The Person of Christ – A Summary of the Christian Faith – chapter 11

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(You can find other chapters of Jacobs’ book here.)

How can you explain the temptation of Christ? Is temptation possible, where a fall is impossible?

Temptation properly is only testing or proving. When gold is brought to the touch-stone or submitted to the blow-pipe or treated with various chemical reagents, there is no possibility of any other result than that it will stand the test and be proved to be gold. We inevitably associate the thought of temptation with that of the possibility of a fall, from the fact that man’s nature is corrupt, and that even the regenerate are only partially renewed, and, therefore fallible, and likely, under the test, to show its worst features.

Chapter 11 - The Person Of Christ

1. In what relation is the Son of God considered at this place?

Not in His inner Trinitarian relations, but in His Mediatorial Office.

1 Tim. 2:5— “There is one God, one mediator between God and man, himself man, Christ Jesus.”

Acts 4:12 — “In none other is there salvation; neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, whereby we might be saved.”

2. What is His name with reference to this office?

Christ.

Jesus was the personal name, which, in common with many others, He bore because of His human nature, even though elevated above the sense in which others possessed it (Matt. 1:21). It designated Him as a man among other men. But Christ, or Messiah, is His official name. We would speak more accurately of “Jesus the Christ,” than of Jesus Christ. Christ is the official name of the incarnate Son of God, promised in the Old Testament, and actually sent as taught in the New Testament.

3. What is the meaning of “Christ” or “Messiah”?

The Anointed One.

In the Old Testament, prophets, priests and kings were solemnly set apart by being anointed, as an attestation of official position, and a means of conferring grace for the discharge of official duties. Prophets (1 Kings 19:16; Is. 61:1); Priests (Lev. 4); Kings (1 Sam. 10:1; 16:13; 2 Sam. 2:4). This external anointment with oil was a figure of an inner or spiritual anointing, or designation for office accompanied by the necessary gifts for its exercise, as of all believers in 1 John 2:27, and preeminently Jesus of Nazareth, anointed above all others (Is. 61:1, as interpreted by Luke 4:18; Matt. 12:18), as our Prophet, Priest and King, and, therefore, known as Messiah or Christ.

John 1:41 — “We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.”

4. What other ideas are included in the name “Christ”?

The unity of the Old and New Testaments, the fulfillment of prophecy, and the historical foundations for Christianity in the religion of Israel.

5. What, therefore, is a prominent subject of argument in the New Testament, and how is it proved?

That Jesus is the Christ. Old Testament prophecies are constantly quoted that are found fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.

Luke 24:27 — “Beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” 45, 46 — “Then opened he their minds that they might understand the Scriptures; and he said unto them, Thus it is written that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day.” Luke 18:31-33; Acts 3:18; 10:43; 26:22, 23; Rom. 1:2.

6. Is this, however, the exclusive line of argument by which the claims of Jesus are enforced?

No. In addressing Gentiles, the argument was from the Ascension and Resurrection of Jesus to His Lordship over all, and, thence to the truth of the Scriptures to which He appealed and the fulfillment in Him of all their prophecies. This may be seen, e. g., in the sermon of Peter to Cornelius in Acts 10; first, the Lordship of Jesus, as attested by the Resurrection (vs. 35-42); secondly, the fulfillment in Him of prophecy (v. 43), and His Messiahship.

7. What topics are included in Christology, or that portion of Theology treating of the Mediatorial Office?

The Person, the States and the Offices of Christ.

8. How has the Church summarized its faith on this subject?

Most comprehensively in the symbol of Chalcedon:

“We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in Manhood; truly God and truly Man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with the Father, according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us, according to the Manhood; in all things, except sin, like unto us; begotten before all ages of the Father, according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, ‘inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably’; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved and concurring in One Person and One Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the Fathers has handed down to us.” In its simplest form, this truth is stated in the Small Catechism, Creed, Article 11.

9. What is the first thing to be considered in treating of the Person of Christ?

That He is true God, consubstantial, coequal and coeternal with the Father.

The proof for this is given above, Chap. 3, Sec. 17-23. For “consubstantial,” see same chapter, Q. 48.

The divinity of Christ does not consist in divine gifts, but in His entire and complete oneness in all His attributes with God.

10. What is the second?

That He is true man, consubstantial with us. The proof for this is found in that He has:

(a) The names of man, Tim. 2:5; John 8:40; Acts 17:31. His favorite designation of Himself is “Son of man.” He is called “flesh” (John 1:14), “a child” (Acts 4:27), “Son of Abraham, David,” etc., especially in the genealogical tables of Matthew and Luke.

