Dr. S. Lewis Johnson conculdes his study of the hypostatic union by providing exposition on the theological consequences of the union of the two natures in Christ.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee and praise Thee for the privilege of the study of Thy word again. And we ask that Thou will guide and direct us as we consider the hypostatic union of our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank Thee for the truths that are found in the word of God and for the way in which they open up the person of our Lord and draw out our devotion to him. We ask that Thou will especially guide and direct in this hour. May be it be a time of spiritual edification for each of us. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] Tonight is the third and really the final of our series of studies in the hypostatic union. For next week, our last study before Christmas, I want to undertake a subject that is very closely related to it, and that is the impeccability of Christ. But tonight we conclude our study of ” The Hypostatic Union: or the Union of the Two Natures in Christ.” What we have said in our study of the hypostatic union so far is this; we have defined and let me review the outline by putting the older outline on for you for just a moment. We have defined nature as a substance with its essential qualities. And we defined person as a substance endowed with reason or the individual self. Then we discussed three forms of union. General union, which we equated with the doctrine of immensity or the attribute of immensity; special union, the mystical union between our Lord and the believers; and then we discussed briefly the personal union, the union of the two natures, the divine and the human, in the one person Jesus Christ.
We talked about the things that that union was and some of the things it was not. It was unique. It was not nominal. It was not natural. It was not accidental and so on. And then in our last study we tried to support from the word, the uni-personality of the Lord Jesus Christ. We tried to point out from the word of God, so far as the Scriptures were concerned, the Lord Jesus is one person, not two. And we turned to such passages as Romans chapter 1, verse 3 and 4; Galatians chapter 4, verse 4 and 5; and Acts chapter 20 in verse 28. And then we began a study in the latter part of our last hour of the hypostatic union of Christ as it is found in Philippians chapter 2, verse 5 through verse 11. Because we said that this particular passage is really the normative passage of the study of the hypostatic union.
Now, we concluded from our study of Philippians chapter 2, and verse 7 “but emptied himself,” that the self-emptying of the Lord Jesus was not a divine suicide by which he laid aside his deity. But it was the surrender of the voluntary use of his divine attributes. We pointed out that when he became a man he did not relinquish his stature as God. As it has been put in a popular form, “He was just as much Son of God after he becomes Son of man as he was before.” So when it says here that he emptied himself in Philippians 2:7 it does not mean that he emptied himself of his deity. He did not empty himself of any of his attributes, his divine attributes. But rather, he surrendered the voluntary use of the divine attributes. He still possessed them, but the use of them was turned over to the Father as long as he existed here in his mediatorial role. And as a matter of fact, he still is in that mediatorial role, and it is the Father who will, finally, say the word and our Lord will return in order to consummate his mediatorial work at his Second Advent and also during the coming kingdom.
We tried to summarize it, and we’ll talk more about it in just a moment, as being servanthood in the likeness of men. To put it in popular language then, “The self-emptying of the Lord Jesus was servanthood in the likeness of men.” In this study that we are looking at tonight, we want to conclude our treatment by completing our exegesis of Philippians chapter 2, verse 6 through verse 11. Then we want to consider a couple of additional points related to it, the theological consequences of the union of the two natures in Christ. And if we have time, I think we will the Lutheran doctrine of the communication of attributes. For the Lutherans, at this point, differ from reformed theologians, and I think it would be helpful for all of us to understand exactly why. Well, let’s turn now to Philippians chapter 2 again, and we want to conclude our study of this important passage, Philippians 2, verse 5 or 6 though 11. I’m going to begin reading verse 5 and read through verse 11 again to reacquaint us with the context.
” Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Now, we in our last study concluded with a discussion of “but emptied himself” and that launched us into a discussion of what was meant by the expression “he emptied himself.” So let’s pick it up right there, and notice the next clause, “taking the form of a bond-servant.” Now, if you have before you a Greek testament, some of you do, and if you know anything about Greek, you will recognize immediately that the word “taking” a participle in the Greek text, is a circumstantial participle of manner, so that the taking the form of a bond-servant explain how he emptied himself. He emptied himself by taking the form of a bond-servant. So his self-emptying is the taking of the form of a servant. Now, you’ll notice two termini in this passage. In verse 6 he has said, although he existed in the form of God, now in verse 7 we read that he emptied himself by taking the form of a bond-servant. So form of God represents one of the termini, and form of servant represents the other. One represents the sovereignty of the possession of the essential attributes of deity, and the other represents the slavery of a person who has submitted himself to a master in order to do his will in every respect. So you can see the depth of the stoop of our Lord Jesus in these two expressions. “He existed in the form of God,” but he took the form of a bond-servant.
