Christology: An Introduction by Matthew Howden

Matthew Howden

Introduction

In this article we will be taking an introductory look at Christology, or the study of Christ, including key Bible passages, issues, my personal statement and a warrant for position.

Bible Passages

John 1:1-18: This passage from the Gospel of John tells us who Jesus is. Jesus is the Word that was there in the beginning, he is preexistent and eternal.

Jesus was with God before the world was created. John lets us know that Jesus is the creator of all things. Jesus is life and light.

Philippians 2:5-11: Paul tells us the Jesus exists “in the form of God” (v. 6) and Jesus comes in “the form of a servant.” (v. 7)

He leaves his place in heaven and comes down to earth. Jesus is willing to come here as a human. Jesus was even willing to go to the cross even though it was going to mean death for him.“After Jesus’s death made a way for us to have our sins purified he sat down back at the right hand of God in heaven. His name is above every name, and he is even greater than the angels.”

Jesus was raised to life and God gave him the name that is above every name and one day every knee will bow to him.

Colossians 1:15-20: Paul like John reminds us that Jesus was the creator of everything in heaven and earth. Jesus holds everything together.  Jesus is also the head of his body which is the church.

Jesus has the fullness of God dwelling in him, he is the reconciler of all things through his death on the cross, and was also raised to life so he is the firstborn from the dead. Jesus died and was raised to life never to die again.

Hebrews 1:1-4: The writer of Hebrews lets us know that Jesus is the word of God.

God used prophets in the past to speak to his people but now Jesus speaks as the Word of God. Jesus is the glory of God. He holds the universe together – just like Paul and John say about Jesus.

After Jesus’s death made a way for us to have our sins purified he sat down back at the right hand of God in heaven. His name is above every name, and he is even greater than the angels.

Key Issues

Christology is the study of Christ. Yet this has been misunderstood and it has resulted in heresies. As such, the early church fathers had to come up with a way to speak about who Jesus was and is.

The church fathers came together and came up with the Nicene Creed that helps us understand and know who Jesus is. The church fathers wrote this:“The church fathers had to face many issues but as they faced these issues they have helped to give us the language we need to use when speaking of the nature of Christ.”

“We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, The only-begotten of God, Begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, Very God of Very God; Begotten, not made, Of one substance with the Father…Who for us, and for our salvation, Came down from heaven And was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, And was made man.”[1]

Later the church fathers wrote the Chalcedonian definition to help us know who Jesus is. The church fathers wrote this:

“This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God must be confessed to be in two natures, unconfusedly, immutably, indivisibly, inseparably united: The distinction of natures is not annulled by such a union, but rather the peculiar property of each nature is preserved and united in one Person and subsistence, not separated or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and only-begotten God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The church fathers had to face many issues but as they faced these issues they have helped to give us the language we need to use when speaking of the nature of Christ.

These statements made by the early church fathers still need to be the ones we hold today.

Personal Statement

All of the different views that the early church fathers had to face seem to cycle through as you talk to people about who Jesus is.“If Jesus is not both human and divine he can’t save humans from their sins. I believe that Jesus was both God and a man in one person. Jesus is the Word that was preexisting and he is eternal.”

When looking how to answer the question of who Jesus is we can turn to different Bible passages to show us that He is truly God and truly man.

If Jesus is not both human and divine he can’t save humans from their sins. I believe that Jesus was both God and a man in one person. Jesus is the Word that was preexisting and he is eternal.

There never was a time when Jesus did not exist because the word “was” is a tense that is a continual tense.

This verse in John 1:1 could be read “In the beginning was continuing the Word and the Word was continuing with God and the Word was continually God.”

Jesus is God but as John continues in the first chapter he became a human and came to earth.

Warrant for Position

Since sin entered from Adam (a man) people have needed to be redeemed from their sins.

Jesus becomes that God-man to redeem us from our sins. Jesus needed to be both God and man. Jesus could not just be a man and he could not just be God without human flesh.“Jesus is truly God and truly man. We need to hold fast to this truth that has been passed down through the centuries.”

He needs to be both God and man. Jesus is God that comes down to us with human flesh on – to live the life that would be perfect following God without sin and then paying the penalty for our sins so that we can be reconciled to God and be able to be with him forever when we die.

Jesus is truly God and truly man. We need to hold fast to this truth that has been passed down through the centuries.

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Image Credit

Christ and the Woman of Samaria, c.1470, Master of Jesus in Bethany Netherlandish, active c. 1465-84. Bequest of Herschel V. Jones. Minneapolis Institute of Art. P.68.90.

Sources

[1] Nicene Creed, c. 381

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