(b) The parts of a man, body and soul or spirit, and various parts of His body are mentioned.

(c) The experiences of men. He was conceived, was born, grew, hungered, thirsted, was fatigued, grieved, wept, exulted, died.

(d) The acts of men. He went about, conversed, etc.

11. Why did the early Church lay such emphasis upon the word “true”?

Particularly against the Docetists who maintained it was not a true body which Christ had, but only the appearance of a body.

12. Upon what arguments did they base this error?

They said that angels repeatedly appeared in human bodies, and yet were not true men; that the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove without being a true dove. They quoted Rom. 8:3, “God sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,” laying especial emphasis upon “likeness.”

13. How were they answered?

Angels assumed human bodies only temporarily, and for some transient purpose. Christ Himself declares the difference in Luke 24:39.

“Handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye behold me having.”

The union of the Spirit with the dove was symbolical; that of the Son of God with man, personal. The former was temporary; the latter permanent. The emphasis in Rom. 8:3 is not on “likeness,” but on “sinful ‘ The meaning is the same as in Phil. 2:7, “He was “found in fashion as a man,” i. e., to all outward appearances, He was nothing more than any other man — a child like other children, a Galilean peasant among Galilean peasants. This is not opposed to the truth of His humanity, but is contrasted simply with His State of Glory.

14. What is implied in His true manhood?

Its completeness or perfection.

15. Who attacked this?

Apollinaris, in the Fourth Century, who sought to explain the personal union by teaching that the Divine Nature replaced a part of Christ’s humanity, viz., the rational soul; and the Monothelites of the Seventh Century, who taught that the Divine Nature took the place of a truly human will.

16. What is meant by saying (hat there is but one Person?

That “there is one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures” (Chalcedon). “Who although He be God and man; yet He is not two, but one Christ; one, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking the manhood into God; one altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person” (Athanasian Creed). The difference between “me” and “thee” is never applied to the divine and human natures. There is but one “I” acting and speaking, thinking and feeling and willing through both natures. There is but one “Thou” whom the Father addresses and one “He” to whom the Spirit bears witness.

17. What proof have you of this unity?

In Rom. 1:3, the same person is said to be “made of the seed of David according to the flesh,” and declared to be “the Son of God.” In Luke 1:3, that which is born of the Virgin Mary is called “the Son of God.” In John 1:14, “the Word,” who is declared in v. 1, to be God, is said to have become “flesh.” In Gal. 2:20, “the Son of God” is said to have given Himself for sinful man. 1 8. Is the person related in the same way to each nature?

The person, with the divine nature, has existed from all eternity. The human nature began in time. The person, therefore, was once without a human nature. But the human nature could not exist without a person. The person of the human nature, therefore, came not from that nature, but from the divine. Since the human nature entered into the world, i. e., was conceived and born and lived by the divine person uniting Himself with our race in the womb of the Virgin Mary, we say that the human nature has no personality of its own, but that the personality of the human nature is that which it has derived from the divine. The Greek theologians called this the doctrine of the anhypostasia of the human nature, which our theologians accept, although stating that enhypostasia is preferable. The unity of the person requires that we must hold to the want of personality on the part of the human nature.

19. If we were to affirm that the human nature had a personality of its own, what would follow?

The doctrine that in Christ, there are two persons, as as well as two natures. Unity of personality could be taught, then, only by finding place for the destruction at some time of the human personality, and its being replaced by the divine.

20. Since there are two natures, can we say there are two Sons, viz., a Son of God and a Son of Man?

No. There is but one Son, at one and the same time Son of God and Son of Man. That through which, He is the Son of God, is His eternal generation of the Father, “true God begotten of the Father from all eternity” (Small Catechism). See Chapter 3, 51-53. That through which He is the Son of Man is His conception by the Holy Ghost and birth of the Virgin Mary (Lukes 1:35; Gal. 4:4). We speak, therefore, of a double generation of Christ: one, eternal; the other, temporal; one, according to the divine; the other, according to the human nature.

21. By what term is the act of the Son of God in assuming human nature known?

Incarnation.

John 1:14 — “And the Word became flesh.” Heb. 2:14 — “Since the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same.” Heb. 2:16; 1 Tim. 3:16; Rom. 9:5; 1:3.

