Human Nature of Christ

By Ray Foster

 

Outline

1. Advantages which are the Privilege of Sinful Man

2. Complete Humanity

3. His Human Nature was Created, Identical with Our Own

4. He Was Not Like All Children

Christ did Not Possess the Same Sinful, Corrupt, Fallen Disloyalty We Possess

He Took the Nature but Not the Sinfulness of Man

5. He Took Man’s Fallen Nature

6. Fullness of the Godhead

7. Our Nature

Divinity and Humanity Combined/United in Christ

Christ’s Obedience Not Altogether Different From Ours

Satan Declared That Man Could Not Keep God's Law

Humanity Can Keep God's Law by Divine Power

The Holy Spirit Enables Us to Be Victorious

Christ Overcame Sin as a Man

Our Example and Sacrifice for Sin

He Disproved Satan's Claim

He Stood the Test as a True Human Being

Jesus Showed What a Man Could Do, Not What a God Could Do

How We Are to Serve God

Most Severe Discipline

Christ had a Human Body and a Human Mind

His Attributes May Be Ours

Two Natures Not Blended in Christ

His Humanity, Perfectly Identical with Our Own Nature, but no Taint of Sin

His Garment of Human Flesh was Rent

Painful Process—Assumed Humanity—Severe Abasement

Angelic Family – Higher Nature than Christ’s Humanity

Two Natures

Divinity and Humanity Mysteriously Combined

Human Nature Existed in the Divine Nature

Took our Nature in its Deteriorated Condition

8. Second Adam

9. Sinful Nature

10. Conclusions

1. Advantages which are the Privilege of Sinful Man

Christ came to the world to meet the wily foe, and to dispute his claim of sovereignty over the earth. He came to the world as a man, veiling his majesty and glory, clothing his divinity with humanity, in order that he might not extinguish the sinful race, but stand where man stood, to endure the temptations under which Adam failed. He became the substitute and surety for the fallen world, and submitted to every test that could be brought to bear upon his loyalty to God. He had only the advantages in the battle which are the privilege of fallen man. He was tempted in all points like as we are, but he met Satan with the weapon of God's word, saying, "It is written." {YI, October 10, 1895 par. 3}

2. Complete Humanity

Taken from ST article, June 17, 1897, entitled "The Life and Light of Men".

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not. . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth." These ringing words come sounding down the line to our time. They are full of assurance; for John meant every word that he uttered. Inspired by God, these words possess a power that none can estimate who does not believe in Christ as his personal Saviour. They have a deep meaning, and a broad compass, and are eternal truth to all who believe them. {ST, June 17, 1897 par. 1}

John is calling the attention of the world to Christ as the life and light of men. Life and light, possessed by no other being that has ever breathed, are found in Christ. A human being lives, but his is a given life, a life that will be quenched. {ST, June 17, 1897 par. 2}

"What is your life? It is even vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." But Christ's life is not a vapor; it is never-ending, a life existing before the worlds were made.{ST, June 17, 1897 par. 3}

Adam was a created being, dependent upon the tree of life for his existence. Through his disobedience, he forfeited the precious privilege of eating of this tree, which was to perpetuate the life breathed into him by God, and for which he was dependent on God. After disobeying God, the precious gifts and endowments which he derived from God were no more his. Adam's disobedience to God's commands brought the human family under the death penalty. "In Adam all die," and eternal death, not eternal life, is the final punishment of all who continue in transgression. {ST, June 17, 1897 par. 4}

But Christ said, "I will take the penalty of Adam's transgression." In Eden the first Gospel sermon was preached. God said to the serpent, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." {ST, June 17, 1897 par. 5}

And "when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, . . . to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Christ died in behalf of the human family, giving men a probation, that they might have opportunity to see the evil of sin, and to choose as their leader, either the apostate who was expelled from heaven, or the Prince of Life, who gave himself as an atoning sacrifice, that all might return to their loyalty.{ST, June 17, 1897 par. 6}

Christ's suffering and death have placed life in and through him upon an eternal basis of security. He took human nature. He became flesh even as we are. He was oft hungry, thirsty, and weary. He was sustained by food, and refreshed by sleep. He had natural affection; for we see him weeping in sympathy with the sorrows of others, and lamenting over the retribution coming upon Jerusalem because of her impenitence. While in this world, Christ lived a life of complete humanity in order that he might stand as a representative of the human family. He was tempted in all points like as we are, that he might be able to succor them that are tempted. As the Prince of Life in human flesh, he met the prince of darkness, and, passing over the ground where Adam fell, he endured every test that Adam failed to endure. Every temptation that could be brought against fallen humanity, he met and overcame. {ST, June 17, 1897 par. 7}

Had he not been fully human, Christ could not have been our substitute. He could not have worked out in humanity that perfection of character which it is the privilege of all to reach. He was the light and the life of the world. He came to this earth to work in behalf of men, that they might no longer be under the control of Satanic agencies. But while bearing human nature, he was dependent upon the Omnipotent for his life. In his humanity, he laid hold of the divinity of God; and this every member of the human family has the privilege of doing. Christ did nothing that human nature may not do if it partakes of the divine nature. {ST, June 17, 1897 par. 8}

