By Amos Binney and Daniel Steele
Although the Scriptures which treat of the character of Jesus Christ have not the form of regular system, yet, when collected, they present us with three particular classes, each of which supports its corresponding proposition:
I. The first class sustains the following proposition, namely, Jesus Christ is verily and truly man.
The following are a few of the passages of this class: The Son of man, eighty times; made flesh, John 1:4; made of woman, Gal. 4:4; likeness of man, Phil. 2:7-8; child born, Isa. 9:6; 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25; grew, Luke 2:52; man of sorrows, Isa. 53:3; Matt. 26:38; hungered, Matt. 4:2; wearied, John 4:6; tempted, Matt. 4:2; sweat, Luke 22:44; wept, John 11:35; ignorant, Mark 13: 32; angry and (79. How is the character of Jesus Christ presented in the Scriptures? What proposition does the first class sustain? What are the texts?) grieved, Mark 3:5; died, John 19:33; buried, John 19:42.
Finally, all those Scriptures which speak of his sufferings and death, or indicate his inferiority, in any sense, are predicated of and prove his real humanity.
They do not prove him to be a mere man, as some have supposed, neither do they prove him an angel or an arch angel as others have supposed; but they prove him to have been a real man, possessed, like other men, of a human body and a human soul.
II. The second class of Scriptures sustains the following proposition, namely, Jesus Christ is the very unoriginated God. The following are a few of those passages:
a. Those which speak of him as God. John 1:1; 20:28; Acts 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Col. 1:9; Phil. 2:6; I Tim. 3:16; Titus 3:10; Heb. 1:8; I John 5:20.
b. Those which speak of his ATTRIBUTES. His ETERNITY: Isa. 9:6; Micah 5:2; John 1:1; 8:58; Col. 1:17; Heb. 7:3; 13: 8; Rev. 1:8.
DIVINE TITLES. Alpha and Omega: Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13 Emanuel: Matt. 1:23. (80. What are the tests? What do these prove? What does the second class sustain? What tests speak of him as God? His eternity? His titles?) First and Last: Rev. 1:17. Everlasting Father: Isa. 9:6. Mighty God: Isa. 9:6. Governor Matt. 2:6. Holy One: Luke 4:34; Acts 3:14. Just One: Acts 7:52, King Everlasting: Luke 1:33. King of kings and Lord of lords: I Tim. 6:15. Lord of Glory: I Cor. 2:8. Prince of Life: Acts 3:15. Savior: Luke 2:11. Son of the Highest: Luke 1:32. Son of God: Matt. 16:16, and many other passages.
Divine Attributes. OMNIPRESENCE: Matt. 18:20; John 3:13. OMNISCIENCE: Matt. 9:4; Mark 2:8; John 2:24; 6:64; 16:30; 21:17; Acts 1:24. OMNIPOTENCE: Isa. 9:6; Matt. 28:18; John 3:31; 10:18; Rom. 9:5; Eph. 1:21; Col. 1:16-18; 2:10; Heb. 1:3; Rev. 1:8. WISDOM: Col. 2:3. HOLINESS: Mark 1:24. JUSTICE: Acts 22:14. TRUTH: John 14:6. GOODNESS: Acts 10:38.
c. Those which speak of his acts. CREATION: John 1:3, 10; Col. 1:16; I Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:2. INSPIRATION: I Pet . 1:11, John 14:26 , 18:37. SALVATION: Compare Isa. 45:21-22, and I Tim. 4:10; Acts 4:12; Heb. 5:9; 7:25. (81. Of his attributes? Of his acts?) RESURRECTION: John 5:21, 28-29; 6:40 11:25. JUDGMENT: Matt. 24:30; 25:31; Acts 17: 31; Rom. 14:10; II Cor. 5:10; II Tim 4:1.
4. Those which speak of his honors.
WORSHIP: Compare Matt. 2:11; 14:33; Luke 24:52; Heb. 1:6; John 5:23; Rev. 5:12-13. The word worship generally denotes supreme homage; as such it is applied fifteen times in the New Testament to Jesus Christ, and in no instance is any reproof given as there is when worship is offered to a Creature. Acts 14:13-18; Rev. 19:10. Since ninety-nine hundredths of all Christians, in all ages, have rendered divine worship to Christ, it follows that he is either entitled to receive worship, or he has, as a religious teacher, so failed in his mission as to lead nearly all his pupils into the idolatry of Creature worship. The ambassador of God to a sinful race has so perverted his office as to secure allegiance to himself, and not to the supreme Authority by which he was commissioned. In other words, if Jesus is not worthy of divine honors, he is a successful rival to God in securing the love and homage of mankind. Such a conclusion destroys his moral integrity. (82. Of his honors? Of his teachings?)
