Itutuloy po natin ‘yong ating sermon series based on Heidelberg Catechism. So far, nakita natin ‘yong ating guilt and misery bilang mga tao.
Simula kay Adan, tayo’y nahulog sa kasalanan laban sa Diyos, at dahil ang Diyos ay banal, karapat-dapat tayong parusahan. At higit pa dito, yamang sira na ang ating kalikasan (we’re now totally depraved), wala tayong kahit anong kakayahan na maging matuwid sa mata ng Diyos at iligtas ang ating mga sarili mula sa Kanyang poot.
We need a mediator and a deliverer.
And Lord’s Day 5, Q. 15 concludes that this must be someone who is truly man and truly God. He must be a God-man.
Then, who is this God-man? Lord’s Day 6, Q. 18 answers it: Our Lord Jesus Christ. How can we be assured that Christ is indeed our Savior?
So for this afternoon, we will look at some (1) Scriptural evidence for Christ’s two natures, then we’ll consider (2) how to properly understand this mystery of Christ’s two natures, and finally, we’ll look at (3) the effects of Christ’s two natures upon our salvation.
A. Scriptural Evidence for Christ’s Two Natures
Now, obviously, hindi po sapat ‘yong oras natin para tignan lahat ng verses and passages that convey the two natures of Christ. But let’s turn to Philippians 2:6-8.
The bigger context and message of Philippians 2 is Paul’s exhortation for unity and humility among the Christians in Philippi through the example of Jesus Christ. But notice kung paano dinescribe ni Paul si Jesus Christ at ‘yong incarnation beginning with verse 6.
“… who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped (“he did not assert that right of being equal with God”), but emptied himself…”
Let’s analyze this text…
‘Yong “form” in the statement “form of God,” it means outward appearance or shape. At kung makikita natin throughout the Scriptures, God is spirit (cf. John 4:24). He’s not limited in space and time. At wala Siyang “visible and perceivable form” kagaya ng mga creatures.
Kapag tao, alam mong tao base sa itsura at ‘yong nature at personality ng tao. Kapag hayop, madi-distinguish mo na hayop. (Kapag may nakita kang aso, you won’t ask, “Tao ba ‘to, hayop, o pagkain?”) Kapag puno, tubig, etc., ganun din. Creatures and created elements have physical forms.
But not with God. Bagama’t may times in the Old Testament na ang Diyos ay nagpakita sa mga tao through a burning bush, a pillar of cloud and fire—outward manifestations lang ‘yon ng Kanyang abiding presence (i.e., Theophany). Pero hindi mo pwedeng sabihin na ang Diyos ay isang “burning bush,” or God is a “fire” or a “beam of light.” No. He is a spirit, not limited to any physical form kagaya ng mga earthly creatures.
Next, Paul mentions Christ’s equality with God. So may dalawang distinct subjects na na-mention dito (“he” and “God”). And in the New Testament, kapag nababasa natin ‘yong pangalan ni “Christ,” tapos mayro’n distinction with “God”—then we assume na ‘yong tinutukoy do’n na “God” ay “God the Father.”
Now, Paul is affirming here that Christ, the Son of God, is equal with the Father. What can be said of the Father can be said of the Son. Together with the Holy Spirit, they are co-essential, co-eternal, co-equal. The Father is almighty, the Son is almighty. The Father is all-knowing, the Son is all-knowing. The Father is divine, the Son is divine.
But as Paul says, Christ did not consider that equality with God as a right or a reason to not humble himself and serve others. Hindi Niya pinanghawakan ‘yong status at privileges Niya bilang Diyos, kundi siya’y nagpakumbaba. How?
Paul continues (see verse 7), “… but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men… (v. 8) being found in the human form…”
Now, this helps correct ‘yong understanding ng marami patungkol sa divinity and humanity ni Christ. Some believe that in the incarnation, God the Son stripped himself of his divinity. That he temporarily “emptied” himself and became less God.
But if we look at the text, it says, “he emptied himself…” by setting aside his equality with God? No. By taking upon himself “the form of a servant”, by being born in the likeness and appearance of man.” It is not a removal of his divinity.
You might ask, “So Diyos pa rin naman pala Siya eh, paano naging “emptying” ‘yon?”
It is an act of emptying and humbling for him because being God, he took upon himself something that is proper for a creature rather than a Creator.
ILLUSTRATION: Let me illustrate. What if one day, nag-decide si President BBM na tumulong mag-linis sa isang community, nagsuot siya ng pang-janitor at nagwalis dyan sa kanto kasama mga presidential bodyguard niya (No disrespect intended po sa mga janitor). And after maglinis, ang dungis na niya tignan.