22. Was this peculiar to the Second Person of the Trinity?

Only the Son of God assumed human nature. But the Father who sent the Son into the world, and the Holy Spirit who appears in the conception of Christ (Luke 1:35), just as in creation (Gen. 1:2), were also active. There was a special intervention of God in and beyond the order of nature established at the creation. God, who at creation established an order, in virtue of which men came into the world through certain means, can, at His will, dispense with such means, and provide for a virgin birth. To deny the possibility of this, is to question the existence and almighty power of God. To admit its reality is to admit the possibility of everything else mysterious and supernatural in Christianity.

23. The conception of Jesus being so unlike that of others, was the human nature that resulted also unlike that of other men?

“He was consubstantial with us according to the manhood; in all things, except sin, like unto us” (Chalcedon).

Heb. 4:15 — “He hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

Christ, therefore, experienced all the infirmities that are common to the race, as hunger, thirst, sleep, fatigue, tears, sorrow, pain; but no individual infirmities are ascribed to Him, as particular diseases which attack some, but do not afTect all. 24. How do you prove the sinlessness of Jesus?

(a) From distinct passages of Scripture as Heb. 4:15, quoted under 23; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26; John 8:46; 1 Peter 1:19; 2:22.

(b) From His divinity. Sin is a personal matter. It is always a person who sins. But the person of Christ is God.

(c) From the definition of sin. “Sin is the want of conformity with God’s Law.” But the Law is the declaration of God’s will. God cannot will what is contrary to His will, i. e., Jesus could not sin.

He was, therefore, not only sinless, but impeccable. Admit peccability, and the divinity of Christ is practically denied.

25. But if Christ were impeccable, how do you explain His temptation? Is temptation possible, where a fall is impossible?

Temptation properly is only testing or proving. When gold is brought to the touch-stone or submitted to the blow-pipe or treated with various chemical reagents, there is no possibility of any other result than that it will stand the test and be proved to be gold. We inevitably associate the thought of temptation with that of the possibility of a fall, from the fact that man’s nature is corrupt, and that even the regenerate are only partially renewed, and, therefore fallible, and likely, under the test, to show its worst features.

The agony of our Lord’s temptation came not from the necessity of a great struggle in order that He might prove Himself victor, but from the fact that it was a part of His passion. That He, the manifestation of the absolute holiness of God, should endure the presence and be subjected to the humiliation of the conversation and suggestions of the lowest and vilest of all creatures, the source and head of all the crime in the universe, was an indignity that called forth all His repugnance to the great enemy.

26. Was there any other particular in which the humanity of Christ was distinguished from that of others?

All the excellences and perfections of human nature He had in the highest degree. These He possessed as the sinless man, and as the one within whose body the Godhead dwelt in a peculiar way. Whatever physical attractiveness He may have had, and for which the old teachers cite Ps. 45:2, came from His holy character as it was expressed in His outward form. While the bodies of others contain the seeds of mortality (Rom. 6:23), that of Christ was by its own nature immortal, His death occurring by an act of His will (John 10:18), and not from inner weakness or external force, and His body, after death, being incorruptible (Acts 2:31).

27. What was the purpose of the Incarnation?

The Redemption of the human race.

Matt. 20:28 — “The Son of man came, to give his life a ransom for many.” Heb. 2:14 — “He partook of flesh and blood, that, through death, he might bring to nought him that had the power of death.”

28. Would the Son of God not have become incarnate if Adam had not sinned?

The doctrine that He would have come only for the completion of humanity, or to furnish a model of a holy life, or for any other purpose than to rescue men from sin, is without any authority from Scripture. God’s will or decree to send His Son into the world everywhere presupposes God’s foreknowledge of sin, and His determination to provide a remedy for it.

29. In what two senses is the expression, Personal Union, used?

On the one hand, it designates an act (uniio), and is synonymous with Incarnation.

On the other hand, it refers to a state, resulting from the act (unio). 30. In what does the state of union consist?

In that henceforth both natures have but one person — the personal communion; and, as a result, the intimate and perpetual personal presence of each nature in and with the other.

31. How has the Church guarded the statement of this doctrine?:

The Chalcedon Symbol (see above, 8) has denied this union negatively as:

(a) Unconfused There is no mingling of natures. Although there is a communion, they remain distinct.

(b) Unchanged One is not changed into the other.

(c) Indivisible i, e., with respect to place. “Nowhere is the human nature unsustained by the Logos, or the Logos not sustaining the human nature. The human nature is not outside of the Logos, nor is the Logos without the human nature.”

(d) Inseparable i. e., with respect to time. The union is never dissolved, but is perpetual.