As children of the first Adam, we partake of the dying nature of Adam. But through the imparted life of Christ, man has been given opportunity to win back again the lost gift of life, and to stand in his original position before God, a partaker of the divine nature. "As many as received him," writes John, "to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." "I am come," said Christ, "that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." {ST, June 17, 1897 par. 15}

"As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." And the life which Christ offers us is more perfect, more full, and more complete than was the life which Adam forfeited by transgression. - {ST, June 17, 1897 par. 16}

3. His Human Nature was Created, Identical with our Own

In your letter in regard to the temptations of Christ, you say: "If He was One with God He could not fall." . . . The point you inquire of me is, In our Lord's great scene of conflict in the wilderness, apparently under the power of Satan and his angels, was He capable, in His human nature, of yielding to these temptations? {3SM 129.2}

I will try to answer this important question: As God He could not be tempted: but as a man He could be tempted, and that strongly, and could yield to the temptations. His human nature must pass through the same test and trial Adam and Eve passed through. His human nature was created; it did not even possess the angelic powers. It was human, identical with our own. He was passing over the ground where Adam fell. He was now where, if He endured the test and trial in behalf of the fallen race, He would redeem Adam's disgraceful failure and fall, in our own humanity. {3SM 129.3}

4. He was Not Like all Children

It is not correct to say, as many writers have said, that Christ was like all children. He was not like all children. Many children are misguided and mismanaged. But Joseph, and especially Mary, kept before them the remembrance of their child's divine Fatherhood. Jesus was instructed in accordance with the sacred character of His mission. His

inclination to right was a constant gratification to His parents. The questions He asked them led them to study most earnestly the great elements of truth. His soul-stirring words about nature and the God of nature opened and enlightened their minds. {5BC 1116.7}

[Luke 2:40 quoted.] He was an example of what all children may strive to be if parents will seek the Lord most earnestly, and if children will cooperate with their parents. In His words and actions He manifested tender sympathy for all. His companionship was as a healing, soothing balm to the disheartened and depressed. {5BC 1117.2}

No one, looking upon the childlike countenance, shining with animation, could say that Christ was just like other children. He was God in human flesh. When urged by His companions to do wrong, divinity flashed through humanity, and He refused decidedly. In a moment He distinguished between right and wrong, and placed sin in the light of God's commands, holding up the law as a mirror which reflected light upon wrong. It was this keen discrimination between right and wrong that often provoked Christ's brothers to anger. Yet His appeals and entreaties, and the sorrow expressed in His countenance, revealed such a tender, earnest love for them that they were ashamed of having tempted Him to deviate from His strict sense of justice and loyalty (YI Sept. 8, 1898). {5BC 1117.3}

 

Christ did Not Possess the Same Sinful, Corrupt, Fallen Disloyalty We Possess.—

Through being partakers of the divine nature we may stand pure and holy and undefiled. The Godhead was not made human, and the human was not deified by the blending together of the two natures. Christ did not possess the same sinful, corrupt, fallen disloyalty we possess, for then He could not be a perfect offering.--Manuscript 94, 1893. {3SM 131.1}

The human nature of Christ was like unto ours, and suffering was more keenly felt by him; for his spiritual nature was free from every taint of sin. Therefore his desire for the removal of suffering was stronger than human beings can experience. How intense was the desire of the humanity of Christ to escape the displeasure of an offended God, how his soul longed for relief, is revealed in the words, "O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." {ST, December 9, 1897 par. 4}

He Took the Nature but Not the Sinfulness of Man

Adam and Eve were given a probation in which to return to their allegiance; and in this plan of benevolence all their posterity were embraced. After the fall, Christ became Adam's instructor. He acted in God's stead toward humanity, saving the race from immediate death. He took upon Him the work of mediator between God and man. In the fulness of time He was to be revealed in human form. He was to take His position at the head of humanity by taking the nature but not the sinfulness of man. In heaven was heard the voice, "The Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord." {ST, May 29, 1901 par. 11}

 5. He Took Man’s Fallen Nature

What love! What amazing condescension! The King of glory proposed to humble himself to fallen humanity! He would place his feet in Adam's steps. He would take man's fallen nature and engage to cope with the strong foe who triumphed over Adam. He would overcome Satan, and in thus doing he would open the way for the redemption of those who would believe on him from the disgrace of Adam's failure and fall. {RH, February 24, 1874 par. 25}

6. Fullness of the Godhead

Jesus said, "I and my Father are one." He speaks of Himself as well as the Father when He speaks of omnipotent power, and claims for Himself perfect righteousness. In Christ dwelt the fulness of the Godhead bodily. This is why, although tempted in all points like as we are, He stood before the world untainted by the corruptions that surrounded Him. We also are to become partakers of that fulness, and only in this way shall we be enabled to overcome as Christ overcame. {BEcho, November 1, 1892 par. 8}