Paul goes on to say in the remaining clause of verse 7, “And being made in the likeness of men.” The word that the apostle uses here for likeness is a word that suggests similarity but not identity. In other words, there was more to our Lord than simply the possession of a true humanity. It does not deny in any way the true humanity of the Lord. It simply says that there was more to him than simply humanity. He was made in the likeness of men. He accepted the fallen, weak human nature, but a nature that did not possess sin. Now, the reason that we say a fallen, weakened nature is because human nature has been weakened as a result of the fall. But our Lord Jesus accepted fallen, weak human nature apart from sin. As it says here, he was made in the likeness of men. The 8th verse continues the description, “And being found in appearance as a man.” Now, here the reality of the humanity is emphasized. There is no question but that he is truly human. “Being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself.” Now let’s stop for just a moment and say just a few words about the humanity of the Lord Jesus. It is important that we remember that our Lord possessed a true humanity. I think evangelical often in their desire to support the deity of Christ, because so many people deny the deity of Christ, as declined to deemphasize the humanity and not recognize that that is just as significant an aspect of his person as is his full deity. When we say the Lord Jesus was found in fashion as a man, we mean that he possessed a true humanity. And we should recognize this as we read through the New Testament, because there are unquestionable illustrations of the true humanity of the Lord Jesus.
For example, one of the characteristic expressions concerning him is that he was a man of compassion. As you know, over and over in the gospel accounts particularly, the statements of Scripture say that he was moved by compassion toward certain people. If fact, that compassion may be divided up into some specific things that are particularly human. It was not an uncommon thing at all for the Lord Jesus Christ to weep. He stood by the graveside of Lazarus and he burst into tears there. He also, as he looked up Jerusalem near the end of his ministry, wept over that city, because of its failure to respond to the ministry that he had given it.
He is also characterized by the sighs. Over and over again in the New Testament accounts we read that he sighed. Let me ask you to turn to a passage or two. Let’s turn to Mark chapter 7 and verse 34. Mark chapter 7, and verse 34, this is the story of the cure of the deaf mute. “And again He went out from the region of Tyre, and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, within the region of Decapolis. They brought to Him one who was deaf and spoke with difficulty, and they implored Him to lay His hand on him. Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva; and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He said to him, “Ephphatha!” that is, “Be opened!” Look at those words, “And looking to heaven with a deep sigh.”
Turn over to chapter 8 and verse 12, chapter 8 verse 12, well let’s read verse 10. “And immediately He entered the boat with His disciples and came to the district of Dalmanutha. The Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, to test Him. Sighing deeply in His spirit,” incidentally, this word that is used here is the stronger word than the word used in the preceding section to which we referred. This is a word that really does mean to sigh deeply, perhaps to suggest that the sigh over unbelief is even more of a sigh, then the sigh over the effects of sin upon the body of the deaf mute. So here are the sighs. It is interesting to note in the New Testament, too, that the Lord Jesus is said to love.
Now, it’s rather interesting, I think, to note that it’s only once said that he ever loved anyone. That might seem strange to us, but nevertheless that is true. The one place where it is found is in, let me see if I can turn to the passage, it’s in Mark chapter 10, verse 21, and I’m sure you’ll remember it as a reference to the rich young ruler. Mark chapter 10, and verse 21, “Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” So while it’s, I say, mentioned only once that our Lord Jesus loved, nevertheless that human emotion is referred to here. In my opinion this is a reference to the benevolent love of the Lord Jesus, and not a reference to electing love, of course. But here we have then our Lord compassionate with tears, sighs, and also the expression of benevolent love toward this individual, the rich young ruler.
Also, in the New Testament we find the emotion of indignation. In Mark chapter 3, in verse 5 the Lord Jesus here gives vent to anger. “After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart,” anger at unbelief, grief over their harness of heart. Mark chapter 10, and verse 14, we read, “But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Indignation, anger, these are things that are characteristic of human nature. Of course, let me hasten to point out, I am sure this is not necessary with this very intelligent audience, that the anger and indignation of the Lord Jesus is not sinful anger and sinful indignation. It is anger at unbelief. It is indignation at disobedience. It is the kind of anger that is honoring to God in the final analysis.
