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How is Jesus fully God and fully man? Why is this important?

Today’s question gets at the core of our salvation in the Lord—how is Jesus Christ fully God and fully man? Why would it be heretical to not believe in such a hard concept?

The early church considered the question of the incarnation of Jesus Christ to be one of the most important doctrines of the Christian faith and sought to clarify a biblical understanding of this vital truth by the Chalcedonian Creed. This early statement (451 A.D.) set forth a biblical definition of the incarnation of Jesus Christ—and answers our question of how Jesus could be fully God and fully man.

Let’s examine the main truth in this powerful statement that summarizes the biblical teaching on the incarnation. The creed begins where the Bible begins in defining the incarnation—Jesus has two natures: God and man. Scripture is clear about the deity of Jesus: Titus 2:13 says that believers are “…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” When Thomas saw and touched the resurrected Christ he cried out, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). There are countless statements in the New Testament that clearly communicate the omniscience (Matt.16:21; John 4:29), omnipotence (Matt. 28:18; Rev. 1:8), eternality (John 1:1; 8:58), and the fullness of deity in flesh (Col. 1:19, 2:9) in Jesus Christ. Jesus is God period.Just as compelling as the deity of Jesus is the humanity of the Lord. The apostle John says it beautifully in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” You see, Jesus was a baby (Luke 2:7), He got tired (John 4:6), He was hungry (Matthew 4:2), and He mourned the death of His friend Lazarus (John 11:35). Jesus was fully man and experienced the fullness of living on earth.

When you read this you probably understand that Jesus is fully God and fully human but wonder how someone could live with two natures in one person. In fact, the early church struggled with this idea and came to understand it as the fullness of God and the fullness of humanity living in the person of Jesus. He wasn’t dual-minded or bi-polar as He lived life on earth. Here is the key to putting this together: the entirety of God and the fullness of humanity did not mix together inside Jesus with His humanity but rather each nature dwelt in fullness without changing the other. In other words, His deity did not make His humanity superhuman and His humanity did not make His deity diminished to a lesser god. The full essence of both the deity and humanity dwelt in Jesus Christ. He is the God-man sent from the Father to save us from our sin!      

So why is important to hold firmly to both the humanity and the divinity of Jesus Christ? You see, without Jesus being a man we have only a shade of salvation and not the real substance. What I mean is that without the humanity of Jesus we don’t have a blood sacrifice for our sins! If Jesus was simply a ghost or a spirit then you and I lose out on the payment of our redemption and the victorious hope in the bodily resurrection of the dead. Is it really important to hold to the divinity of Jesus? Absolutely! In fact, our redemption would have been impossible without the perfect life of Christ. Only God could have lived a life of perfection, paid the price for our sins, and rise up victorious from the dead!

Bruce Ware sums it up so well in his book “The Man Christ Jesus”—"Therefore, the only one who can save us from our sin is the sinless God-man—one who is fully man, as we are, but one who is fully God, so that His payment for our sin can satisfy the infinite demands of God’s justice against our sin.”

Praise God that He sent His Son in the flesh to save us!





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