Truly knowing Christ sometimes feels a bit out of reach for most of us. If you’ve stepped into any Bible-preaching church in your life, you’ve been told to trust Christ, live like Christ lived, and obey him.
But where to start and what does knowing Christ look like can be a huge unanswered question. One of the most helpful places to begin knowing Christ is with understanding what he has done for you.
As you strive to follow Christ, here are a few helpful facts to get you started.
Jesus was fully human
Jesus had a human body and “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom” just as we do. He experienced human feelings and needs such as thirst, exhaustion, hunger, and sadness. He also rose from the dead in a physical, human body. This resurrected body was perfect and no longer suffered from human weaknesses, diseases, or death. In this perfect body, Jesus ascended into heaven. This perfect resurrected body is a reflection of the kind of body we will have one day when Christ returns.
Though Jesus was fully man, he was also fully God and was without sin. He never once committed a sin. Jesus himself made this claim when he stated he was the light of the world. With this statement, Jesus claims he is the source of truth, moral purity, and holiness in the world, and in him, there is no sin.
Why Is It Important that Jesus was Fully Human?
First, mankind needed a representative who could obey God where Adam had disobeyed. Romans 5:18-19 states, “one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous”.
Second, mankind needed a substitute to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus could not have done that if he was not fully human. By becoming fully human, he was able to become the propitiation for us.
Third, Jesus was fully human in order to become the one mediator between God and men. In order to fulfill this role, Jesus had to be fully God and fully man.
In addition, Jesus’ humanity fulfilled God’s original purpose for man to rule over creation, gave us an example and pattern for our life, and became the pattern for what our bodies will be like at the resurrection.
Finally, because Jesus “has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted”. Because he was fully man, he knows by experience what we will walk through and so can sympathize more fully with us.
Jesus was also Fully Divine
Isaiah 9:6 introduces us to the fact that Jesus will be born a child but will be called “mighty God”. Luke 2:11 confirms this declaration of the incarnation of Christ when the angels appear to the shepherds and state, “For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The word “Lord” used throughout the New Testament clearly shows that Jesus is also God, the creator and sustainer of heaven and earth.
In addition to statements in scripture about his deity, Jesus’ actions also clearly showed he was God. Instances where he calmed the storms, multiplied the loaves and fish, changed water into wine, rose Lazarus from the dead, knew people’s thoughts, and spoke with the authority of God all clearly show he is fully God.
Christ is one of the persons of the Trinity.
He is not simply just a human nature added to the divine nature. Jesus is the second person of the Trinity. He serves as our mediator as he takes on the work of our salvation through the office of prophet and of priest and king. Through all of these, Jesus is able to reconcile us to God.
It is important that Jesus was fully divine in order to be able to bear the full weight of the wrath of God and pay the full penalty for all the sins of those who believe in him. Also, salvation belongs to God so if Christ was not fully God, he would not have been able to offer us salvation. This fact that Jesus was both fully man and fully God is a mystery and a miracle but is vital to believe.
The work Christ did in his life and death to earn our salvation is called the atonement.
Because God both loved the world and also is a just God, the atonement was necessary in order to pay the penalty for our sins. Christ became this propitiation, or sacrifice, that bore God’s wrath so we could be reconciled to God.
Christ both obeyed God and suffered on our behalf in order to achieve this atonement. His death was the penal substitution needed to pay the penalty of sin for all who would believe in him. Christ’s victory through his life and death ushered in the Kingdom of God although the full extent of the kingdom has not yet arrived.
After Christ’s death on the cross, he was resurrected and appeared to many.
At his resurrection, Christ’s body was the “first fruits” of a new kind of human body that was made perfect. His resurrected body was no longer subject to weakness, disease, or death but it was a fully physical body. Christ’s resurrection gives believers assurance of a new birth, a perfect resurrected body, justification, and hope in the eternal reality. Divinity, humanity, and salvation all come together in Christ.
Knowing Christ and understanding the person and work of Christ are important as you strive to follow after him. Take some time to reflect on all he has done for you and then begin following him with your life. Making an effort and truly knowing Christ will be the best decision you’ve made,
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