7. Our Nature

What a love it is that appeals to fallen men! "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." God showed his love for us by adopting our nature, in the person of his Son. God himself inhabited humanity, making us partakers of the divine nature, that by the incarnation and death of his only begotten Son, our adoption as heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ might be fully accomplished. The origin of this wonderful achievement was his own spontaneous love. {YI, December 16, 1897 par. 3}

The nature which Christ had taken upon himself he was now almost ready to carry on high, even to the throne of God. In so doing, he conferred on the human race an honor which we fail to estimate. Even the heavenly angels are not so honored. {YI, December 16, 1897 par. 4}

The Son of God was assaulted at every step by the powers of darkness. After His baptism He was driven of the Spirit into the wilderness, and suffered temptation for forty days. Letters have been coming in to me, affirming that Christ could not have had the same nature as man, for if He had, He would have fallen under similar temptations. If He did not have man's nature, He could not be our example. If He was not a partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man has been. If it were not possible for Him to yield to temptation, He could not be our helper. It was a solemn reality that Christ came to fight the battles as man, in man's behalf. His temptation and victory tell us that humanity must copy the Pattern; man must become a partaker of the divine nature. {1SM 408.1}

 Divinity and Humanity Combined/United in Christ

In Christ, divinity and humanity were combined. Divinity was not degraded to humanity; divinity held its place, but humanity by being united to divinity withstood the fiercest test of temptation in the wilderness. The prince of this world came to Christ after His long fast, when He was an hungered, and suggested to Him to command the stones to become bread. But the plan of God, devised for the salvation of man, provided that Christ should know hunger, and poverty, and every phase of man's experience. He withstood the temptation, through the power that man may command. He laid hold on the throne of God, and there is not a man or woman who may not have access to the same help through faith in God. Man may become a partaker of the divine nature; not a soul lives who may not summon the aid of Heaven in temptation and trial. Christ came to reveal the source of His power, that man might never rely on his unaided human capabilities. {1SM 408.2}

Christ took upon Himself the nature of humanity, to make it possible for Him to suffer and to die as a propitiation for the sins of the fallen race. Through His merits repentant sinners may unite with divinity. His they are by creation and by redemption. "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."{18MR 163.3}

How is it that He is pleading, "I know all the evils and temptations with which you are beset, and I sent My Son Jesus Christ to your world to reveal to you My power, My mightiness; to reveal to you that I am God, and that I will give you help in order to lift you from the power of the enemy, and give you a chance that you might win back the moral image of God." God sent His Son, who was as Himself, one with the Father, and He bore insult and shame and mockery for us, and suffered at last the ignominious death upon Calvary. Satan met Him with opposition just as soon as He came into the world; but He met it all; He did not swerve a bit. Had it not been for the power that God gave Him, He could not have stood the assaults of the enemy; but He did, and although He had him to meet at every step, and was pressed step by step, yet here was the battle fought in this world with the powers of darkness. {1888 122.2}

We are not to be so overwhelmed with the thought of our sins and errors that we shall cease to pray. Some realize their great weakness and sin, and become discouraged. Satan casts his dark shadow between them and the Lord Jesus, their atoning sacrifice. They say, It is useless for me to pray. My prayers are so mingled with evil thoughts that the Lord will not hear them. {HP 78.3}

These suggestions are from Satan. In His humanity Christ met and resisted this temptation, and He knows how to succor those who are thus tempted. In our behalf, He "offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears" (Heb. 5:7). {HP 78.4}

The human family have all the help that Christ had in their conflicts with Satan. They need not be overcome. They may be more than conquerors through Him who has loved them and given His life for them. "Ye are bought with a price" (1 Cor. 6:20). And what a price! The Son of God in His humanity wrestled with the very same fierce, apparently overwhelming temptations that assail men-- temptations to indulgence of appetite, to presumptuous venturing where God has not led them, and to the worship of the god of this world, to sacrifice an eternity of bliss for the fascinating pleasures of this life. Everyone will be tempted, but the Word declares that we shall not be tempted above our ability to bear. We may resist and defeat the wily foe.{1SM 95.3}

Christ's Obedience Not Altogether Different From Ours.

The great teacher came into our world, not only to atone for sin but to be a teacher both by precept and example. He came to show man how to keep the law in humanity, so that man might have no excuse for following his own defective judgment. We see Christ's obedience. His life was without sin. His lifelong obedience is a reproach to disobedient humanity. The obedience of Christ is not to be put aside as altogether different from the obedience He requires of us individually. Christ has shown us that it is possible for all humanity to obey the laws of God. . . . {3SM 135.2}

The work of Christ was not a divided heart service. Christ came not to do His own will but the will of Him that sent Him. Jesus says, "Step in the footprints of my Sonship in all obedience. I obey as in partnership with the great firm. You are to obey as in co-partnership with the Son of God. Often you will not see the path clearly; then ask of God, and He will give you wisdom and courage and faith to move forward, leaving all issues with Him." We want to comprehend so far as possible the truly human nature of our Lord. The divine and human were linked in Christ, and both were complete. {3SM 135.3}

