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Bible Doctrine

Christ: An Introductory Study

This lesson concerns the Lord Jesus Christ—the central theme of Holy Scripture. We shall consider His deity, His incarnation, His work and His offices.

I. His Deity

The deity of Christ means that Christ is God. Scripture clearly teaches this important fact in the following ways.

1. The attributes of God are used in speaking of Christ.

a. His pre-existence. Christ has no beginning.

John 17:5—And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

b. His omnipresence. He is with His servants everywhere.

Matthew 28:20—Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

c. His omnipotence. He has unlimited power.

Revelation 1:18—I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

d. His omniscience. He has unlimited knowledge.

John 21:17—He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

e. His unchangeableness. He is "the same yesterday, today and forever." Hebrews 13:8.

2. The works of God were performed by Christ.

a. He created all things.

John 1:3—All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

b. He upholds the universe.

Colossians 1:16—For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

c. He raised Himself from the dead.

John 2:19—Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

3. The titles of God are given to Christ.

a. God the Father addresses the Son as God.

Hebrews 1:8—But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

b. Men called Him God, and He did not refuse their worship.

John 20:28—And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

c. Demons recognized Him as God.

Mark 1:24—Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

d. He declared Himself to be God.

John 10:30—I and my Father are one.

II. His Incarnation

By the incarnation of Christ is meant His coming into the world as a man.

1. The coming of Christ was predicted in the Old Testament.

Isaiah 7:14—Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

2. History records the birth of our Lord. His birth was different from all other births.

a. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Luke 1:35—And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

b. He was born of a virgin.

Matthew 1:23—Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

c. Yet He was truly man, possessing a body (Hebrews 10:5—Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:), soul (Matthew 26:38—Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.) and spirit (Luke 23:46—And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.).

3. Christ came in human form in order to:

a. Reveal the Father.

John 14:9—Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

b. Put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Hebrews 9:26—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.

c. Destroy the works of the devil.

1 John 3:8—He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

NOTE WELL: One of the foundation truths of the Christian faith is that Jesus Christ is truly God and that He came into the world as a man by the miracle of virgin birth. As a man, He was absolutely sinless.

III. His Work

Under this heading, we shall discuss the Lord's death, resurrection and ascension.

1. His death.

a. The death of Christ was necessary.

John 3:14—And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

It was part of God's eternal purpose.

Hebrews 10:7—Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

It was necessary to fulfill Old Testament prophecies.

Isaiah 53:5—But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

It was necessary to provide salvation for man.

Ephesians 1:7—In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

b. The death of Christ was for others. He died as a substitute.

1 Corinthians 15:3—For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

c. The death of Christ was sufficient. It completely meets God's claims because Christ endured and exhausted the judgment of God against sin. It completely meets man's need because it was the death of an Infinite Person, and therefore its value is infinite.

2. His resurrection.

a. The resurrection of Christ was necessary to fulfill prophecy, to complete the work of the Cross, ("Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." Romans 4:25), and to enable Christ to undertake His present work in heaven.

b. Christ's resurrected body was real. It was not a spirit. ("Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." Luke 24:39). It was the same body which was crucified because it had the print of the nails and the spearwound. ("Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing." John 20:27). Yet it was a changed body, with power to overcome physical limitations.

c. After His resurrection, Christ appeared to certain of His followers at least ten times. More than five hundred reliable witnesses saw Him after He arose.

1 Corinthians 15:6—After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

d. The resurrection of Christ is an important truth. If there had been no resurrection, there would be no Christian faith.

3. His ascension.

a. At the end of His ministry on earth, Christ was carried up into heaven.

Mark 16:19—So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

Acts 1:9—And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

b. He ascended so that He might enter into His reward, ("And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." John 17:5), and continue His ministry for His people.

IV. His Offices

Christ is presented in Scripture as a Prophet, a Priest and a King.

1. As Prophet, He tells men what God has to say to them, and He thus reveals God to men.

John 1:18—No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

2. As Priest, He represents believers before God.

Hebrews 4:14-16—Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

3. As King, He reigns today in the hearts of those who are loyal to Him. In a coming day, He will reign upon the earth for one thousand years. Psalm 72 describes His reign on earth.

Then throughout eternity the Lord Jesus will continue to serve His blood-bought people.

From What Christians Believe: Basic Studies in Bible Doctrine and Christian Living by Alfred P. Gibbs... [et al.]; staff members of Emmaus Bible School. Chicago: Moody Press, 1951.

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