The first part understanding what Christianity is about understanding the nature of Jesus. The term Christian means someone who follows Christ. The word “Christ” means the “anointed One.” So a Christian follows the Anointed One. Jesus is that Anointed One.
A quick understanding of the Christian faith is that there is only one God who created everything. God then created man in His image (the character of God). The singular God is triune in nature: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus the Christ is the second person of the Trinity.
Christianity is also the only faith in the world that says salvation is comes only through faith in the work of Christ on the cross. We can do nothing to earn salvation. It is a gift of grace and grace alone.
Once we have that faith in Christ we become born again, also known as “saved.” This means that the Holy Spirit takes up residence inside us and that person becomes a new creation. We begin to experience a true, living relationship with God.
So now that we have a very quick understanding of Christianity, let’s take a look at each of the members of the Trinity, beginning with Jesus the Christ.
Jesus has two natures: human and divine. The first key point to understanding what Christianity is about understanding what it means for Jesus to be both human and divine. In Latin this is called the Commumicatio Idiomatum – the communication of properties. Basically, this is the teaching about both the divine and the human natures belonging to one person, Jesus the Christ.
There are many pseudo-Christian and heretical Christian organizations that fall on either side of the spectrum but don’t believe Jesus is both human and divine. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, give attention only to the humanity of Jesus, not His divinity. On the other end are the Christian Science groups that show Christ’s divinity only and ignore His humanity.
John 17:5 – And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
But Jesus can claim the glory He had with the Father before the world was made (John 17:5), He can claim He descended from heaven (John 3:13), and He can claim omniscience (Matthew 28:20). It is only Jesus that can claim this. No one else.
Matthew 28:20 – and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Jesus is the only one who has two natures. This explains why He would grow in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52) and yet know all (John 21:17).
Luke 2:52 – And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
John 21:17 – The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
The Bible is about God as seen through Jesus.
John 5:39 – You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,
The prophets prophesied about Him. The Father bore witness of Him. The Holy Spirit bore witness of Him. The works Jesus did bore witness of Him. The multitudes bore witness of Him. And Jesus even bore witness of Himself.
And this man then went straight to heaven to be our mediator.
1 Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,
To show both His divinity and humanity, I want to show you some scriptural references.
- Jesus is worshiped as God, yet worshiped the Father.
Matthew 2:2 – and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
John 17:1 – After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
- Jesus is called God and is called man.
John 20:28 – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 15:39 – And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died,[a] he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
- Jesus is sinless and yet He was tempted.
1 Peter 2:22 – “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
Matthew 4:1 – Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
- Jesus gives eternal life and Jesus died.
John 10:28 – I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- He is fully divine and yet He has a body of flesh and bones.
Colossians 2:9 – For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
Luke 24:39 – Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
It is Scriptures like this that lead people to say that the Bible is filled with contradiction. But there is one other verse I would like to bring up here:
1 Corinthians 2:14 – The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
No matter what, until we step out in faith, the dual nature of Christ is going to look like foolishness. Even as a Christian who has been saved for a long time now I still struggle with it from time to time. It is not an easy thing to understand, and we may never understand it in full while here on earth. But that doesn’t mean we discount it at all. This is where faith steps in.
Without the eyes of faith, we will never be able to comprehend how God, the Creator of everything, came to earth as a little child, humbly born in a stable, and died a sinner’s death in order to be the final sacrifice for sin.
Next week I will begin looking at the nature of God as a whole. As man we are made in that image. And if we are to understand what Christianity is about, then we need to understand that nature that God has created us as.