Our Saviour took up the true relationship of a human being as the Son of God. We are sons and daughters of God. In order to know how to behave ourselves circumspectly, we must follow where Christ leads the way. For thirty years He lived the life of a perfect man, meeting the highest standard of perfection. Then let man, however imperfect, hope in God, saying not, "If I were of a different disposition I would serve God," but bring himself to Him in true service. . . . That nature has been redeemed by Me. "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12)--you are not degraded, but raised, ennobled, refined by Me. You can find refuge in Me. You can obtain victory and be more than conquerors in My name.--Letter 69, 1897. {3SM 135.4}

Satan Declared That Man Could Not Keep God's Law

The world's Redeemer passed over the ground where Adam fell because of his disobeying the expressed law of Jehovah; and the only begotten Son of God came to our world as a man, to reveal to the world that men could keep the law of God. Satan, the fallen angel, had declared that no man could keep the law of God after the disobedience of Adam. He claimed the whole race under his control. {3SM 136.1}

The Son of God placed Himself in the sinner's stead, and passed over the ground where Adam fell, and endured the temptation in the wilderness, which was a hundredfold stronger than was or ever will be brought to bear upon the human race. Jesus resisted the temptations of Satan in the same manner that every tempted soul may resist, by referring him to the inspired record and saying, "It is written." {3SM 136.2}

 

Humanity Can Keep God's Law by Divine Power.--Christ overcame the temptations of Satan as a man. Every man may overcome as Christ overcame. He humbled Himself for us. He was tempted in all points like as we are. He redeemed Adam's disgraceful failure and fall, and was conqueror, thus testifying to all the unfallen worlds and to fallen humanity that man could keep the commandments of God through the divine power granted to him of heaven. Jesus the Son of God humbled Himself for us, endured temptation for us, overcame in our behalf to show us how we may overcome. He has thus bound up His interests with humanity by the closest ties, and has given the positive assurance that we shall not be tempted above that we are able, for with the temptation He will make a way of escape. {3SM 136.3}

 

The Holy Spirit Enables Us to Be Victorious.-- The Holy Spirit was promised to be with those who were wrestling for victory, in demonstration of all mightiness, endowing the human agent with supernatural powers, and instructing the ignorant in the mysteries of the kingdom of God. That the Holy Spirit is to be the grand helper, is a wonderful promise. Of what avail would it have been to us that the only begotten Son of God had humbled Himself, endured the temptations of the wily foe, and wrestled with him during His entire life on earth, and died the Just for the unjust that humanity might not perish, if the Spirit had not been given as a constant, working, regenerating agent to make effectual in our cases what has been wrought out by the world's Redeemer? {3SM 137.1}

The imparted Holy Spirit enabled His disciples, the apostles, to stand firmly against every species of idolatry and to exalt the Lord and Him alone. Who, but Jesus Christ by His Spirit and divine power, guided the pens of the sacred historians that to the world might be presented the precious record of the sayings and works of Jesus Christ? {3SM 137.2}

The promised Holy Spirit, whom He would send after He ascended to His Father, is constantly at work to draw the attention to the great official sacrifice upon the cross of Calvary, and to unfold to the world the love of God to man, and to open to the convicted soul the precious things in the Scriptures, and to open to darkened minds the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, the truths that make their hearts burn within them with the awakened intelligence of the truths of eternity. {3SM 137.3}

Who but the Holy Spirit presents before the mind the moral standard of righteousness and convinces of sin, and produces godly sorrow which worketh repentance that needeth not to be repented of, and inspires the exercise of faith in Him who alone can save from all sin.{3SM 137.4}

Who but the Holy Spirit can work with human minds to transform character by withdrawing the affections from those things which are temporal, perishable, and imbues the soul with earnest desire by presenting the immortal inheritance, the eternal substance which is imperishable, and recreates, refines, and sanctifies the human agents that they may become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly king. . . . {3SM 138.1}

 

Christ Overcame Sin as a Man.-- The fall of our first parents broke the golden chain of implicit obedience of the human will to the divine. Obedience has no longer been deemed an absolute necessity. The human agents follow their own imaginations, which the Lord said of the inhabitants of the old world were evil and that continually. The Lord Jesus declares, I have kept My Father's commandments. How? As a man. Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. To the accusations of the Jews He stood forth in His pure, virtuous, holy character and challenged them, "Who of you convinceth me of sin?" {3SM 138.2}

 

Our Example and Sacrifice for Sin.--The world's Redeemer came not only to be a sacrifice for sin but to be an example to man in all things, a holy, human character. He was a Teacher, such an educator as the world never saw or heard before. He spake as one having authority, and yet He invites the confidence of all. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30). {3SM 138.3}

The only begotten Son of the infinite God has, by His words [and], His practical example left us a plain pattern which we are to copy. By His words He has educated us to obey God, and by His own practice He has showed us how we can obey God.

