Christ is unique. While He is truly Gods Son, His Word or Logos and His Image, the entire complement of Deity dwelling in Him, He is also in the truest sense Man. When meditating upon His humanity one cannot stress too strongly His divine origin and His essential unity with God His Father. His office is to reveal the Invisible, to express the Infinite in terms that the finite mind can understand. He stands alone, without peer in the Creators plan--the beloved Son in Whom the Father delights.
We therefore approach this subject with deepest reverence, so that with enlightened eyes we may more fully appreciate Him Who is the only Bridge that can possibly span the gulf between a sinful world and a loving but righteous God.
Christ is the Firstborn of every creature, or, more precisely phrased, He is Gods Creative Original. All creation was originally in Him, and it is in Him also that all the divine fulness delights to dwell; He is supreme!
He is the First and the Last, the Origin and Con summation of all, and He is the Head of the human race; as the Firstborn of all creation humanity was in Him long before it was in Adam. He subsisted in the form of God, but in order to destroy sin He "empties Himself; taking the form of a slave."
The mystery around the word "empties" is beyond our comprehension, but it is of vital importance that the truth of the virgin birth should be accorded its rightful place in our thinking. There have always been some who would deny it, even among those calling themselves Christians, but upon the recognition of this truth hangs the whole of the proper under standing of Christ as a man. If He had a human father His existence is of no value other than an example of human goodness and sacrifice. There can be no Saviour and no sinless Offering by one of purely Adamic descent.
Our Lord was born of a woman, who, in the fulfilment of prophecy, was a lineal descendant of David. He was born in wedlock, but Marys husband, although he was fully informed by God concerning the event, had no part in it. God adapted a body for Him and in due time this body was brought into the world by the ordinary process of human birth, but the conception was caused not by any human agency, but by the spirit and the power of the Most High (Luke I : 35). This event is often described as a miracle, as no doubt it is, but it is not one which should cause anyones faith to stagger, in view of the fact that the Creator of life in the body of the Holy Child was the Creator of life itself--all life.
The whole understanding of Christs sinless life, His unique relationship to God and to man, and the entire efficacy of His work rests on the fact that He had no human father. God Himself was and is His Father.
We are told that He came "of the seed of David according to the flesh" but that He was "powerfully designated the Son of God according to His most holy spirit." Men have human bodies and human spirits: He had a human body but a Divine spirit.
Having a human body, the "likeness" of sins flesh, and only the likeness, His body went through the usual human processes of growth. He grew, we are told, in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men. His mind was not supernatural, nor were His bodily attributes other than normal, but the spirit which dominated mind, soul and body was Divine. Man, being human only, finds a law of sin in his members which defies all efforts of the mind and spirit to overcome it. This is because as sons of Adam we inherit a humanity which is lacking the glory of God and is unable to do other than sin. Man inherits a dying humanity of body, soul and spirit, transmitted to him by his ancestors from Adam onwards. Adams sin introduced death to humanity, and death passes through from Adam to all mankind, on which all sin. We hear the phrase "original sin" used as though this was something we are all born with. What we inherit is, in fact, death, and because of it we are all sinners.
Our Lord, being the One in Whom Gods glory dwells and having life in Himself, had no law of sin in His members, as He would have, had He been born of a human father, but He had, rather, the spirits law of life. He had only to come into the presence of death to defeat it.
With the ordinary man, the inheritor of Adams humanity, every inclination of sins flesh is contrary to God, but with the Son of Mankind every inclination was in harmony with God. He entered the Garden of Gethsemane with a body and wind which, being human, shrank in revulsion from the ordeal of agony and shame which He saw lying before Him. But His spirit, being divine, is supreme over both body and mind, and shows this supremacy in the sublime utterance "Not my will, but Thine."
In the man Jesus Christ there was no law of sin, and all His desires were in harmony with the law of God because of the fact that sin had no hold on Him whatever and no part in Him. We know well that He had human trials and troubles, and in all points, the Scripture assures us, He can enter into and sympathize with our own infirmities since He has been tried in every way as men are tried--apart from sin. The Authorized Version tends to give the impression that He resisted sin when tempted, in using the phrase "yet without sin," but in Himself no temptation ever existed, nor did any thought of evil ever arise. At the commencement of His ministry the Adversary had to make an external approach to Him, since it was impossible to insinuate any wrong thought into His mind. Yet even His experiences in this encounter are spoken of as "trials." They were not temptations as we know the term, for He never had the slightest inclination at any time to fall in with Satans suggestions. The spirits sword was ready in His hand: "It is written."
