “person” and “nature”

“The term “nature” denotes the sumtotal of all the essential qualities of a thing, that which makes it what it is. A nature is a substance possessed in common, with all the essential qualities of such a substance. The term “person” denotes a complete substance endowed with reason, and, consequently, a responsible subject of its own actions. Personality is not an essential and integral part of 352 a nature, but is, as it were, the terminus to which it tends. A person is a nature with something added, namely, independent subsistence, individuality. Now the Logos assumed a human nature that was not personalized, that did not exist by itself.”

“THE WORD BECAME FLESH”

It’s important to distinguish between human ‘person’ and human ‘nature.’ Human nature is what makes human human, namely human body and human soul. However, human nature does not contain human person in it. Human person always have human nature, however not the other way around. Jesus was not a human person but the second person of the Holy Trinity. As the second person of the Trinity, Jesus was divine person, pre-existing before the incarnation and eternal, unchangeable, infinite God. But He took on himself human nature, not the human person. Therefore, He became one person but with two nature: the human nature and the divine nature.

Therefore, before the incarnation, he was only the divine person. He was person with only divine nature. He had all the attributes of God but he didn’t have human nature composed of human body and human soul. He was Logos. But after the incarnation, he is not only divine but also human. His person now contains two natures and he cannot be only divine but he can be human too. He is the God-man.

And on top of that we should add that human nature is not impersonal but rather personal. Louis Berkhof’s description is very helpful here. “The Logos assumed that nature into personal subsistence with Himself. The human nature has its personal existence in the person of the Logos. It is in-personal rather than impersonal.”

It’s hard. I don’t understand this very well. But I believe in this. Even though I don’t know and I don’t understand what I’m talking about, I do believe in what I’m talking about. This is a great mystery of how one person can have two natures, two distinct human and divine nature, yet not confounded and completely harmonious.

The person who was born of the virgin Mary was not the human person, but the person of the Son of God.

  • The State of Humiliation
    • the kenosis
      • Phil 2:7
      • He laid aside the divine majesty, the majesty of the sovereign Ruler of the universe, and assumed human nature in the form of a servant
    • the tapeinosis
      • Phil 2:8
      • He became subject to the demands and to the curses of the Law
      • Passive obedience and active obedience throughout his whole life
    • Stages of humiliation
      • Incarnation
        • The subject of the incarnation
          • It was not the trinue God who incarnated but the second person of the Trinity, that is God the Son.
          • Incarnation presupposes pre-existence of our Lord
        • The necessity of Incarnation
          • Why did the Lord have to assume human nature and dwell among us?
            • Because of the fall, because of the entrance of sin into this world
        • The change effected in the incarnation
          • John 1:14 “Word became flesh” doesn’t mean that the essential nature of Logos was changed. Our Lord just took on an additional form
          • It does mean that Lord took on human nature — consiting of body and soul — but He remained eternal and unchangeable Son of God
        • Lord became one of us, one of the human race
          • Thereby, the mediatory work of Christ can be efficacious to us
        • Incarnation effected by supernatural conception and virgin birth
          • This means that without the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, the incarnation would have been impossible
          • The work of the Holy Spirit in the Incarnation
            • What was conceived in the womb of Mary was the direct result of the operation of the Holy Spirit, without any activity of man
              • Good question arises here: “How can Jesus who was born of sinful human Mary can be free from the covenant of works and all the original sin (guilt and pollution)?”
                • Answer: Because what was conceived in the womb of virgin Mary was the direct result of the work of the Holy Spirit, it was not the human person that was born, but the person of the Son of God. Son of God only assumed the human nature, not the human person. It is one person of Logos that assumed human nature of human body and human soul. And as the Son of God, he was free from the covenant of works and all the original sin.
            • “He sanctified the human nature of Christ in its very inception, and thus kept it free from the pollution of sin. We cannot say exactly how the Holy Spirit accomplished this sanctifying work, because it is not yet sufficiently understood just how the pollution of sin ordinarily passes from parent to child.” (p.368)
              • We do not know exactly how the sin is transmissed from parent to child. We do know that the original sin is attributed to every human person. Also, we do not know exactly how the Holy Spirit kept the human nature free from the pollution of sin. But we do know that the human nature of Jesus Christ was perfectly sinless.
          • The significance of the doctrine of the virgin birth
            • Jesus had to be a promised Messiah who was born of the woman according to the prophecy and yet the eternal Son of God
            • Jesus can be kept free from the presence of sin and the pollution of sin because His person was not out of Adam but He merely assumed human nature.
        • Incarnation itself as a part of the incarnation
          • Yes it was, because even though it was free from the pollutions, it was subject to suffering and death after the fall.
      • Suffering
        • He suffered during his entire life
          • Not only during the last moments of his life, but throughout his whole life
          • Lord knows my infirmities, my weakness, my lonliness, and my crushing sense of responsibility, Lord knows it all because He himself suffered all these!
        • He suffered in body and soul
          • Not only physically but also spiritually
          • “exceeding sorrowful, even unto death,” in the garden of Gethsemane
          • But also as He was scourged and crucified
          • Since sin affects both body and soul, Lord needed to be punished in both body and soul in our place
        • His suffering resulted from various causes
        • His sufferings were unique
          • They were unique in the sense that no one could felt the moral and ethical evil as Jesus could because Jesus was perfectly holy and righteous and true.
          • His sufferings in temptations
            • He did not sin and had no inclination to sin even in temptations. Lord, thank you so much.
      • Death
      • Burial
      • Descent into Hades
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