One other thing that characterizes the Lord Jesus Christ’s humanity and his compassion is his joy. And will you turn with me to Luke chapter 10, in verse 21. Luke chapter 10, and verse 21 we read, “At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Thy sight.” Notice the emotion of joy. “At that very hour he rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit.” And you’ll notice, too, that the whole trinity is referred to in this verse. “I praise Thee O Father, that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes.” So here the Lord Jesus expresses joy.
So we have our Lord as compassionate, with tears, with sighs, and with love, as indignant over the sins of unbelievers, and also characterized by the human emotion of joy. Incidentally, did you notice what our Lord Jesus was rejoicing in? He was rejoicing in election. It’s perfectly all right to rejoice in election. Look at what he was rejoicing in. As a matter of fact, he was rejoicing in both election, and it would appear reprobation. He said at that very time, “He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent.” I praise Thee that Thou didst hide them, and I praise Thee that Thou didst reveal them to Babes. Yes, Father, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight.” In other words, it was in accordance with the will of the Father. So the Lord Jesus then was characterized by a whole range of human emotions. As Paul puts it, he was “found in fashion as a man.” He was truly a man, true humanity.
Now, the fifth statement that is made in Philippians chapter 2 and verse 8 is “he humbled himself.” Now, I want you to notice the place from which it is said that he humbled himself. “Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself.” We’re inclined to think that the humiliation of our Lord Jesus was that he was a God and that he became a man. Of course, that is humiliation that is a self-humbling. But notice that the humbling is from his status as a man. He was found in fashion as a man, and he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death. So the point from which he humbled himself, according to Paul, is his true humanity. He’s not talking about how the Lord Jesus then was the second person of the trinity and became a man, but rather he’s talking about what he did after he had become incarnate as a man. He humbled himself to a death upon the cross.
It is a striking thing that the Lord Jesus, the second person of the eternal trinity, did not step from the deity which was his, as is referred to verse 6, to the status of a seraph, but he did become a man. And he did not only become a man, he didn’t become a kingly man. He became a lowly man. And not only did he become a lowly man, but after becoming a lowly man, he exposed himself, or put himself under the discipline of thirty years of preparation for his ministry. And finally, the Scriptures say in the midst of humiliation, in the description that is given of his sufferings in Psalm 22, that he was not a man, but a worm. “I am a worm, and no man.” So that the self-humiliation of the Lord Jesus is not simply from God to an angelic being, but from God to a man, and not from a man who was cradled daintily in king’s palaces, but to a lowly man, one who would be born in a manger. And not only that, but this man finally came to suffer the death of a criminal on the cross. So the point from which he humbled himself is his humanity, not his deity. And the path after he became a man is a path of thirty years of preparation, and then a ministry and finally the cross of Calvary.
Isn’t it an interesting thing that the Lord Jesus thought that it was necessary for himself to engage in thirty years of preparation? That might have seemed excessive. There are lots of young men who are converted who want to go out immediately and preach. And Mr. Spurgeon used to say, “They go out like chickens with the shells still on their heads and start to preach.” [Laughter] They want to get out and fight before they have their armor buckled to their side. And the illustration of the Lord Jesus is of some significance to us, I think. Even though he was what he was, he found it necessary within the will of God to spend thirty years of preparation for a ministry of two or three years. Dr. Donald Gray Barnhouse used to say, I remember him telling me this, that if I knew that had three years to live and then for ministry I would spend two of them in preparation, because it would be possible for me to do more in one year with preparation, than three without.
There is a lesson, I think, in our Lord’s life. It is also, I think, striking, that when Paul goes on to say he humbled himself. He says he humbled himself by becoming obedient. In the final analysis, that’s the best way to become humble is by obedience. The humility of the Lord Jesus was not the humility of will worship. It was not the humility caused by spiritual flagellation, but it was the humility that was produced by obedience to the word of God. There is no humility like that that is produced by obedience to the Bible. You can be sure that when a Christian subjects himself to the authority of God in his word, and begins to live accordingly, that he will learn what true humility is. That’s the best way to learn it, and our Lord Jesus’ life was characterized by that. He became obedient. He humbled himself by becoming obedient even to the point of death.