III. The third class of Scriptures sustains the following proposition, namely: Substantial divinity and real humanity are combined in the person of Jesus Christ.
a. The very name of Jesus Christ is a sufficient proof. JESUS, Savior, being the human appellation, and CHRIST, My Anointed, being the official title. "Immanuel:" Matt. 1:23. Compare also I Tim. 3:16; John 1:14.
b. Again: "Of whom concerning the flesh Christ came, [here is his humanity,] who is God over all, blessed forever," [here is the divinity.] Rom. 9:5. A similar distinction is found in Rom. 1:3-4: "According to the flesh," (humanity,) "according to the spirit of holiness," or spirit whose attribute is holiness, (divinity.)
c. As God, he is the root source, or origin of David's family and kingdom. As man he has descended from David's loins. Rev. 22:16.
d. As man, he weeps over the grave of Lazarus. As God, he raises him from the dead. John 11:35, 43, 44.
e. As man, he himself suffers and dies. Mark 14:34-35; 15:34, 37. But as God, he is able to raise his own body from the grave. John 10:18. (83. What proposition does the third class sustain? Repeat the first class of texts. Second. Third. Fourth. Fifth.)
There is no more propriety in denying the divinity of Christ, because there are so many texts which speak of his humanity, than there is in denying his humanity, because there are so many texts which treat of his divinity.
As those two natures are united in him, he has of course a double mode of speaking of himself. Nor is this without analogy as to ourselves; for instance:
When you say, I am sick, you speak of your body; and when you say, I am happy, you speak of your soul, etc.
What should you think of one who should take one half of your words, and make no account of the rest, and thus attempt to prove that you were not both mortal and immortal? This is just the error men fall into concerning Jesus Christ.
Jesus manifestly claims supreme divinity when he says to Philip, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." John 14:9. That is, seen the Father so far as he can be seen by mortals. Jesus was the human personation of the invisible God. As the soul, which is not discerned in itself, is discovered by what it (84. May not his humanity be denied with equal propriety? Why does Christ speak of himself with a double mode? What is the error men fall into concerning Christ?) does through the body, so he sees the Father only as he sees him in the Son. John 1:18. He incidentally assumes equal rank with the Father by the use of the pronouns WE and US, which it would be the height of presumption for a creature to use. John 14:23; 17:21-22.
The scriptures urged against this doctrine are John 14:28, "My Father is greater than I." In his mediatorial office, being sent, he was inferior to the Father, who sent him. Jesus refers not to his nature but to his office. Jesus in these very words implies that there is, in some sense, a divine equality, for what man would say, "God is greater than I."?
Another scripture is Mark 10:18. Here the Unitarian is in this dilemma-either, "There is none good, but God; Christ is good: therefore he Is GOD;" or, "There is none good but God: Christ is not God; therefore he IS NOT GOOD." In view of Christ's many claims to be God, he either is God or not a good man. Hence they who begin by denying Christ's supreme Deity, logically end by assaulting his moral integrity.
In Mark 13:32, his ignorance of the day and hour of the coming of the Son of man does not disprove his Divinity, since it may have been (85. Explain three scriptural.) a part of his humiliation in his mediatorial office that this matter was hidden from him. His prayers to the Father do not argue an essential inferiority. He could not be a perfect example for us without piety, and he could not evince his piety without prayer, praise, and worship to his heavenly Father.
PRINCIPAL ERRORS respecting the Person of Jesus Christ:
a. The DOCETAI, "the Seemers," taught that the humanity of Jesus was not real but only a seeming, and that he suffered and died only in appearance.
b. Apollinaris taught that Jesus had only a human body endowed with a sensitive but not with a rational soul, and that Divinity supplied the place of the intellect in man.
c. The Monothelites taught that Jesus had but one will in his two natures.
d. They who deny the eternal Sonship teach that the Logos, or Word, (John 1:1, 14,) was not the Son of God until he was the Son of Mary. This opinion has never been accepted as orthodox, nor has the following:
e. That the Logos became the Son of God by uniting himself with a pre-existent human soul ages before he became incarnate, from which (86. What five other errors?) sou1 he will ultimately separate himself. The pre-existence of human souls is not taught in the Scriptures, but is a part of the transmigration of souls found in ancient mythology.
MEDIATION. The union of two whole and perfect natures, Divinity and Humanity, qualify Jesus Christ to be the Mediator, that is, perfectly to represent God to sinful man and fallen man to God, and to provide, through his shed blood and the agency of the Holy Spirit, for a reconciliation between them. I Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24.