Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

True God and True Man: Reflections on the Hypostatic Union, Part 3

Two Persons?

In order to be faithful to the doctrine of the hypostatic union (and thus, I would argue, faithful to Christ Himself), one CANNOT speak of Jesus as if He is two people: as if there were a human person Jesus who can be divided out from the divine person of Christ. The idea that Christ is two persons is the heresy called "Nestorianism" (named after Nestorius, a fifth century archbishop, who apparently taught some version of this heresy). This heresy destroys the unity of Christ, which is expressed in Bible passages such as 1 Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (emphasis added).


In order to combat Nestorianism, the Council of Ephesus (431)–following Gregory of Nazianzus and other great theologians–affirmed the practice of calling Mary theotokos (meaning: "God-bearer" or "mother of God"). In using this term, the Council of Ephesus was NOT suggesting that Mary was/is the "God-bearer" or "mother of God" in the sense of being a source for Christ's divine nature, but they WERE strongly affirming that the baby in Mary's womb was more than a mere human person: Mary bore a person who was and is fully God.

Communicatio idiomatum

The affirmation of Mary as theotokos also raises the issue of Communicatio idiomatum, meaning, “the communication of attributes.” Though there are some denominational differences concerning how we should understand Communicatio idiomatum, at its most basic level, Christians agree that–due to the hypostatic union from the Incarnation–when we speak about Christ, we should not be hesitant to speak of Him as a single Person, who has attributes from both His divine and human natures.  Due to the Communicatio idiomatum, the NT authors can even speak of the Lord of glory as having been crucified (1 Cor 2:8) and the church as purchased with God’s own blood (Acts 20:28). Jesus certainly suffered and died on behalf of sinners according to His human (rather than His divine) nature, yet because it was Jesus who died, it is proper to speak of God shedding His blood and the Lord of glory having been crucified for our salvation. Because it was Jesus who died-one with a human nature, but who is also fully God-it was impossible that death should hold Him (Acts 2:24).

Dear reader, if You call out to Christ to save you from sin, death, and Hell, you will find one Person-one Mediator between God and men-who is fully God and fully Man: compassionate and mighty to save.

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