{3SM 138.4}

Not only did Christ give explicit rules showing how we may become obedient children but He showed us in His own life and character just how to do those things which are right and acceptable with God, so there is no excuse why we should not do those things which are pleasing in His sight. {3SM 139.1}

 

He Disproved Satan's Claim.--We are ever to be thankful that Jesus has proved to us by actual facts that man can keep the commandments of God, giving contradiction to Satan's falsehood that man cannot keep them. The Great Teacher came to our world to stand at the head of humanity, to thus elevate and sanctify humanity by His holy obedience to all of God's requirements showing it is possible to obey all the commandments of God. He has demonstrated that a lifelong obedience is possible. Thus He gives chosen, representative men to the world, as the Father gave the Son, to exemplify in their life the life of Jesus Christ.{3SM 139.2}

 

He Stood the Test as a True Human Being.--We need not place the obedience of Christ by itself as something for which He was particularly adapted, by His particular divine nature, for He stood before God as man's representative and tempted as man's substitute and surety. If Christ had a special power which it is not the privilege of man to have, Satan would have made capital of this matter. The work of Christ was to take from the claims of Satan his control of man, and He could do this only in the way that He came--a man, tempted as a man, rendering the obedience of a man. . . . {3SM 139.3}

Bear in mind that Christ's overcoming and obedience is that of a true human being. In our conclusions, we make many mistakes because of our erroneous views of the human nature of our Lord. When we give to His human nature a power that it is not possible for man to have in his conflicts with Satan, we destroy the completeness of His humanity. His imputed grace and power He gives to all who receive Him by faith. The obedience of Christ to His Father was the same obedience that is required of man. {3SM 139.4}

Man cannot overcome Satan's temptations without divine power to combine with His instrumentality. So with Jesus Christ, He could lay hold of divine power. He came not to our world to give the obedience of a lesser God to a greater, but as a man to obey God's Holy Law, and in this way He is our example. {3SM 140.1}

 

Jesus Showed What Man Could Do.--The Lord Jesus came to our world, not to reveal what a God could do, but what a man could do, through faith in God's power to help in every emergency. Man is, through faith, to be a partaker in the divine nature, and to overcome every temptation wherewith he is beset. The Lord now demands that every son and daughter of Adam through faith in Jesus Christ, serve Him in [the] human nature which we now have.{3SM 140.2}

The Lord Jesus has bridged the gulf that sin has made. He has connected earth with heaven, and finite man with the infinite God. Jesus, the world's Redeemer, could only keep the commandments of God in the same way that humanity can keep them. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4). . . . {3SM 140.3}

We must practice the example of Christ, bearing in mind His Sonship and His humanity. It was not God that was tempted in the wilderness, nor a God that was to endure the contradiction of sinners against Himself. It was the Majesty of heaven who became a man-- humbled Himself to our human nature. {3SM 140.4}

 

How We Are to Serve God.--We are not to serve God as if we were not human, but we are to serve Him in the nature we have, that has been redeemed by the Son of God; through the righteousness of Christ we shall stand before God pardoned, and as though we had never sinned. We will never gain strength in considering what we might do if we were angels. We are to turn in faith to Jesus Christ, and show our love to God through obedience to His commands. Jesus "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Jesus says, "Follow me." "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."-- Manuscript 1, 1892. {3SM 140.5}

Most Severe Discipline

To keep His glory veiled as the child of a fallen race, this was the most severe discipline to which the Prince of life could subject Himself. Thus He measured His strength with

Satan. He who had been expelled from heaven fought desperately for the mastery over the One of whom in the courts above he had been jealous. What a battle was this! No language is adequate to describe it. But in the near future it will be understood by those who have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony (Letter 19, 1901). {5BC 1081.8} And as they learn what it means to overcome, they will endure the seeing of Him who is invisible. {21MR 271.4}

Christ Had a Human Body and a Human Mind.

A human body and a human mind were His. He was bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. He was subjected to poverty from His first entrance into the world. He was subject to disappointment and trial in His own home, among His own brethren. He was not surrounded, as in the heavenly courts, with pure and lovely characters. He was compassed with difficulties. He came into our world to maintain a pure, sinless character, and to refute Satan's lie that it was not possible for human beings to keep the law of God. Christ came to live the law in His human character in just that way in which all may live the law in human nature if they will do as Christ was doing. He had inspired holy men of old to write for the benefit of man: "Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me" (Isaiah 27:5). {3SM 129.4}

Abundant provision has been made that finite, fallen man may so connect with God that, through the same Source by which Christ overcame in His human nature, he may stand firmly against every temptation, as did Christ. He was subject to inconveniences that human nature is subjected to. He breathed the air of the same world we breathe. He stood and traveled in the same world we inhabit, which, we have positive evidence, was no more friendly to grace and righteousness than it is today. {3SM 130.1}

 

His Attributes May Be Ours.--The higher attributes of His being it is our privilege to have, if we will, through the provisions He has made, appropriate these blessings and diligently cultivate the good in the place of the evil. We have reason, conscience, memory, will, affections--all the attributes a human being can possess. Through the provision made when God and the Son of God made a covenant to rescue man from the bondage of Satan, every facility was provided that human nature should come into union with His divine nature. In such a nature was our Lord tempted. He could have yielded to Satan's lying suggestions as did Adam, but we should adore and glorify the Lamb of God that He did not in a single point yield one jot or one tittle. {3SM 130.2}

