The Incomparable Christ
The Incomparable Christ
The Latin phrase Solus Christus defines salvation as that which cannot be found outside of faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through faith in him (John 14:6).
Over the past two thousand years people have reacted to Christ’s ministry in myriad ways. Jesus has been believed and disbelieved, loved and hated, worshipped and mocked, blessed and cursed, adored and ignored. Even so, it would be difficult for anyone to argue against the fact that Jesus Christ has been the most influential person in the past two millennia. Jaroslav Pelikan asserts that “Regardless of what anyone may personally think or believe about him, Jesus of Nazareth has been the dominant figure in the history of western culture for almost twenty centuries.” Similarly, an anonymous writer states, “All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected our life on earth as much as that one solitary life.” Any reasonable person would have to agree that Jesus Christ is a profoundly influential and historic figure. One can come to this conclusion with only a rudimentary knowledge of history. It is ultimately in the pages of scripture, however, that we even begin to understand just how central and powerful a figure he is.
Perhaps the most controversial and debated doctrine concerning the person of Christ is that of His divinity. From the first century Gnostics to the fourth century Arians to the nineteenth and twentieth century Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, the belief in the divine nature of Christ has been widely challenged. Is Christ the eternal second person of the Trinity or is He just a charismatic religious leader who was no more God than you or I?
The Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ is both God and man–– one person with two distinct natures. He is called the “image of the invisible God” and the “exact representation of his nature” (Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3). Hence, to know Christ is to know the Father (John 14:9). He is the perfect Word and true wisdom from God who dwelt among us in the flesh (John 1:1-5, 14). He is the creator and sustainer of the universe (Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2-3). Jesus proved His divinity time and time again by healing the sick, raising the dead, and demonstrating His sovereign command over creation (Luke 8:22ff).
Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. Anselm of Canterbury, in his notable book Cur Deus Homo (Why God Become Man), dealt with the age-old question, “Why did God become man in order to save his people?” Couldn’t God have secured our redemption in some other way or by some other means? Anselm explained that God the Son became incarnate in order to be a righteous and acceptable substitute for sinful mankind. Adam, the first man, failed to obey God’s commands, and as mankind’s federal representative imputed sin and death to all his posterity (Rom. 5:12ff). Therefore, the eternal Son of God became a man (without ceasing to be God), in order to repair what Adam had ruined, imputing his righteousness to all those who would receive Him by faith. Why did God become man? Because man sinned, and according to God’s justice a man was required to provide redemption. As the Heidelberg Catechism states, “because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned, should likewise make satisfaction for sin; ...” (HC Q.16).
Jesus Christ, the God and man, has brought reconciliation between God and man. There is no other means of finding objective and subjective peace with God except through this one mediator, Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1-2) It is in Christ alone (Solus Christus) that salvation rests. Through faith he becomes to “us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (I Cor. 1:30). This Christmas, let us turn from sin and rejoice in the salvation that God has revealed through His beloved Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Put your trust solely in him. He is the incomparable One–– matchless in glory, precious beyond measure, and thus worthy of our unyielding devotion.
- Pastor Jon