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Catechism 6: On the Incarnation of Jesus Christ



1. THE FULL DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST 

"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporeally; " Colossians 2:9

We see evidence for Christ's deity in that He does things which only God does and has attributes which only God has. For a few examples, we see Christ's deity in His:

A. PREEXISTENCE

"And no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven." John 3:13
"He that cometh from above, is above all." John 3:31

Ignatius:

"Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the beginning of time."

Irenaeus:

"Having first of all distinguished these three — God, the Beginning, and the Word — he again unites them, that he may exhibit the production of each of them, that is, of the Son and of the Word, and may at the same time show their union with one another, and with the Father. For ‘the beginning’ is in the Father, and of the Father, while ‘the Word’ is in the beginning, and of the beginning. Very properly, then, did he say, ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ for He was in the Son; ‘and the Word was with God,’ for He was the beginning; ‘and the Word was God,’ of course, for that which is begotten of God is God.”

B. ETERNALITY

"Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am." John 8:58
"For a CHILD IS BORN to us...and his name shall be called ... God the Mighty..." Isaias (Isaiah) 9:6

C. BEING CREATOR


"All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. " John 1:3
" For in him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and in him." Colossians 1:16
"But to the Son: ...Thou in the beginning, O Lord, didst found the earth: and the works of thy hands are the heavens." Hebrews 1:10


D. BEING CO-PARTNER IN DIVINE GLORY

God alone possesses Glory:

"I the Lord, this is my name: I will not give my glory to another, " Isaias (Isaiah) 42:8
Jesus possessed this glory with the Father:
"And now glorify thou me, O Father, with thyself, with the glory which I had, before the world was, with thee." John 17:5

E. RECEIVING WORSHIP

The Father says of the Son:

"And let all the angels of God adore him. " Hebrews 1:6

Jesus accepted the worship of others: 

"Thomas answered, and said to him: 'My Lord, and my God.'Jesus saith to him: 'Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.' " John 20:28-29
Notice that Jesus does not shun his worship or redirect Thomas to worship more appropriately as the angel does in Apocalypse (Revelation) 19:10

F. SAYING HE WAS GOD

"I and the Father are one" John 10:30

The Jews who heard Him say this understood what He meant. They were about to stone Him because, in their words, "For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, maketh thyself God." (vs. 33).

"Philip saith to him: Lord, shew us the Father, and it is enough for us. Jesus saith to him: Have I been so long a time with you; and have you not known me? Philip, he that seeth me seeth the Father also...." John 14:8-9

G. BEING CALLED GOD

He was called God by the Father:

"But to the Son: 'Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of justice is the sceptre of thy kingdom.' " Hebrews 1:8

He was called God by the Gospels:

"And the Word was God" John 1:1

He was called God by the Apostles:

"Thomas answered, and said to him: My Lord, and my God. " John 20:28

He was Called God by the prophet, Isaias/Isaiah:
"Emmanuel" 7:14 Emmanuel ="God with us"
"Mighty God" Isaias (Isaiah) 9:6

2. THE GENUINE HUMANITY OF JESUS CHRIST

"For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus:" I Timothy 2:5

Chrisostom: Now he says, that there is one God, that is, not as some say, many, and that He has sent His Son as Mediator, thus giving proof that He will have all men to be saved. But is not the Son God? Most truly He is; why then does he say, One God? In contradistinction to the idols; not to the Son. For he is discoursing about truth and error. Now a mediator ought to have communion with both parties, between whom he is to mediate. For this is the property of a mediator, to be in close communion with each of those whose mediator he is. For he would be no longer a mediator, if he were connected with one but separated from the other. If therefore He partakes not of the nature of the Father, He is not a Mediator, but is separated. For as He is partaker of the nature of men, because He came to men, so is He partaker of the nature of God, because He came from God. Because He was to mediate between two natures, He must approximate to the two natures; for as the place situated between two others is joined to each place, so must that between natures be joined to either nature. As therefore He became Man, so was He also God. A man could not have become a mediator, because he must also plead with God. God could not have been mediator, since those could not receive Him, toward whom He should have mediated. And as elsewhere he says, There is one God the Father,...and one Lord Jesus Christ 1 Corinthians 8:6; so also here One God, and One Mediator; he does not say two; for he would not have that number wrested to Polytheism, of which he was speaking. So he wrote One and One. You see how accurate are the expressions of Scripture! For though one and one are two, we are not to say this, though reason suggests it. And here you say not one and one are two, and yet you say what reason does not suggest. If He begot He also suffered. For there is one God, he says, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.