 

Two Natures Not Blended in Christ.--Through being partakers of the divine nature we may stand pure and holy and undefiled. The Godhead was not made human, and the human was not deified by the blending together of the two natures. Christ did not possess the same sinful, corrupt, fallen disloyalty we possess, for then He could not be a perfect offering.--Manuscript 94, 1893. {3SM 131.1}

Humanity, Perfectly Identical with our own Nature, Except Without the Taint of Sin

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 the nature of man, 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. A human body, a human mind, with all the peculiar properties, He was bone, brain, and muscle. A man of our flesh, He was compassed with the weakness of humanity. The circumstances of His life were of that character that He was exposed to all the inconveniences that belong to men, not in wealth, not in ease, but in poverty and want and humiliation. He breathed the very air man must breathe. He trod our earth as man. He had reason, conscience, memory, will, and affections of the human soul which was united with His divine nature.--16MR 181, 182. {Truth about Angels 157.1}

His Garment of Human Flesh was Rent

Christ mourned for the transgression of every human being. He bore even the guiltiness of Caiaphas, knowing the hypocrisy that dwelt in his soul, while for pretense he rent his robe. Christ did not rend his robe, but his soul was rent. His garment of human flesh was rent as he hung on the cross, the sin-bearer of the race. By his suffering and death a new and living way was opened. There is no longer a wall of partition between Jew and Gentile. "By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." This enabled him to proclaim on the cross, with a clear and triumphant voice, "It is finished." "Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with the blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." "This man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God." Christ entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." He has qualified himself to be not only man's representative, but his advocate, so that every soul, if he will, may say, I have a Friend at court, a High Priest who is touched with the feeling of my infirmities. {RH, June 12, 1900 par. 16}

 Painful Process-Assumed Humanity-Severe Debasement

Christ, at an infinite cost, by a painful process, mysterious to angels as well as to men, assumed humanity. Hiding His divinity, laying aside His glory, He was born a babe in Bethlehem. In human flesh He lived the law of God, that He might condemn sin in the flesh, and bear witness to heavenly intelligences that the law was ordained to life and to ensure the happiness, peace, and eternal good of all who obey. . . . {UL 90.2}

This is the mystery of godliness, that One equal with the Father should clothe His divinity with humanity, and laying aside all the glory of His office as Commander in heaven, [should] descend step after step in the path of humiliation, enduring severe and still more severe abasement. Sinless and undefiled, He stood in the judgment hall, to be tried, to have His case investigated and pronounced upon by the very nation He had delivered from slavery. The Lord of glory was rejected and condemned, yea, spat upon. With contempt for what they regarded as His pretentious claims, men smote Him in the face. . . . {UL 90.3}

Angelic Family – Higher Nature than Christ’s Humanity

Christ in the weakness of humanity was to meet the temptations of one possessing the powers of the higher nature that God had bestowed on the angelic family. But Christ's humanity was united with divinity, and in this strength he would bear all the temptations that Satan could bring against him, and yet keep his soul untainted by sin. And this power to overcome he would give to every son and daughter of Adam who would accept by faith the righteous attributes of his character. {RH, January 28, 1909 par. 10}

Two Natures

"The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). {UL 196.2}

The One here referred to as the Word is the Son of God, who was the Commander in the heavenly courts, and who came to this world to open heavenly things to fallen human beings. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the Word that was with God before the world was. In clothing His divinity with humanity, He became possessed of two natures, the divine and the human. And because of this, He was fully able to accomplish for the human race their complete redemption, and their restoration to the privileges of the higher life. {UL 196.3}

He began His earthly life as human beings begin theirs, coming to this world as a helpless babe. And while here, He lived the life that every human being may live who will receive the great gift that the Lord made to our world in sending His Son to work out the plan of salvation.{UL 196.4}

Inseparably One

(Matt. 27:54; 1 Tim. 3:16.) But although Christ's divine glory was for a time veiled and eclipsed by His assuming humanity, yet He did not cease to be God when He became man. The human did not take the place of the divine, nor the divine of the human. This is the mystery of godliness. The two expressions "human" and "divine" were, in Christ, closely andinseparably one, and yet they had a distinct individuality. Though Christ humbled Himself to become man, the Godhead was still His own. His deity could not be lost while He stood faithful and true to His loyalty. Surrounded with sorrow, suffering, and moral pollution, despised and rejected by the people to whom had been intrusted the oracles of heaven, Jesus could yet speak of Himself as the Son of man in heaven. He was ready to take once more His divine glory when His work on earth was done. {5BC 1129.3}

