The Humanity of Christ

The Human nature of Christ is as real as His Divinity. Jesus had to be a man if He was to represent fallen humanity. First John was written to dispel the doctrinal error that denies the true humanity of Christ (1Jn. 4:2). If Jesus was not a real Man, then the death on the cross was an illusion for He had to be a real Man to die for humanity.

1. Human names

(a) He is called “the Son of Man” 77 times in Scripture. He is called the Son of Man and revealed as standing on the right hand of God in glory (Acts 7:55).

(b) He is called “the man Christ Jesus” even after His ascension (1 Tim. 2:5).

2. Human physical nature

(a) Jesus Christ had a true human body of flesh and blood (Heb. 2:14). He is the Eternal Word made flesh. “And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (Jn. 1:14).

(b) After His resurrection, He still had a true human body, though now of “flesh and bones”. A denial of the reality of Christ’s body is the mark of the spirit of anti-Christ (Lk. 24:39, 1 Jn. 4:2-3).

(c) Jesus presently has a glorified human body and He will come again in the clouds of heaven as “the Son of Man” and our bodies will be transformed into the likeness of His own (Mt. 26:64, Phil. 3:21).

3. Human parentage

He was called Mary’s “firsborn son” (Lk. 2:7) “made of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3) “made of a woman” (Gal. 4:4) and “sprang out of Judah” (Heb. 7:14). All these apply only to His humanity, not Deity. Mary was the mother of Jesus as Man and God was His Father. The idea of Mary being “the Mother of God” is unbiblical.

4. Human limitations

(a) Physical limitations.
He was weary (Jh. 4:6) whereas God “fainteth not, neither is weary” (Is. 40:28). He slept (Mt. 8:24) whereas God “neither slumber nor sleep” (Ps. 121:4). He hungered (Mt. 21:18); thirsted (Jn. 19:28); suffered physical agony (Lk. 22:44), and died (1Cor. 15:3).
He was subjected to the general characteristics of humans.

(b) Intellectual and moral limitations.
He “advanced in wisdom and stature” (Lk. 2:52) and said no one, including Himself knows the day and hour of His return (Mk. 13:32). The reason is because He had “emptied Himself” of His full glory (Phil 2:5). His knowledge was self-limited as a scholar notes:

“Christ merely surrendered the independent exercise of some of his relative or transitive attributes. He did not surrender the absolute or immanent attributes in any sense; He was always perfectly holy, just, merciful, truthful and faithful” (Henry Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology, Grand Rapids, 1979, 216)

He was tempted and subjected to the essential moral limitations of the human nature (Heb. 2:18, 4:15). In contrast, “God can not be tempted with evil.” (Jas. 1:13) Note: Jesus didn’t possess man’s sinful, fallen nature, as this was not part of human nature as God made it. That came as a result of sin (1Jn. 3:5).

(c) Limitations of power
He “prayed” to God about 25 times. He obtained power for work and victory as other men do (e.g Mk. 1:35). He obtained power not by His inherent Divinity but by the anointing of the Holy Spirit as other men. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power” (Acts 10:38). He was subject to limitation of power in His humanity (“greater works than these shall he do…”Jn. 14:12).

5. His relationship with God

He called God “my Father and your Father; and to My God and your God” (Jn. 20:17). He bore the relationship of man to God the Father.

6. Representative of man before God

Jesus was “in all things made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest pertaining to God” (Heb. 2:17). As Deity, He represents God to the human race, and as Man He represents us before God as Priest (just as the Old Testament priests represented the people before God). The divine and human natures of Christ are both united in Him. This union is known as the hypostatic union.

“The hypostatic union may be defined as ‘the second person, the preincarnate Christ came and took to Himself a human nature and remains forever undiminished Deity and true humanity united in one person forever.’ When Christ came, a person came, not just a nature; He took on an additional nature, a human nature – He did not simply dwell in a human person. The result of the union of the two nature is the theanthropic Person” (Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology, 2008, 238).

Jesus, is therefore the God-Man. His two natures are inseparably united without any mixture or loss of separate identity. What applies to His humanity doesn’t apply to His Divinity and vice versa. Both natures are necessary for redemption. He partook of human nature that we might become partakers of the Divine nature (2 Pt. 1:4).

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