By Kaylee Freeman
What makes Jesus fit to be the only Savior of the world?
For centuries the incarnation of Christ—God taking the form of a man—has been discussed and debated. How could it be that the eternal, infinite God could take on flesh in a finite world? And even if He could, why would He want to be demoted to such a world as this?
Buried underneath these questions is one of the most miraculous doctrines in all of Scripture: the doctrine of The Person of Christ. As we’ve discussed the past two weeks, the Trinity is made up of three distinct persons, yet all one God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Each of these persons exhibits distinct roles within their personhood, but they do not stand against one another. They work in perfect unity to bring about a glorious salvation.
In this salvation, the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ, takes on the wrath of God that was due our sin and satisfies the penalty we deserved: eternal death. Jesus is the only one fit to carry out this perfectly selfless act of sincere love and graciousness because He is both fully God and fully man.
Jesus is fully God and all of Scripture confirms this truth. Jesus, speaking to the Jews gathered around Him in John 10:30, proclaims, “I and the Father are one.” Paul, in his letter to Titus, reminds the young pastor that believers are, “Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…” (2:13). In Matthew 17:5 we see God speak to Jesus in what’s known as the transfiguration, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with who I am well pleased; listen to him.” Paul, in Colossians 2:19, tells the Church of Colossae that, “in him [Jesus] the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.”
The author of Hebrews reminds us of the fully divine Son of God by saying: “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs” (1:3-4). As we see in this passage, God the Son was not just present once He became incarnate; He was present even in creation. In Genesis 1:26, God says “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” giving clear indication that God the Father was not the only person of the Trinity present at the time of creation. Though not existing in human form, God the Son was with the Father as He created the heavens and the earth and all that filled the earth. God the Son, even in creation, was fully God.
In all that Jesus says and does throughout the New Testament, His omnipotence, eternality, omniscience, omnipresence, and sovereignty are demonstrated, affirming that He is, in fact, fully God (Grudem).
The incarnation is one of the most astounding miracles in all of Scripture. A holy, righteous, and complete God chose to take on human flesh to save an imperfect, unrighteousness, and incomplete people. We read of the birth of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:18: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.” We often hear of the birth of Christ referred to as the virgin birth, but it is more accurate to call this the virgin conception, as “his ordinary human birth affirms his humanity” (Grudem). Luke helps us see this divine and virgin conception of a human baby boy: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God” (1:34-35).
The Son of God selflessly put on human flesh and displayed human characteristics just like we do today. Take in this reality as Grudem writes: “As a child, he “grew and become strong (Luke 2:40), and as he grew older, he “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). He became “wearied” from journey (John 4:6); after a fast, “he was hungry (Matt. 4:2); and while on the cross, he said, “I thirst” (John 19:28). His body in every respect, just like ours.” Though He demonstrated the frailties of human flesh, He remained perfectly sinless; this obedience was required for Him to be the “perfect obedient representative” to take our place (Grudem).
The God-Man is only true within Christ Jesus Himself; this reality is not, and cannot, be true of anyone else who ever lived. So, “what is there that you can desire should be in a Savior, that is not in Christ” (Jonathan Edwards, The Excellency of Christ)? Jesus Christ is fully God, enabling Him to know all things, reign supreme over all things, and ordain all things for our good and His glory. Jesus Christ is also fully man, granting Him the ability to sympathize with our pain and weakness in frail humanity. Paul showcases in Philippians 2:6-8 who this God-man really is: “though he [Jesus] was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
We have all we need in Christ. We must look no further than the cross to see the great glory of God through his Son. Let us think on this: “If Jesus weren’t fully human, his death in our place would be meaningless. If Jesus wasn’t fully God, he could not have borne the full penalty for sin. . . And if he didn’t bear the full penalty of sin for the world as a sinless man, there would be no valid payment for anyone’s sins, and nobody could be saved” (Grudem). Praise God, dear sisters, that Christ was fully God and fully man; salvation is possible through faith in Him. And for those who have faith in Christ, we will one day see our Savior face-to-face as he says in Revelation 22:20, “Surely I am coming soon.”
*Christian Beliefs and Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem were used as resources for this article.