 Divinity and Humanity Mysteriously Combined

In contemplating the incarnation of Christ in humanity, we stand baffled before an unfathomable mystery, that the human mind cannot comprehend. The more we reflect upon it, the more amazing does it appear. How wide is the contrast between the divinity of Christ and the helpless infant in Bethlehem's manger! How can we span the distance between the mighty God and a helpless child? And yet the Creator of worlds, He in whom was the fullness of the Godhead bodily, was manifest in the helpless babe in the manger. Far higher than any of the angels, equal with the Father in dignity and glory, and yet wearing the garb of humanity! Divinity and humanity were mysteriously combined, and man and God became one. It is in this union that we find the hope of our fallen race (Signs of the Times, July 30, 1896). {LHU 75.6}

Human Existed in the Divine Nature

Man has not been made a sin-bearer, and he will never know the horror of the curse of sin which the Saviour bore. No sorrow can bear any comparison with the sorrow of Him upon whom the wrath of God fell with overwhelming force. Human nature can endure but a limited amount of test and trial. The finite can only endure the finite measure, and human nature succumbs; but the nature of Christ had a greater capacity for suffering; for the human existed in the divine nature, and created a capacity for suffering to endure that which resulted from the sins of a lost world. The agony which Christ endured, broadens, deepens, and gives a more extended conception of the character of sin, and the character of the retribution which God will bring upon those who continue in sin. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. {TMK 64.4}

Took our Nature in its Deteriorated Condition

What a sight was this for Heaven to look upon! Christ, who knew not the least taint of sin or defilement, took our nature in its deteriorated condition. This was humiliation greater than finite man can comprehend. God was manifest in the flesh. He humbled Himself. What a subject for thought, for deep, earnest contemplation! So infinitely great that He was the Majesty of heaven, and yet He stooped so low, without losing one atom of His dignity and glory! He stooped to poverty and to the deepest abasement among men. For our sake He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. "The foxes have holes," He said, "and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Matt. 8:20). {1SM 253.1}

 8. Second Adam

Christ is called the second Adam. In purity and holiness, connected with God and beloved by God, he began where the first Adam began. Willingly he passed over the ground where Adam fell, and redeemed Adam's failure. {YI, June 2, 1898 par. 1}

But the first Adam was in every way more favorably situated than was Christ. The wonderful provision made for man in Eden was made by a God who loved him. Everything in nature was pure and undefiled. Fruits, flowers, and beautiful, lofty trees flourished in the garden of Eden. With every needed blessing, Adam and Eve were abundantly supplied. Not a shadow interposed between them and their Creator. They knew God as their beneficent Father, and in all things their will was conformed to the will of God. And God's character was reflected in the character of Adam. His glory was revealed in every object of nature. The invisible things of God were clearly seen, being understood by the things that were made, even his eternal power and Godhead. {YI, June 2, 1898 par. 2}

But Satan came to the dwellers in Eden, and insinuated doubts of God's wisdom. He accused him, their Heavenly Father and Sovereign, of selfishness, because, to test their loyalty, he had prohibited them from eating of the tree of knowledge. "Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" he said to Eve. "And the woman said, . . . We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." {YI, June 2, 1898 par. 3}

This was the smallest test that God could devise to prove the obedience of our first parents; but Eve fell under the temptation. Adam accepted the forbidden fruit from the hand of his wife; and by this act the flood-gates of woe were opened upon our world. Adam was endowed with a nature pure and sinless, but he fell because he listened to the suggestions of the enemy. His posterity became depraved; by one man's disobedience many were made sinners. {YI, June 2, 1898 par. 4}

When Christ came, it was to a world disloyal to God--a world all seared and marred by the curse of rebellion. Since the fall, the arch-deceiver had carried on his work with intense vigor, until the curse of transgression had fallen heavily upon the earth. Men were corrupted by Satan's inventions. He had been leading them astray by his false representations of God's character. Claiming for himself the attributes of mercy, goodness, and truth, he had attributed his own character to God. These misrepresentations Christ knew he must meet in human nature, and prove to be false. {YI, June 2, 1898 par. 5}

For this, he, the Commander of all heaven, one with God, clothed his divinity with humanity. He humbled himself, taking up his abode on the earth, that he might become acquainted with the temptations and trials wherewith man is beset. Before the heavenly universe he unfolded to men the great salvation that his righteousness would bring to all who accept it,--an inheritance among the saints and angels in the presence of God. {YI, June 2, 1898 par. 6}

Christ was tempted by Satan in a hundredfold severer manner than was Adam, and under circumstances in every way more trying. The deceiver presented himself as an angel of light, but Christ withstood his temptations. He redeemed Adam's disgraceful fall, and saved the world. {YI, June 2, 1898 par. 7}

With his human arm, Christ encircled the race, while with his divine arm, he grasped the throne of the Infinite, uniting finite man with the infinite God. He bridged the gulf that sin had made, and connected earth with heaven. In his human nature he maintained the purity of his divine character. He lived the law of God, and honored it in a world of transgression, revealing to the heavenly universe, to Satan, and to all the fallen sons and daughters of Adam, that through his grace, humanity can keep the law of God. He came to impart his own divine nature, his own image, to the repentant, believing soul. {YI, June 2, 1898 par. 8}