Does it mean hindi na siya president? No. He is still a president, with all the authority and power as president… But that will be humbling to him because being a president, he looks and acts in a way that is proper to a lowly servant rather than a president.
In quite the same way, the incarnation of Christ was humbling because he took something that is proper for a lowly creature and not for a sovereign Lord of creation. Though he was in the throne of heaven, infinite in space and time, full of power and glory… yet he assumed human nature—a physical form, a limited body, with all its weaknesses, and one that is subject to suffering and death.
That’s the emptying of himself.
So given all these, the incarnation of the Son of God did not strip him of his divinity. It is not a subtraction of divine nature, but rather an addition of human nature.
And this implies two realities: (1) Christ remained truly God (Siya’y ganap na Diyos), and (2) Christ became truly human (Siya’y ganap na tao).
And other Scriptures will affirm that as well. Again, marami, but let’s look at some.
- Puntahan natin sa John 10:30, 33. Christ himself was self-conscious of his divinity. Verse 30 he says, “I and the Father are one.” At kahit ‘yong mga nakarinig sa Kanya, alam kung ano ang ibig sabihin Niya. Kaya babatuhin na nila si Cristo at sinabi nila sa verse 33, “It not a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”
- Matthew 8:27 as well. No’ng nasa gitna sila ng dagat at hinahampas na sila ng malakas na hangin at alon, natutulog si Christ. At ginising Siya ng mga disciples, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” Then Christ gets up, rebukes the winds and the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And there was a great calm. At ano sabi sa verse 27, “the men marveled, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?’” … To put it differently, “How can this be just a man?”
At maraming pang ibang passages and texts na magpapatunay na si Cristo ay hindi pwedeng tao lang. He is definitely truly God as well.
How about his humanity?
Sabi ni Paul sa Philippians 2:7, “form and likeness of man.” Does it mean ganap na katawan ng tao lang ang inako niya, pero di kasama kaluluwa? Let’s look at some texts.
- Hebrews 2:17. (No time to look at the whole passage). It reads, “Therefore, he [Christ] had to be made like his brothers [the offspring of Abraham, the children of God]… like his brothers in every respect.” So Jesus Christ became like us in every respect of our human nature—except sin.
- Romans 5:19. In his comparison and contrast between Adam and Jesus Christ, Paul says, “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
Sa pagkakasala ni Adan, ang parehong katawan at kaluluwa ng tao ay nagkaroon ng kamatayan. Kaya kinakailangan na sa pagsunod ni Cristo, parehong katawan at kaluluwa rin ang dala-dala niya, para maligtas pareho.
Gaya nga ng sabi ni Gregory during the early church, “That which is not assumed has not been healed.”
Belgic Confession Article 18 (middle part) states: “For since the soul was lost as well as the body, it was necessary that He should take both upon Him, [in order] to save both.”
So friends, the Word of God is CLEAR about this. Hindi po natin gawa-gawa lang ‘yong ating paniniwala kay Cristo. Scriptures clearly establish that Christ is truly God and truly man. He is not less God, or less human. He is fully God and fully man.
Now, how do we properly understand or grasp this truth?
B. Proper Understanding of Christ’s Two Natures
Simply put, in Jesus Christ—there are two natures in one person.
The Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, is already divine in nature since eternity. And in the fullness of time, he assumed human nature, and the human body and soul are united to the person of the Son of God.
So only one person (Son of God, Jesus Christ), but two natures (divine and human) united in one person. Not two persons (or else, magiging dual personality si Cristo, katulad ni Gollum sa Lord of the Rings). But two natures in one conscious Person.
ILLUSTRATE: Allow me to illustrate, bagamat hindi pa rin ‘to perfect illustration. Nakakita na po kayo ng patay di ba? Pag nakita niyo ‘yong bangkay, nando’n pa ‘yong katawan pero wala nang buhay. Bakit? Kasi wala na ‘yong kaluluwa o espiritu no’ng tao. Humiwalay na… And that proves na ang bawat tao ay binubuo ng dalawang (2) substance: matter and spirit. May pisikal, may espiritwal. At kapag buhay ang isang tao, hindi mo makikita ‘yong kaluluwa o espiritu niya, pero alam mong meron. Tapos ‘yong katawan at kaluluwa ay hindi nagsasanib, na tipong over time ‘yong katawan ng tao onti-onting nagiging invisible kasi nag-mix na sa kaluluwa… The body and soul remain distinct, yet they belong to a single human being.