You might have thought, too, that since after all he’s the second person of the trinity, that he could have some spectacular way of leaving this earthly scene. Did not Enoch? “Enoch walked with God and was not.” Or Elijah, Elijah had chariots of fire to come and take him to heaven, but not the Son of God. He must become obedient unto death. And finally he says, “Even the death of a cross.” There is no way in which I could possibly tell you the precise force of that last clause. Perhaps we could attempt it by saying that what Paul is stressing is the fact that it is a particular kind of death. Let me say it his way, we could paraphrase this by saying “He became obedient to the point of death, even such a death as a death upon a cross.”
Now, the death of an individual on a cross was like the death of a criminal. So what he is saying is that the kind of death our Lord died is the death of a cross. “I am a worm, and no man.” God, man, to a worm. There is an old reading of one of the old Latin versions of Psalm 96, verse 10, which has “The Lord reigneth from a tree.” Most of the manuscripts have “The Lord reigneth,” but this one, this old Latin version has “The Lord reigneth from a tree.” And some of the early Christians thought that that was the original reading. And they argued that the reason that the Lord reigneth from a tree was dropped out of the transmission of the text of the Old Testament, was because the Jewish people had the idea that anyone who was hanging upon a tree was under a curse.
Now, we know that the Apostle Paul makes reference to that in the Epistle to the Galatians. It’s a true sentiment. And so, consequently, the idea of the Lord reigning upon a tree seemed to introduce a contradiction with the word of God. And so the early Christians, who had to wage war with Israel over the ministry of the Lord Jesus in a much different way from the kind of war that is waged today, used to say that the Jewish scribes eliminated the expression “from a tree,” because it seemed to contradict the Old Testament. But they liked it, because they perceived in it the truth, that the true place where God reigns is at the cross. So he reigns from a tree. It is at that place that he demonstrates his true, regal character. Well, it’s probably not a genuine reading, so we’ll let it drop at that. But it’s a very interesting thing. It is true theologically that the Lord does reign from a tree. Because when he died the death, and such a death as the death of the cross, it was by that death that he really overcame.
Now, verses 9-11 explain the perfect exaltation of the Lord Jesus. It was no common obedience, and therefore no common reward is given to him. “Therefore, also God highly exalted him.” I love this expression, because do you know that while the term exalt is used in the New Testament, this is the only place where this particular term is used, and the translators of the NASB have correctly rendered it “highly exalted.” For example, in 1 Peter chapter 5, in verse 6, we read, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God and he will exalt you in due time. But that’s the simple word. Here is the intensive word, “highly exalt,” and it’s used only of the Lord Jesus, and how fitting it is, because there is no person who deserves to be exalted as our Lord Jesus Christ does. No one ever humbled himself as deeply as the Lord did and therefore if that principle pertains, that those who humble themselves shall be exalted. It is very fitting that he shall be highly exalted. Further, Paul says, and God has bestowed upon him the name which is above every name.
Now, he does not mean that the name that is above every name is the name Jesus. It might sound as if that is what he means if you read this text without thinking about the total statement that is made. All he is saying here when he says, “at the name of Jesus” is he’s identifying the person. He’s bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at Jesus’ name, every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. That’s the name that has been given to him. That’s the name that marks him out. That’s the name that describes his high exaltation. He has the name Lord.