(a) and (b) are in opposition to the Eutychians; (c) and (d) in opposition to the Nestorians. The Eutychians confused the natures; the Nestorians divided the person.

32. How has the Athanasian Creed defined it? “Who although He be God and man: yet He is not two, but one Christ.

One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by taking the manhood into God.

One altogether; not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person.

For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ.”

33. What follows from this communion of the Person with both natures?

The communion of natures with each other. There is a perichoresis or pervasion or penetration of one nature by the other, or existence of one nature within the other. “The divine nature is said actually to penetrate or perfect the human, and the human to be passively penetrated or perfected by the divine; but not in such way that the divine successively occupies one part of the human after the other, and extensively diffuses itself, through it; but, since it is spiritual and indivisible, it at the same time as a whole perfects and energizes each part of the human nature and that nature as a whole, and remains entire in the entire human nature, and entire in every part” (Baier).

Col. 2:9 — “In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” John 1:14; Heb. 2:14.

34. What analogy is there to this communion of natures?

The impartation of the Divine nature by the Mystical Union of Christ with the believer. The Personal Union being closer, more intimate and more exalted implies a more complete communion of natures.

2 Peter 1 — “He hath granted unto us his precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye might become partakers of the divine nature.”

35. Because of this Personal Union and the Communion of Natures, is it proper to say, “God is man,” and “man is God”?

These are known as “Personal Propositions.” The person may be designated from either nature; and as there is always only one and the same person, this when designated from the divine nature as God is the same as the person designated from the human nature as man. So also we say, “The Son of man” is “the Son of God.”

The doctrine of the Personal Propositions, therefore, is that the concrete of the one nature is rightly predicated of the concrete of the other. An example of this occurs in Jer. 23:6, where the descendant of David is called ‘The Lord our Righteousness,” as also in Matt. 16:16, where Jesus is called “the Son of the Living God.”

But the. same is not proper with respect to the abstract of the natures. We cannot say, “Divinity is humanity” or the reverse. For the concrete always designates the person, while the abstract refers only to the natures. Neither can we say that the “Divine Nature has become incarnate,” or “the human has been deified,” for here that which is proper in the concrete is improper in the abstract.

Terms also are found expressing at the same time the concrete of both natures. “Christ” is such a term. We may say, “Christ is God” or “Christ is man,” or “Christ is the God-man.” So our Catechism, “Jesus Christ, true God begotten of Father, is true man, born of the Virgin Mary.”

36. What other result of the Communion of Natures is there?

The impartation of attributes known among theologians as the Communicatio Idiomatum. For since the personal union it is impossible to ascribe an attribute to either of the natures which does not belong to the person, designated from either nature; neither can there be an act proceeding from either nature in which the other does not participate. There is a communication from both natures to the person, and of the natures to each other.

37. Classify or give the various kinds or genera of the Communicatio Idiomatum.

First, from one nature to the person, Genus Idiomaticum; secondly, from one nature to the other, Genus Majestaticum; thirdly, from both natures to the person, Genus Apotelesmaticum.

38. Define more fully the first genus.

The Genus Idiomaticum is when the properties of either nature are ascribed to the. concrete of the person. It is a matter of indifference from which nature this concrete be derived. Take for example the human nature, and state one of its properties. Suppose it be “to die.” Death then belongs to the person. But since it is a matter of indifference from which nature the name of the person be derived, we can say either “man died” or “God died”; for God and man are one and the same person. Or we may take a property of the divine as “Almighty,” and predicating it of the person known from the human nature, may say, “Man is Almighty.”

39. What stress has been laid by the Lutheran Church on this point?

The Formula of Concord quotes Luther approvingly:

“If I believe that only the human nature has suffered for me, I have a Savior of little worth. . . . It is the person that suffers and dies. Now the person is true God; therefore it is rightly said: ‘The Son of God suffers.’ For although the divinity does not suffer, yet the person which is God suffers in His humanity. For the person, the person, I say, was crucified in His humanity. … In His own nature, God cannot die; but now God and man are united in one person, so that the expression ‘God’s death’ is correct, when the man dies who is one thing or one person with God” (pp. 631, 632).

40. Show how this thought of the first genus of the Commnnicatio Idomatum underlies the entire theology of the Church and the religious experience of Christians.

The Augsburg Confession (Art. 3) says: “One Christ, true God and true man, was born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffered, was crucified, dead and buried.”

Our catechism says: “i believe that jesus christ, true god begotten of the father from all eternity . . . has delivered me . . . with his innocent sufferings and death.”

