Monday, August 29, 2011

Christ's Nature, Part Two.

OK, I have waited too long for this! :-) I will try to put together a simple, straightforward study here. I have struggled long and hard over this issue, become confused, and almost completely changed how I view this issue. This can be a very confusing topic at times, but with the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, we cannot fail.
So, here it is!

Did Christ have our nature, or Adam's unfallen nature? I have seen what appeared to be convincing arguments on both sides. So, I will let the Spirit of Prophecy answer this question! Let's look at this quote. “Christ’s perfect humanity is the same that we may have through connection with Christ. As God, Christ could not be tempted any more than He was not tempted from His allegiance in heaven. But as Christ humbled Himself to our nature, He could be tempted. He had not taken on Him even the nature of the angels, but humanity, perfectly identical with our own nature, except without the taint of sin. . . . Here the test to Christ was far greater than that of Adam and Eve, for Christ took our nature, fallen but not corrupted, and would not be corrupted unless He received the words of Satan in the place of the words of God.”—Manuscript 57, 1890 (Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, pp. 180-183). I guess you couldn't get much closer than perfectly identical! Now, if you believe that Christ had Adam's unfallen nature, you might be thinking, 'Well, it said except without the taint of sin.' True! But I will ask you a question. When Enoch was translated, did he have a taint of sin? How about Moses? Or Elijah? God can't translate someone who is sinning! So I can't see a difference there either. How about you? And notice, this quote is not talking about physical nature, this is the complete thing, not a physical/spiritual hybrid. In fact, it is clear to me that this is talking about the spiritual, as it is talking about Christ being tempted. Let's look at another quote. “He took upon his sinless nature our sinful nature, that He might know how to succor those that are tempted.”--Medical Ministry, p. 181. {7ABC 450.5} From the last two quotes, we see that Christ had our fallen, sinful nature. This is hard to understand sometimes, but remember that Christ was sinless. We can be too! (see the beginning of the first quote). Friends, I find it refreshing to know that Christ overcame in our nature! Praise God! We have a Savior that was tempted just like us, with our same nature. What hope this gives us! Here is another quote. “Clad in the vestments of humanity, the Son of God came down to the level of those He wished to save. In Him was no guile or sinfulness; He was ever pure and undefiled; yet He took upon Him our sinful nature. Clothing His divinity with humanity, that He might associate with fallen humanity, He sought to regain for man that which, by disobedience, Adam had lost for himself and for the world. In His own character He displayed to the world the character of God.”--The Review and Herald, Dec. 15, 1896. {7ABC 452.6} Again we see that Christ had our sinful nature. Sinful, in that He did not exercise power to overcome sin on His own, but relied upon the Father. If this was not so, why did He spend whole nights in prayer? If He did not need to do this, did He do it just for show? Adam did not need to spend nights in prayer, to overcome sin. There is a belief that Jesus had the same nature as Adam, before the fall, He just had more “trees” to be tempted at, and that He had our physical infirmities. Still, how could this be? Adam did not have to pray every time he passed the tree of knowledge, that he would not eat of it. God had given him the power to do this at creation. He did not need grace. We do! Grace empowers us to live sinless lives, we need grace because we do not have this power. How do I know this? “Men need to learn that the blessings of obedience, in their fullness, can be theirs only as they receive the grace of Christ. It is His grace that gives man power to obey the laws of God. It is this that enables him to break the bondage of evil habit. This is the only power that can make him and keep him steadfast in the right path.” {MH 115.1} So here we see that we cannot obey without grace. Did Adam need grace? “We would never have learned the meaning of this word "grace" had we not fallen. God loves the sinless angels who do His service and are obedient to all His commands, but He does not give them grace. These heavenly beings know naught of grace; they have never needed it, for they have never sinned. Grace is an attribute of God shown to undeserving human beings. We did not seek after it, but it was sent in search of us. God rejoices to bestow this grace on everyone who hungers for it, not because we are worthy, but because we are so utterly unworthy. Our need is the qualification which gives us the assurance that we will receive this gift.” {ML 100.2} Now, for the clincher. Christ needed grace! Look at this quote: “To the consecrated worker there is wonderful consolation in the knowledge that even Christ during His life on earth sought His Father daily for fresh supplies of needed grace; and from this communion with God He went forth to strengthen and bless others. Behold the Son of God bowed in prayer to His Father! Though He is the Son of God, He strengthens His faith by prayer, and by communion with heaven gathers to Himself power to resist evil and to minister to the needs of men. As the Elder Brother of our race He knows the necessities of those who, compassed with infirmity and living in a world of sin and temptation, still desire to serve Him. He knows that the messengers whom He sees fit to send are weak, erring men; but to all who give themselves wholly to His service He promises divine aid. His own example is an assurance that earnest, persevering supplication to God in faith--faith that leads to entire dependence upon God, and unreserved consecration to His work--will avail to bring to men the Holy Spirit's aid in the battle against sin.” {AA 56.1} Well, that settles it for me. I can only see one way, from God's word, and that is that Christ had our exact same nature, He overcame like we must overcome, and no differently. Praise God! He was in all points tempted like as we are! And overcame! How about us? Will we overcome? This is the question I will end with. Christ has given us all the power we need, through His grace. Will we claim it, today? By the way, I would love to hear your comments on this issue! Let me know what you think!
God bless, as we strive to enter the strait gate!
Your friend and brother in Christ,

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you. Have you ever heard of J.W. "Bill" Lehman? His book Christ our Righteousness has the best explanation of this topic of any I've seen. In a nutshell, we experience more than one birth right? Our physical birth and our re-birth at conversion. At conversion our desires become one with God's desires and yet we must still fight the instincts of our natural flesh. I believe that Jesus was "born converted" as it were. His desires were one with God but He very much had the same flesh to deal with as any of us do.
    If He didn't struggle with sin how could He have ever met Satan's accusations? Satan would have been all over Him saying, "How on EARTH do you expect these sinful people to overcome and live spotless lives if you yourself can't even do it?? See?! God IS unfair!!"
    But Satan can't even begin to accuse Him because He was tempted just as we are...
    I'll stop preaching now, :-) but you're right on brother. Thanks for sharing!