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The Doctrine of Christology

by Christopher Warrington

I BELIEVE in Jesus the Christ, eternal (Jn. 1:1; 8:58) and pre-existent before His voluntary incarnation (Jn. 6:46, 62). He is the second person of the Trinity (Mt. 28:19), sharing glory (Jn. 17:5) as well as being one essence with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (Jn. 5:17; 10:30; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:6). In His incarnation He was fully human (Jn. 1:1-18; 1 Tim. 2:5; 3:16; Phil. 2:7) and fully divine, though He gave up the exercise of His divine attributes (Mt. 20:28; 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:7) while on the earth. These two natures, the human and divine, while fully independent, are fully joined without mixture, change, division or separation (Jn. 17:5; Phil. 2:5-11).

He came to this earth through the power of the Holy Spirit being conceived in the virgin Mary (Mt. 1:18-25; Lk. 1:26-35). He grew into every respect of humanity, except that of sinning. Though His humanity was able to be tempted (Mt. 4:1, Heb. 4:15), He lived a life without sin (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15, 7:26; 1 Jn. 3:5). He took on the role of a servant and was obedient to the will of God the Father (Mt. 26:39; Jn. 8:28-29; Phil. 2:5-8), thus He willingly submitted Himself to death (Mt. 27:50; Mk. 15:37; Lk. 23:46; Jn. 10:17, 19:30; 1 Cor. 15:3) by crucifixion (Jn. 19:17-18). He was then wrapped in a linen shroud and laid in a tomb (Mt. 27:57-61; Mk. 15:42-47; Lk. 23:50-56; Jn. 19:38-42; 1 Cor. 15:4). On the third day, He rose from the dead (Mt. 28:5-6; Mk. 16:5-6; Lk. 24:4-7; Jn. 20:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:4) in a glorified body (Jn. 20:19; 1 Cor. 15:42-44) and appeared to many people (1 Cor. 15:1-8). After a period of forty days, He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:3-9) where He took His exalted seat at the right hand of the Father, full of honor and glory (Acts 7:55-56; Phil. 2:9-10). We currently await His return when He will establish His Kingdom on earth and where He will oversee the judgment of the wicked (Acts 1:10-11; Mt. 25:31-36; Rev. 20:1-15).

I BELIEVE that the work of Jesus is as three offices. The first office is that of prophet. As prophet, Jesus reveals divine truth and the nature of God the Father (Mt. 21:11) and proclaims both judgment (Mt. 11:20-24) and good news (Mt. 13:44). He fulfilled this office before His incarnation (Jn. 1:9; 1 Pet. 1:10-11), during His incarnation (Jn. 14:9, Heb. 1:1-3) and after His ascension, acting through His Church, until His return (Mt. 28:20; Jn. 16:13-15). The second office is that of Exalted King. As Exalted King, Jesus can currently control the natural universe (Col. 1:17) as well as rule over all of creation (Ps. 45:6-7; Heb. 1:8; Mt. 19:28). He is the head of the Church (Col. 1:18) and one day will return to fully establish His kingdom on earth (Phil. 2:9-11). The third office is that of High Priest. As the High Priest, Jesus helps reconcile humanity to God the Father (2 Cor. 5:18) through His sacrifice on the cross (1 Jn. 2:2; 1 Tim. 4:10) and His intercession for our sanctification (Heb. 7:25; 9:24) and for when we continue to sin (Heb 7:25; 1 Jn. 1:8-9; 2:1; 1 Cor. 1:30).

I BELIEVE that this final office of High Priest is where He performed His atoning work for humanity; this is the basis for God’s gracious work in Jesus Christ. I BELIEVE that it is because of human depravity that Jesus Christ suffered and died to atone for the sins of the human race (Rom. 3:23). Through our depravity we were condemned to spiritual death (Rom. 6:23) and we were/are incapable and unwilling to turn to God by our own ability (1 Cor. 2:14). Because of the grace and love of God the Father, Jesus Christ voluntarily died to provide a solution for our salvation (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8). This voluntary sacrifice was vicarious and substitutionary because He who had no sin, took the place of all guilty humans and bore our punishment instead (Is. 53:5-6; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13). This was a penal atonement satisfying God the Father’s justice and wrath (Lev. 16:15-16; 1 Cor. 5:7; Eph. 5:2) on all that accept the gift of salvation (Jn 3:16).

I BELIEVE the results of the atonement are: 1 - propitiation, or a covering over of human sinfulness to satisfy God’s wrath (1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10), 2 - redemption, or the ransom price being paid (Mk. 10:45; Rom. 3:24-25), 3 - reconciliation, or a bridge over the gap separating sinful humans from a holy God (Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18-19), and 4 - justification, or a state of declared righteousness before God based on Christ’s righteousness. I BELIEVE that the intent of the atonement was to be universal (1 Tim. 4:10; 1 Jn. 2:2) though the extent is only as far as to those that exercise faith in Jesus Christ (Jn 3:16; Acts 16:31; Eph. 2:8-9), not to those that walk away from the faith (1 Ti 4:1).

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