There is hope for all who will come to Christ and receive him as their personal Saviour. The faith that lays hold upon Christ will work by love and purify the soul. "If our gospel be hid," Paul declares, "it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. …For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." {YI, June 2, 1898 par. 9}

When Christ bowed his head and died, he bore the pillars of Satan's kingdom with him to the earth. He vanquished Satan in the same nature over which in Eden Satan obtained the victory. The enemy was overcome by Christ in his human nature. The power of the Saviour's Godhead was hidden. He overcame in human nature, relying upon God for power. This is the privilege of all. In proportion to our faith will be our victory. {YI, April 25, 1901 par. 11}

9. Sinful Nature

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. He pleased not himself, but went about doing good. His whole history, for more than thirty years, was one of pure, disinterested benevolence. By his words, his influence, and his example, he made men feel that it was possible for them to return to their loyalty and be reinstated in God's favor. He led them to see that if they repented, if their characters were transformed after the divine similitude, they would win immortality. {RH, December 15, 1896 par. 7}

10. Conclusions

     
  1. Jesus had two natures – human that was fully human and divine that was fully divine. These two natures were united, and combined but not blended in Jesus, but inseparably one. I understand united, combined, but not blended to mean that the natures were distinct, separate and complete in Jesus. This can be illustrated by two sides of a piece of paper, as inseparable, yet distinct, combined and united, but not blended, without blurring of both sides. What this means is that we too may have two natures, distinct, and united but not blended together as one nature. We too can have both a human and a divine nature through our adoption by God mediated by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
  2. Jesus laid aside His own divine power and used and relied on His Father’s divine power. Jesus had access to no power that we do not have access to through Him.
  3. The childhood of Jesus was not the same as most children. The difference had to do with the training and environment that was provided by Joseph and Mary. The childhood of Jesus is a model and possibility for children today to have if trained and taught as Jesus was.
  4. Jesus had our human nature but not our "taint of sin": "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." Jesus came to earth "taking the nature but not the sinfulness of man". "Christ did not possess the same sinful, corrupt, fallen disloyalty we possess, for then He could not be a perfect offering." My current understanding is that "taint of sin", "corrupt, fallen disloyalty" and "sinfulness of man" means the experience of sin that Jesus did not have. Apart from not experiencing sin, the human nature of Jesus was "identical" with our own at this end time of the earth’s history.
  5. Our secret of living a life without sin is the same as it was for Jesus. It is to have the divine nature of Jesus. We may have the divine nature of Jesus in addition to our human nature through the daily invitation to the Holy Spirit to be our indwelling Guide and Comforter. We need to keep our attention focused on Jesus and do what Jesus would do in our place and to please Him in every way by His grace and to His glory. It is by beholding Jesus that we are changed into His human nature little by little. It is by accepting His divine nature as a gift that we have it here and now in its fullness. We have the divine nature by accepting our adoption by the Father and Jesus. It is by believing the Word of God and doing His will that we are conformed unto the Divine.

"Christ was suffering the keenest pangs of hunger, and this temptation was a severe one. But He must begin the work of redemption just where the ruin began. Adam had failed on the point of appetite, and Christ must conquer here. The power that rested upon Him came directly from the Father, and He must not exercise it in His own behalf. With that long fast there was woven into His experience a strength and power that God alone could give. He met and resisted the enemy in the strength of a "Thus saith the Lord." "Man shall not live by bread alone," He said, "but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God"" (verse 4). {3SM 128.4}

"When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was in perfect peace. There was no trace of fear in word or look, for no fear was in His heart. But He rested not in the possession of almighty power. It was not as the "Master of earth and sea and sky" that He reposed in quiet. That power He had laid down, and He says, "I can of Mine own self do nothing." John 5:30. He trusted in the Father's might. It was in faith--faith in God's love and care--that Jesus rested, and the power of that word which stilled the storm was the power of God. {DA 336.1}

"As Jesus rested by faith in the Father's care, so we are to rest in the care of our Saviour. If the disciples had trusted in Him, they would have been kept in peace. Their fear in the time of danger revealed their unbelief. In their efforts to save themselves, they forgot Jesus; and it was only when, in despair of self-dependence, they turned to Him that He could give them help." {DA 336.2}

 

Key to Reference Abbreviations

1SM Selected Messages Volume 1

3SM Selected Messages Volume 3

5BC Volume 5 Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Ellen G. White quotation

18MR Manuscript Releases Volume 18

16MR Manuscript Releases Volume 16

21MR Manuscript Releases Volume 21

BEcho Bible Echo perodical

DA Desire of Ages by Ellen White

GC Great Controversy by Ellen White

HP In Heavenly Places a daily devotional by Ellen White

LHU Life Him UP a daily devotional by Ellen White

PP Patriarchs and Prophets by Ellen G. White followed by page number

RH Review and Herald periodical

SC Steps To Christ by Ellen White

ST Signs of the Times periodical

TMK That I May Know Him a daily devotional by Ellen White

UL Upward Look a daily collection of quotations from Ellen White

YI Youth's Instructor Periodical