December Series: The Incarnation-Christ’s True Humanity

The true humanity of Jesus Christ in His incarnation is as absolutely indispensable as His virgin birth.  Perhaps little is understood today of what it means that Jesus Christ took on a true, though sinless, humanity.  Certainly, this doctrine not only has huge ramifications for our theology but also for our stand against particular heresies.  In an age of professing Christianity that can be largely designated by a desire to be as ecumenical as the day is long, it is certainly a sign of how little some understand the Incarnation when Bible-believing, Protestant Christians want to hold hands with the prosperity gospel or the Roman Catholic Church.  I get ahead of myself.  First, let’s consider today, Beloved, the true humanity of Christ.

Christ’s humanity was a sinless, true, and representative humanity. There are worlds of theology wrapped up in this point, and later we’ll see how it shaped the conflict of the early church for centuries.  From the very first promise of Christ in Genesis 3:15, an actual descendant through mankind was promised and then reaffirmed throughout the numerous prophecies of Christ to come.  Christ’s humanity was real in its physical composure—he possessed a real human body just like ours.  Even when glorified, yet He still possessed true humanity and therefore instructed Thomas to feel His body and see His wounds.  Christ’s humanity was sinless.  He was necessarily born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Ghost in the womb of Mary.  In being born of a virgin, Christ did not receive the sin nature of the fallen Adam but rather was placed in this sin-cursed world similar to Adam’s placement in the Garden—without the motions or desires of sin in His breast.  In every aspect of Christ’s conception, birth, life, and death, He was the sinless and uncorrupted Son of God (1 Peter 1:18).  Christ’s humanity was also a representative humanity, for He was the Second Adam, standing in representative fashion over and for all that He came to save (1 Corinthians 15:45).  Just as in Adam all men die, so in Christ all who are His people are made alive and God the Father sees us therefore perfect because, by the divine operation of the new birth, we are “complete in him” (1 Corinthians 15:22, Colossians 2:10).

Christ’s humanity was a true humanity that required maturation. Here is a most wonderful, comforting, and amazing reality—Christ’s humanity was without sin and “yet learned he obedience by the things he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).  Christ, the Captain of our salvation, was made perfect through the things he suffered (Hebrews 5:9).  Christ submitted Himself to His earthly parents and grew in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).  Christ’s divine nature could need no maturation.  Christ’s true, sinless humanity was real for He grew in the maturity and scope of His human experience as a real, though sinless, member of mankind. How comforting it is to see Jesus grow in this way, for if the Son of God in His human nature may so grow, how familiar is He with my needs as a sinner, redeemed by grace, striving to grow in the knowledge, life, and holiness of God!

Christ’s humanity was a true humanity that was voluntarily submitted to the ills of living in a fallen world. Truly, never a man suffered like our Lord Jesus Christ.  His was a conscience, a mind, an affection untainted with the love of sin and never dulled by the sluggishness that depravity has cast over the spiritual consciousness of our sinful race.  How He was panged by every wrong word, cross spirit, and passionate pursuit of that which spits in the face of God!  Surrounded by such men, how He must have grieved to see men despise the holy character of God, the eternal principles of truth, justice, and purity that are the expression of the unchangeable God!  How marvelous that Christ would leave the bliss of such a place as the glory of heaven for such a place as this, and yet praise God He did so in a completely voluntary submission to all the grief of sin’s presence and all the power if its punishment.  How sweetly mysterious is the free and voluntary statement of Scripture that, amidst all the joys of His Father’s presence, Christ’s delights “were with the sons of men” (Proverbs 8:31).

*image sources: 1, 2, 3