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In A.D. 451 a large church council was convened to solve the problems raised in the controversies over the debate on the person of Christ. They met in the city of Chalcedon and a product of their meeting was the Chalcedonian Definition. This statement is considered the standard orthodox definition of the biblical teaching on the person of Christ by the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox communions. It is brief enough to be stated here:
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 like unto us, without sin; 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 taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us. (Schaff, Creed of Christendom 2:62-63; Grudem, Systematic, p 556)
The Chalcedonian Definition was important fighting against heresies of the day (Apollinarianism, Nestorianism, Monophysitism, etc) and allowed the church to grow closer in unity in doctrine and practice. (more…)
Michael Horton discusses an aspect of Jesus that made him distinct from all the other preceding prophets. Jesus used titles of God from the Old Testament, an act which no prophet had done. To use or take the name or title of God as your own was considered a blasphemous act, a charge that came with the penalty of death. And the writers of the epistles knowing this stated in no uncertain terms, that Jesus was yahweh. They do this in a few different ways but one of them was by considering the titles and names given to Jesus.
Jesus was properly understood as God when he was understood as the fulfillment of the divine titles in the Old Testament. Some examples are:
“But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.” (Hebrews 1:8 ESV)
The Incarnation of Christ
By: Brian Schwertley
When we speak of Christianity or the gospel we must not only examine and understand what Jesus did, but also who He was and is. For, just as a trust or belief in the historical events in our Lord’s life (e.g., the virgin birth, His sinless life, His sacrificial death, His resurrection and ascension to God’s right hand) are necessary for salvation, so is a belief in the person of Christ. The Savior emphasized the central importance of His own person when He asked the disciples, “Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am” (Mt. 16:13)? This question continues to divide men throughout history. The different answers to Jesus’ question are what separate the saved from the lost, the sheep from the goats, the orthodox from the heterodox. Given the importance of who Christ is for an understanding of the gospel and our own salvation we will turn our attention to the doctrine of the incarnation. How does the Bible define the mediator, the redeemer of God’s elect? How did the Savior come to dwell among sinful mortals? Why is the orthodox creedal definition of the hypostatic union of the two natures in one person so important for understanding the gospel? While the doctrine of Christ is one of the most difficult and perplexing teachings in all of Scripture, it also is the most rewarding. There is nothing better in life or death than to know, love and serve Jesus Christ.