So Passion hymns coming from the pens of those who theoretically may criticize the position above confessionally stated, nevertheless, in the glow of devotion do not hesitate to present it with full force, as e. g., in the words of Isaac Watts:

“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ, my God.”

and

“When Christ, the mighty Maker died, For man the creature’s sin.”

41. What controversy of the early Church centered about this genus of the Communication

The Nestorian.

The precise point at issue was whether it were correct to call the Virgin Mary, theotokos, i. e., “the mother of God.” Nestorius who denied this was condemned, and the formula established that she was “the mother of God, according to His human nature.” A mother of nature without personality she could not be, for “mother” and “son” are personal relations. But the person of the human nature she brought forth was none other than the Son of God. Nevertheless we must emphasize “according to His human nature,” for she was not mother of God, “according to His divine nature.” The Decree of Ephesus says, “She brought forth, according to the flesh, the Word of God made flesh.”

42. Upon what Scriptural proofs does this rest?

(a) Human attributes are ascribed to the concrete of the Divine nature.

* Acts 3:15 — "Ye killed the Prince of Life." 
 
* Acts 20:28 — "The Church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood." 
 
* 1 Cor. 2:8 — "Had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." 
 
* Gal. 2:20 — "The Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." 
 
* Rom. 8:32 — "He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all." 

(b) Divine attributes are ascribed to the concrete of the human nature.

* John 6:62 — "The Son of man ascending where he was before," 

* John 8:48 — "Before Abraham was born, I am." 

(c) Both divine and human attributes and activities are ascribed to the concrete of the person designated from either or from both natures.

* 1 Peter 3:18 — "Christ was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit." 

* Rom. 9:5— "Whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all God blessed forever." 

* Rom. 1:3 — "His Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power." 

43. Define the second genus.

As stated above (37), this has reference to a communication from one nature to the other. Since, however, the human nature can communicate nothing to the divine — for the divine cannot be increased or diminished — the communication is entirely from the divine to the human. The divine is always active, and the human passive. The second genus, therefore, is that according to which the Second Person of the Trinity communicates properties of His divine nature to His human nature for its possession and use.

44. Does this mean that the properties of the divine become those of the human nature?

No. For as seen above (8, 31, 32), the natures remain unchanged, but the properties of the divine nature pervade and exercise themselves in and through the human. The properties of fire never become those of iron, but when a bar is drawn from the furnace, the properties of the fire are active through the iron which it pervades. There cannot be a perichoristic (33) union of one nature with another, without an impartation of qualities. Electricity imparts its properties to the wire which conducts it. The soul acts in and through the body which it animates. The eye sees, the ear hears, because the soul pervades and energizes the body and renders it receptive to external objects in a manner in which they make no impression when the soul has departed. These illustrations are necessarily imperfect and liable to criticism. For as our theologians repeatedly have said: “This union is wonderfully unique and uniquely wonderful.” When we rise from the natural to the supernatural, all illustrations offer more points of divergence than of agreement. They prove nothing; but only suggest certain analogies.

45. How has this doctrine been confessionally stated?

“We hold and teach, with the ancient orthodox church, as it explained this doctrine from the Scriptures, that the human nature in Christ has received this majesty according to the manner of the personal union, viz., because the entire fullness of the divinity dwells in Christ, not as in other holy men and angels, but bodily, as in its own body, so that, with all its majesty, power, glory and efficacy, it shines forth in the assumed human nature of Christ, when and as He wills, and in, with and through it, exerts its divine power, glory and efficacy, as the soul does in the body and fire in glowing iron” (Formula of Concord, 636).

46. Upon what Scriptural grounds does it rest?

“There is a unanimously received rule of the entire ancient orthodox Church, that whatever Holy Scripture testifies that Christ received in time, He received not according to the divine nature — for, according to this nature, he has everything from eternity — but the person has received it in time, by reason of, and with respect to the assumed human nature” (Formula of Concord, 639).

Such passages are:

Matt. 11:27 — “All things have been delivered unto me of my Father.”

Matt. 28:18 — “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and upon earth.”

John 5:27— “And hath given him authority to execute judgment, because he is a Son of man.”

47. Do the Holy Scriptures particularize any divine attributes which are especially conspicuous in and through the assumed humanity?

Yes.

(1) Omnipotence, Matt. 28:18; Heb. 2:8;

(2) Omniscience, Col. 2:3;

(3) Power to quicken, John 6:51; 1 Cor. 15:45;

(4) Power to forgive sins, Matt. 9:6;

(5) Power to judge, John 5:27;

(6) Worship, Phil. 2:9, 10; Heb. 1:8;

(7) Omnipresence, Matt. 18:20; 28:20; Eph. 1:23; 4:10.