This glorious Man had at no time any desire other than to do Gods will. To Him it was the perfectly normal and natural thing. In contrast with the rest of mankind, every imagination of His heart was righteous continually, since He was sinless in thought, word and deed. "He knew no sin."
Having said these things, and now reflecting upon them, it seems almost impossible for our finite minds to realize the amazing love shown in His death: the Sinless One being made sin, the Deathless One dying for us, and the Glorious One drinking the very dregs of shame! We cannot understand love like this, and any appreciation or response that we can show is totally inadequate. Certainly, as the hymn writer puts it, this love "demands my soul, my life, my all."
Someone once wrote "The spirits law is that which governed the earthly life of our Lord, according to which He always walked. As a dependent man of faith to Whom God gave His spirit without measure He fulfilled all the spiritual requirements of the law. He knew no sin, and no law of sin and death was found in Him. The spirits law was the only law of His being, and the law of God found in Him no lust which it must forbid."
Christ is very truly the Son of Mankind, but the essential difference between the rest of men and Christ is one of spirit. No matter how righteous a man may be, he cannot, so long as he has a human body, emulate in his own life the earthly life of the Lord Jesus, because man is corruptible and mortal.
The disposition of the flesh is death, but the disposition of the spirit is life and peace. Uniting in Himself human flesh and divine spirit, in other words, man and God, we can see how it is that Christ is the Mediator of God and of man, for in Him they meet. And in Him sin is destroyed and God and man are reconciled. As Son of Mankind, Christ is the Head of the Race. He is humanitys representative, and sinless in Himself He takes upon Himself the whole of humanitys sin, and in Him it is judged and destroyed.
It is true that in Adam all men die. They all partake of the dying humanity which he has transmitted to them. But, before Adam, all mankind was in Christ, and as many as die in
Adam will all be made alive in Christ. He has secured eventual life for all by the defeat of sin and death at the Cross. He has defeated sin and death, and eventually He will destroy them. Death and sin and judgment are still awful realities, time still has to run, but Christ has triumphed in fact and will finally triumph in act. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death itself, and the Lord of superabundant life will then claim all.
When this Man walked the earth, taking a human body, it was so like the form of ordinary flesh of sin that only the enlightened eye could perceive that He had no sin, and that He did not lack the glory of God. John writes, "We beheld His glory, as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." The glory was there, within the veil of the flesh, and the rending of that veil has revealed it in all its splendour.
We may think of Him in human flesh, suffering all the limitations of the body; weary, hungry, sad, sometimes angry and frequently joyful, but in all this we must remember that His spirit, the power of His life, action and intelligence, was holy. While man misses the mark, He always had "a single, steady aim." He was the perfect Man, Gods crowning achievement in man-making.
There is a false teaching that human nature is depraved, and that matter is inherently evil. The truth is that these are neutral, and can be ruled either by Sin or by Righteousness. In Christ, the flesh was ruled by His righteous spirit. We have only to read the record to see what happened when this perfect Man, walking in spirits flesh, came into contact with sins flesh. The contrast was immediate and striking. "Never man spake like this man," they said, failing to explain why they did not arrest Him. "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, 0 Lord," says Simon, as he realizes who this Man from Nazareth is, and as He stills the raging sea they all exclaim, " What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" Even the Pharisees wonder, "Who is this that can forgive sins?" and when they come to take Him to trial and to death, the authority and spiritual power in His statement, "I AM" caused them to fall before Him as though dead. Death and disease fled from His presence, as did every evil spirit; the very words which He spoke were spirit and life.
Sinless, He lived, beyond the touch of sin and therefore of death, but having the authority from His Father He laid down His life and, dying, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
And with that same authority He takes His life again; rising from the dead, and ascending to His Fathers side He wears even now, in that Divine presence, "the likeness of sins flesh," a reminder and guarantee that, having been obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, God has highly exalted Him, that unto Him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that HE IS LORD, to the glory of God the Father.
And in it all He will always remember the frailty of our frame, and will know and understand humanity as none other can, for has He not been partaker of the same?
"0 God, 0 kinsman loved, but not enough,
Oman, with eyes majestic after death,
Whose feet have toiled along earths pathways rough,
Whose lips drawn human breath.
Come, lest this heart should, cold and cast away,
Die ere the Guest adored she entertain,
Lest eyes that never saw Thy earthly day
Should miss Thy heavenly reign."
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