A. HE TOOK ON AN ACTUAL BODY

He was tangible:

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life." I John 1:1
"See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have." Luke 24:39

He knew :
Physical growth Luke 2:52
Weariness John 4:6
Hunger Matthew 4:2; 21:18 Luke 4:2
Thirst John 19:28

B. HE EXPERIENCED HUMAN EMOTIONS

Sorrow Matthew 26:37
Astonishment Mark 6:6 Luke 7:9
Grief John 11:33
Being Troubled John 12:27
Agony Luke 22:44
Loneliness & Abandonment Matthew 26:38; Mark 15:34

C. HE TOOK ON A HUMAN SOUL/SPIRIT

"He groaned in the spirit" John 11:33
"Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit" Luke 23:46
"My soul is troubled" John 12:27

3. TWO NATURES IN ONE PERSON

"And evidently great is the mystery of godliness, (God) which was manifested in the flesh," I Timothy 3:16

A. AS DISCUSSED, GODS INSPIRED WRITTEN WORD AFFIRMS BOTH HIS DEITY AND HIS HUMANITY

B. HE ALWAYS REFERRED TO HIMSELF AS A SINGULAR PERSONALITY

"I' "Me" "Mine"

There is nothing like, "Let us make man to our image and likeness:" Genesis 1:26

Thus, two natures exist in one person.

" Before Abraham was made, I am. " John 8:58
"And now glorify thou me, O Father, with thyself, with the glory which I had, before the world was, with thee." John 17:5

4. REASONS FOR THE INCARNATION

A. The Necessity of Christ's Full Humanity

(1) To Reveal God To Us

"No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." John 1:18

(2) To Be An Example To Us

"Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow his steps. " I Peter 2:21
"He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also to walk, even as he walked." I John 2:6

(3) To Be Able To Be Tempted

Jesus was, "tempted in all things like as we are, without sin." Hebrews 4:15

(4) To Be Able To Die As Our Sacrifice

As God Jesus could not die; God is immortal. Only as man could He die.
"For it is impossible that with the blood of oxen and goats sin should be taken away. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith: Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldest not: but a body thou hast fitted to me:" Hebrews 10:4-5

(5) To Be Able To Fulfill God's Promise To David

"And when thy days shall be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house to my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever." ( 2Kings (2 Samuel) 7:12-13)
"Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke 1:31-33)

(6) To Defeat The Devil

"He that committeth sin is of the devil: for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God appeared, that he might destroy the works of the devil. " I John 3:8

(7) To Be The Second (and last) Adam

"And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. . . .as it is written: The first man Adam was made into a living soul; the last Adam into a quickening spirit. " (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45)
"But not as the offence, so also the gift. For if by the offence of one, many died; much more the grace of God, and the gift, by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.. . . .Therefore, as by the offence of one, unto all men to condemnation; so also by the justice of one, unto all men to justification of life. For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just." (Romans 5:15, 18-19)

Man got us into this mess; a man would have to get us out. Man is the one who wronged God and must therefore make the wrong right. That man would be the Son of Man, the second man, the Lord from heaven, who is also the Son of God incarnate for us men and for our salvation.

B. The Necessity of His Full Deity

(1) To Truly And Fully Reveal God

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. " John 1:14

(2) To Be A Sinless Sin-Bearer

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who by the Holy Ghost offered himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:14
We were redeemed, . . ..with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled. 1Peter 1:19

(3) To Unite God and Man In Reconciliation

"For God indeed was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to them their sins; and he hath placed in us the word of reconciliation." II Corinthians 5:19


5. THE MEANS OF THE INCARNATION- THE VIRGIN CONCEPTION AND BIRTH

"And Mary said to the angel: 'How shall this be done, because I know not man?/ And the angel answering, said to her: 'The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.' " Luke 1:34-35
"But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost." Matthew 1:20

6. THE SELF-EMPTYING OF CHRIST

The Son, never ceasing to be God, nor in any way compromising His identity, chose to, for a time, to lay aside His royal rights as God and to temporarily cease to display the splendor of His glory. He took on humanity and human responsibility. "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law:" (Galatians 4:4 ).

He played by the same rules by which we play. He, as man, lived in dependance upon the Father and relied on Him for His power.
"For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father who sent me, he gave me commandment what I should say, and what I should speak." (John 12:49 )
"Do you not believe, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak to you, I speak not of myself. But the Father who abideth in me, he doth the works." (John 14:10)
"Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man." (Philippians 2:6-7)

Catechism 6: On the Incarnation of Jesus Christ
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