Now, we have to know the Old Testament, or a little something about it to appreciate that, because in the Old Testament, remember, well we’ve been studying Genesis on Sunday morning, when the Lord God came down into the Garden of Eden to talk to Adam, the text says it was the Lord God. It was the covenant keeping God. We’ve been saying that it was most likely a theophany of the second person of the trinity. As we go through the Book of Genesis we shall discover other occasions in which we have an appearance of the second person before his incarnation, designed to prepare Israel for the time when he would become incarnate. But the term Lord, is a reference to the covenant keeping God of the Old Testament who dealt with men face to face. He dealt with Moses face to face. He dealt with Adam face to face. It’s not a reference to the Father. It’s not a reference to the Spirit. It’s a reference to the Son of God, the Lord Jesus. So here, when he says “He is given him the name that is above every name that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,” he is saying that Caesar’s title, Caesar claimed that title for himself, in Paul’s day, Caesar’s title and the Father’s title, for the Father and the Spirit are also called Lord, that title belongs to the Lord Jesus, “That every tongue should confess that Lord Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
Going through the Old Testament, this person, this Lord, this covenant keeping God speaks of himself as “I am he,” the first and the last, the beginning and the end. In the New Testament when the Lord Jesus begins to speak in the Gospel of John, how does he speak? Well, the characteristic way that he speaks that stands out in the reading of the Bible is that he begins so many of his memorable statements with the little expression, “I am.” Now, that really means something like “I am he.” That’s the Old Testament any who, “I am he.” I am the Lord. And he even phrased those statements like, “I am the door. I am the way. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the Good Shepherd. And so on. He phrased those statements in such a way that those who were listening to him would make the connection between the Old Testament Lord Jehovah who said to Israel, “I am he.” So he came with those words upon his lips hoping that they would recognize the tones of essential deity and recognize him for what he truly was, the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Luther used to speak about politicians who “think my Lord Jesus is a man made out of straw.” He is not such. He is the Lord. And wherever the Lord Jesus Christ is, there is God. When the Lord Jesus speaks, God speaks. When the Lord Jesus acts, God acts. When the Lord Jesus performs any mighty work, it is the Lord who is performing that mighty work. “That every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” Now, of course, Paul means more than simply that believers should recognize it. You notice here that he says that every knew should bow. So the time is coming when those in heaven, the angels and the seraphs and the living creatures and the elders and the believers shall acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. But not only they, even those under the earth, all the devils and the demons and Satan himself, all of his mighty evil host shall acknowledge that the Lord Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father.
Now, I don’t want to sin in saying this, but I am really looking forward to that. I am really forward to it. I want to see the evil one get down upon his knees and acknowledge that the Lord Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. I want to see some of those who have murdered the martyrs of the past get down on their knees and acknowledge that the Lord Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. I’ll be very interested when Pharaoh and Judas and some of the others acknowledge that the Lord Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. And all of that other long line of the seed of the serpent down through the centuries acknowledging that the Lord Jesus Christ is what the Scriptures have said that he is, the Son of God, the Savior, and Yahweh himself.
May I draw a couple of inferences from what we have read here? It’s obvious that we have a God that is capable of self-sacrifice for us. He is not incapable of passion. He is not untouched by suffering. And furthermore, we notice from this that the life of self-abnegation is the most divinely beautiful life that a man can live. It may seem to us that there are many ways to live a much better life than this. But listen to what Paul says in verse 5, he says, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” “Let this mind be in you.” If you want to know what a divinely beautiful life is, it is the life in subjection to the will of God. That is the divinely beautiful life. He is the great model. It’s impossible to set a limit, also, to the self-sacrifice of an individual for the good of the saints.
Now, the text of Scripture goes on to speak about the power for this. In verse 11 we read, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” We cannot work in our salvation, but we can work it out. He’s talking about believers. Now, we can work it out, and he goes on to add, “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” It is his sovereign working that assures us of success in our endeavors. What a beautiful blending of divine sovereign, enabling power, taking the initiative in fulfilling human responsibility; work, for he works.
Well, we must finish our theological study, so I want to move on now to discuss briefly the theological consequences of the union of the two natures, and suggest to you a three fold communication that comes from the union of the two natures in Christ. First of all, there is a communication of the properties. The properties of both natures, the human and the divine, are now the properties of the one person as a result of the incarnation. The person of our Lord Jesus Christ can be called Almighty or he can be called weak. The person of our Lord Jesus Christ may be called omniscient or it may be said that he is learning, advancing in wisdom and stature before God and men. And because we may look at the person in the aspect of his divine nature, or in the aspect of his human nature, there is no interpenetration of the two natures, so that the divine is humanized or the human deified. The deity does not share in the human weakness. And the human nature of our Lord does not share in the perfections of the Godhead such as omniscience, omnipotence, self-existence. But there is a communication of the properties of both natures to the one person. So our Lord, as the one person, may be looked at in the light of either of the two natures.
Second, there is a communication of operations. That is, the redemptive work and often the other works of our Lord have a divine human character. The person, composed of two working natures in cooperation, performs a harmonious work. And third, a communication of graces. The human nature of our Lord Jesus is not deified, but the human nature is adorned with rich and glorious gifts that are brought about by the union of the human nature with the logos, or with the person of our Lord. So that the human nature of the Lord Jesus Christ is still human but elevated in its graces above all creatures and even may become an object of adoration.
