The Doctrine of Christ

Over the coming weeks, we want to share with you our doctrinal statements, which help shape our beliefs and values. Last week we talked about the doctrine of atonement, and this week we're talking about Christ Himself. We believe that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity, coeternal, and co-equal with the Father. He became fully human without surrendering His deity, lived a perfect life, willingly gave it up to atone for the sins of the world, rose again on the third day, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.

The Word Made Flesh

The divine Word of God, the pre-existent second person of the triune God, became incarnate in history as Jesus (John 1:1-3, 14). He voluntarily gave up the privileges of His divinity and the self-determined use of His divine attributes by submitting Himself to the Father and the leading of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1; Acts 10:38; Gal. 4:4), taking to Himself human nature and existence (Phil. 2:6-8; Heb. 2:14) and living as a perfectly Spirit-filled human.  Jesus Christ is both fully God (Matt.11:27; John 8:58; Titus 2:13) and fully human (Luke 2:52; John 11:35; Heb. 2:4; 1 John 1:1-3), one person with two unconfused, unchangeable, inseparable natures (Col. 2:9; 1 Tim. 3:16).

Jesus was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary and was born of a virgin at the appointed time (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Matt. 1:23; Luke 1:30-36; 2:5-7, 11).  In His earthly ministry, He revealed the Father as the perfect image of God (John 1:18; 12:45; 14:9; Col. 1:15; Heb 1:3). Though He was tempted in every way as we are, He was without sin either in nature or in act (John 8:46; Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:21-24) and perfectly fulfilled all righteousness (Matt. 3:15; Heb. 10:5-9).  After His earthly ministry was completed He was crucified and died spiritually and physically, was buried, and rose on the third day (1 Cor. 15:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:19-21) to occupy His glorified body again (Luke 24:39; John 20:25-27; 21:7).  The resurrection confirms both the person and message of Jesus as well as guaranteeing the future bodily resurrection of all believers (Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:20-58).  After a forty-day post-resurrection ministry He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-11) where He sits at the right hand of the Father (Eph. 1:20), is head of the church (Col. 1:18), and our high priest (Heb. 4:14-15; 8:1; 10:19-22).  He will come again in the same manner with His own to establish His millennial kingdom (2 Thess. 1:7-10; Rev. 19:11-20:6).

The Person of Christ

Jesus Christ is the incarnation of the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, and as such he is fully divine (John 1:1-18), coequal and co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, possessing all the attributes of deity (Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:3). Jesus declared his deity by stating his equality with God (Matt. 11:27; John 8:58), allowing other people to call him God (John 20:28), and exercising divine prerogatives (Matt 25:31-46; John 5:23; Col. 1:16; 1 Tim. 1:15). His deity is also supported by the resurrection (Ro. 1:4) and other biblical authors (Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:3; 1 John 5:20; Jude 4).
Jesus Christ is one person with two natures. The eternal Son laid aside his glory (John 17:5), descended to earth, and being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin (Mt 1:18-25), he took on full human-nature (Heb. 2:14). In doing so, he relinquished the lifestyle and prerogatives of his divine nature (Phil 2:5-11) but did not give up any of his divine attributes although he did surrender the independent use of his divine attributes (John 5). Jesus, therefore, lived a fully human life - he developed as a human (Luke 2:40); he had a normal human body (Heb. 2:14) which needed rest (Mark 4:38) and food (Matt. 4:2); he suffered pain (Luke 22:44) and death (John 19:30); he experienced normal human emotions (John 11:3, 35) and needed companionship (Matt. 26:37-38). Despite his normal human existence, Jesus never sinned (Heb. 4:14-15) even though he was tempted in every way that we are (Heb 2:18). These two natures (human and divine) were inseparably joined together (John 1:1-14) without mixture, change, or division and he thus remains both God and man even after his death (John 20:24-28; Heb. 5:1-10).
Jesus lived on the earth as the incarnate God-man in obedience to his Father’s will (John 17:4) and died on the cross physically (Matt. 27:33-56) and spiritually (Mark 15:34).  He was buried and after three days he was physically raised from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3-4). After appearing to many people (1 Cor. 15:5-8), he ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-11) where he sits highly exalted at God’s right hand (Eph 1:20-21). Jesus will someday return personally (Acts 1:11), bodily, and visibly (Rev. 1:7) to the earth and will gather his people (Mt 24:31; 1 Thess. 4:17) and establish his kingdom on the earth (Rev. 19:1-5). 

God Incarnate

Jesus Christ is the incarnation of the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, 
co-equal, and consubstantial with God the Father (John 10:30, 14:9). He existed before His incarnation (John 8:58), even an eternal existence within the Godhead (Mic. 5:2; Isa. 9:6; John l:l-3). In the Bible Jesus Christ is specifically called God (John 20:28, Titus 2:13, Heb. 1:8). He is called the I AM (John 8:58), the Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13), Immanuel (Matt. 1:22-23), and the Son of God (John 10:33-36). He demonstrated His deity through His divine prerogatives: receiving worship (John 9:38), forgiving sin (Luke 5:20-24), judging humans (John 5:26-29), and claiming equality with God (Matt 28:18-20; John 8:58; 10:28-30). His miracles also evidenced His deity (Acts 2:22). His deity is made known through His divine attributes of omnipresence (Matt 28:20), omniscience (John 4:17-18), omnipotence (Rev. 1:8), and immutability (Heb. 13:8).

In the incarnation, God the Son became a man (John 1:18; Heb. 2:14). He did so, not by laying aside His deity, but by laying aside His glory (John 17:5; Phil. 2:5-8). He is both fully God and fully man, without mixing natures, without making a new category of being, without converting God into man or man into God. He submitted Himself to the requirements of the Law (Gal. 4:4), to the will of the Father (John 4:34), and the power and leading of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14). He is therefore fully God and perfect humanity united without mixture, change, division, or separation in one Person forever (Col. 2:9-10; 1 Tim 2:5).

Jesus Christ was miraculously conceived and born of a virgin (Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35) and was fully human (Heb. 2:14). Because of this, He can readily sympathize with humanity (Heb. 2:17-18; 4:14-15). He experienced human development (Luke 2:40, 51-52). He had a human body (1 John l:l) which became tired (John 4:5-6) and needed food (Matt. 4:2) and sleep (Mark 4:38). He suffered pain, and ultimately experienced physical death (John 19:32-34). He felt a range of human emotions such as love (John 11:3), sorrow (John 11:35), and anger (Mark 3:5). Though He was tempted in every way as a man (Matt 4:1-11; Heb 2:18) He triumphed over it and remained sinless throughout the entirety of His life (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:14-15; 1 Pet 2:21-23).

He came to earth and led a blameless life, perfectly fulfilling the Father's will (John 17:4) culminating in His physical death upon a cross (Phil. 2:8), shedding His blood as the perfect sacrifice for sins (1 Pet. 2:21-24). He rose bodily from the dead on the third day (1 Cor 15:1-14) and ascended visibly into heaven forty days later (Acts 1:9) where He now sits at the right hand of God the Father, exalted above all creation (Col. 3:1; Eph. 1:20-21) interceding for the saints (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25). He will return one day just as He ascended, physically and personally (Acts 1:9-11) to receive His saints, to establish His kingdom, and to judge all people (1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 20:4-15; John 5:26-29).

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