48. Are all the divine a: tributes imparted to the human nature of Christ?

Here we must recall the end of the incarnation and of the Communicatio Idiomatum, viz., the execution of the Mediatorial Office. There is therefore the complete impartation of all such attributes as are needed for this end. We must also recall the distinction between the Absolute and the Relative Attributes of God (Chap. Ii, Sec. 23 sqq.). The Relative or Operative Attributes are immediately communicated; but the Absolute, as eternity, infinity, immensity, only mediately, or as they characterize a relative attribute, or belong to the person. “The soul perichoristically united with the body, imparts to the body its life and sensitive faculties, so that the body can be said to be living and sentient; but for this reason, the body cannot be said to be spiritual, immortal and invisible as the soul; neither can the calorific and illuminating qualities of fire imparted to iron give to it the lightness and simplicity of fire” (Hollazius).

The relative attributes, however, belong, according to the genus Idiomaticum, to the person designated from the human nature, and we can say Jesus is eternal, etc.

49. Were the imparted attributes always used?

As we shall learn under the States of Christ, during the State of Humiliation, Christ refrained from their full use.

50. What is the third kind or genus of the Communicatio Idiomatum?

This is known as the Genus Apotelesmaticum, from the Greek Apotelesma, an official act. According to it in all the acts of the Mediatorial Office, the person acts not through one nature alone, but through both natures, each contributing that which is peculiar to itself with participation of the other. Qiap. 40) The Person Of Christ. 139

51. How has this been confessionally expressed?

“The distinction of natures being by no means taken way by the union, but rather the property of each being preserved and concurring in One Person and One Subsistence” (Chalcedon Symbol).

52. Are the natures then separate?

No. Never separate, but distinct. Distinct, but always concurring, each nature according to its peculiar endowment. When Christ suffered and died, this was according to the human nature, for the divine could not suffer or die. But the divine sustained the human nature beneath the infinite burden of the world’s guilt, and imparted to the human satisfaction infinite divine efficacy and merit. In the prophetical office, it was the mouth and tongue of the human nature that spoke, but the revelation of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God and the speaking with authority came from the divine nature.

53. What Scriptural proofs are there for this Genus?

The work of redemption is referred sometimes to the concrete of the Divine nature.

1 John 3:8 — “The Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

Sometimes to the concrete of the human nature.

Luke 19:10 — “The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Sometimes to the concrete of both (Heb. 7:21-26; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 1:7).

The argument depends, however, not upon individual passages, but upon the entire tenor of Scripture. The entire end of the incarnation was the accomplishment of that which is attained through the work wrought and the sacrifice offered by the one person in and through the concurrence of the two natures.

54. How in general is the doctrine of the Communicatio Idiomatum to be estimated?

“Whoever has the patience to think out what the Apostle’s words: ‘The Word was made flesh’ mean, cannot regard the doctrine of the Communicatio Idiomatum an extravagant fancy of orthodox scholasticism. It follows necessarily from the Personal Union. Every Christian who prays to Him who is exalted to the Right Hand of God, looks with the eyes of his faith upon a glorified man, in whom what is human is thoroughly pervaded by what is divine. Even Calvin cannot think of the glorified body otherwise than as filled with the powers of the divine nature. But it is just this participation of Christ’s human nature in the attributes of the divine, that constitutes the Communicatio Idiomatum” (Kahnis).

“Mutual communication of properties is the essence of every alliance, of all loving communion. Only selfishness which would keep all to itself that is its own, resists it; for it desires to part everything and to impart nothing” (Sartorius, Divine Love, Eng. Tr., 146).

By no means. “Why do we not give God glory, by believing, with the simple obedience of faith what Scripture teaches, even though we cannot understand or grasp the mode, as to how this could occur without equalizing or confusing the natures? For who can sufficiently explain or understand the mode of the union, from which this communication arises and upon which it depends? The angel answered both Sarah and Mary who asked concerning the mode: Ts anything too hard for Jehovah ?’ ‘No word of God shall be void of power’ (Gen. 18; Luke 1). . . . The ancients say correctly that if we cannot say what God is, we should beware of thinking or saying of Him as He is not. So in this article” (Chemnitz, De Duabus Naturis, in sq.).

(You can find other chapters of Jacobs’ book here.)

Originally published at: Comfort for Christians

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