Now, I want to conclude by saying a few things about the Lutheran doctrine of the communication of attributes. And a capital A, the Lutheran position, the Lutherans and those who are reformed in theology, both of them are reformation people but they did differ in a few things. The Lutherans have a rather unique doctrine of the communication of the attributes. Their position is that the attributes of both natures can be ascribed to the person. Now that is true to reform thinking, the attributes of the human nature are ascribed to the person, the attributes of the divine nature are ascribed to the person, but the Lutherans add that the attributes of one nature may be ascribed to the other nature. So that the attributes of the humanity of our Lord may be ascribed to the deity of our Lord or his divine nature and vice versa by an actual transference. Only in this way, the Lutherans maintain, can the unity of the person of our Lord Jesus be maintained. You cannot, they say, have a true unity of person in our Lord, if you do not have transference of the attributes of the divine nature to the human nature, not the divine person. And the human nature’s attributes must be transferred to the divine and not simply to the divine person.
The support for this position, capital B, the Lutheran insist that the doctrine of the communication of attributes follows from the doctrine of the personal union. That is, the union of the two natures with the one personality or person. The human nature, therefore, partakes of the glory of the divine nature and its attributes. When we read, “The word became flesh and dwelt among and us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,” we are to understand that the glory of the divine attributes and the divine attributes themselves are transferred to the human nature of our Lord so that there is a true transference from the natures one to another. The divine nature cannot be separated from the divine person, and must therefore, since the divine person has entered into union with the human nature, have entered into communion with the human nature. So the Lutheran doctrine then is based upon some reasoning concerning the nature of the incarnation of the Lord Jesus. Let me repeat that again, the divine nature cannot be separated from the divine person, and must therefore, since the divine person has entered into union with the human nature, have entered into communion with the human nature. So the divine nature must be connected with the divine person always, that’s true. Since the divine person is entered into union with the human nature, there must be a communion between the human nature and the divine nature.
There are some objections that we may raise to this doctrine, and with this we want to close our study tonight. No Scripture teaches this, incidentally. There is no real passage from the word of God to which we can point and say, “This teaches the communication of the attributes from the human to the divine and from the divine to the human.” There are some passages that are supposed to, but so far as I know there is no Scripture that really teaches this. What this implies, however, is something that the early church and the church down through the years has sought to avoid. It implies a fusion of the two natures in Christ, with the result that the human nature really ceases to be a human nature, because if it true that the attributes of the divine nature are communicated to the human nature. Then the human nature becomes no longer a human nature. And if it becomes no longer a human nature, then of course, it is a denial of the true human nature of the Lord Jesus so that the human nature ceases to exist. If the human nature is a nature which possesses omniscience and omnipotence then how can we call it human nature, vice versa? If the attributes of the human nature are transferred to the divine nature, and the limited nature of human nature is made a possession of the divine nature, then it would seem that the true divine character of our Lord’s divine nature is lost.
Also, we know that one of the attributes of God is self-existence. Are we to assume that because the divine nature is self-existent that that attribute is transferred to the human nature of our Lord. It seems that that really goes beyond the teaching of the word of God. And so we leave it then with the final statement that the Lord Jesus is one person possessed of two natures, divine and human. He took to himself an additional nature, this human nature, at his incarnation, that was subsumed into the divine personality and so he is a divine person who possess two natures. And while there is communion between the two natures, there is no communication of attributes from one to the other. He is the divine God man. And because he is God he is able to save to the uttermost. Because he is a man he is able to be our substitute and bear our judgment and penalty. Because he is God-man, he is able to bear our judgment and penalty and save us to the uttermost by the infinite value of his sacrifice. That is why, incidentally, we affirm a Savior who has offered a sacrifice that is sufficient for the sins of all men. And that sacrifice is sufficient because of the infinite value of the person and the sacrifice that he made. Let’s close with a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for the privilege of the study of the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we thank Thee for the things that have been revealed to us. We recognize that the subject is ultimately beyond us, but we rejoice in a Savior who is not only one of us, therefore able to be our substitute and understand us, but also is above us, the eternal God and Lord, and therefore his work has infinite value before thee. And has the power and …
[RECORDING ENDS ABRUPTLY]