Somehow, that is also the same with the two natures of Christ.
- The divine nature and human nature remain distinct from each other, and are not mixed or confused. Hindi po na “humanize” ‘yong divine nature, at hindi na-”deify” ‘yong human nature. Hindi nag-sanib pwersa ‘yong dalawang nature.
- So the two natures retained their particular properties. What is divine remains divine; what is human remains human. Kaya ‘nong naglakad si Cristo sa dagat or nakilala na niya si Nathaniel kahit ‘di pa sila nagkikita, ‘yon ay dahil sa Kanyang pagiging Diyos. (Hindi dahil nag-”level up” ‘yong Kanyang human nature).
At ‘nong Siya’y nagutom o nagdusa at namatay sa krus, ‘yon ay dahil sa Kanyang pagiging tao. (Hindi naman pwedeng magutom, masaktan at mapatay ang kalikasang Diyos).
One text that demonstrates this is Romans 1:3. Sabi do’n ni Paul, “… concerning his Son (i.e., Christ), who was descended from David, according to the flesh…” Hindi pwedeng “according to the divine nature,” kasi hindi pwedeng manggagaling kay David ang Diyos.
- So we distinguish between the divine and human attributes and works of Christ according to each nature. The divine nature cannot share in the limitations and weakness of the human nature. And vice versa… Yet we attribute them to the one single person—Jesus Christ.
So hindi natin sasabihin, “Christ’s human nature ate, suffered, and died” or “Christ’s divine nature healed the sick, performed miracles, etc.”
No. Jesus Christ healed the sick and performed miracles. The Son of God suffered and died for us.
Hindi rin natin sasabihin na, “Christ’s divine nature is almighty, all-knowing, and eternal” or “Christ’s human nature is full of sorrow, limited, and weak.” No. Jesus Christ is almighty and at the same time a man of sorrows; Christ is all-knowing and at the same time limited in knowledge; Christ is eternal and at the same time weak.
So to summarize these points:
There are two natures in one person of Christ, the Son of God. Hindi naghalo ‘yong dalawang natures. They are distinct, yet united in one person. At anuman ang mga katangian at gawa ni Cristo ayon sa Kanyang pagka-Diyos at ayon sa pagka-tao—ay mga katangian at gawa ng nag-iisang Jesu-Cristo.
Now, after understanding the two natures of Christ—we should ask, “What’s the effect?” If Christ is truly God and truly man—anong resulta o benefit nito sa kaligtasan natin?”
C. The Effects of Christ’s Two Natures
There are many, but let me share three:
First, because Christ is truly human, he became our real substitute before God.
As Lord’s Day 6, Q. 16 puts it, “because man has sinned, man must pay for his sin.” Dahil Siya’y ganap na tao, makakasiguro tayo na ang pinagbayaran niya sa krus ay ‘yong mga kasalanan ng tao—hindi ng mga anghel. What he certainly redeems is our fallen bodies and souls.
Second, because Christ is the God-man, he is the sinless and perfect sacrifice of infinite value.
As Q. 16 said, “a sinner can not pay for others.” But because Christ is perfect, he was able to satisfy the justice that God demands—and he did it to the fullest. Hebrews 10:10-18 says that Christ gave just a single offering, one offering perfect enough to forgive all our sins.
Third, because Christ is the God-man, he was able to bear the punishment due to us and acquire salvation for us.
As Q. 17 puts it, “by the power of his divinity, Christ [was able] to bear the weight of God’s anger in his humanity.” Sabi ni God kay Moses, “No man can see me and live” (Exo. 33:20). How much more to receive his wrath! But Christ is no mere man; he is also God.
And as Isaiah 53:4-5 puts it, “He borne our griefs… he carried our sorrows… he was pierced and crushed for our iniquities.”
Pero bilang ganap na Diyos at ganap na tao, hindi lang kinaya ni Cristo na tanggapin ang buong poot ng Diyos Ama. “His chastisement brought us peace… with his wounds we are healed.” Q. 17 puts it, “… and earn for us and restore to us, righteousness and life.”
And because he perfectly represented us as fully man, his perfect righteousness becomes imputed to us by faith.
So Christ didn’t just receive God’s wrath and paid for our sins; he reversed the effects of sin and gave us righteousness and new life.
ILLUSTRATE: Imagine kung pulubi ka, bedridden sa hospital, at marami kang utang na never mo nang mababayaran. Kahit may tumulong sa’yo magbayad ng utang, alam mong madadagdagan lang ng madadagdagan ulit… But there’s one person na hindi lang nagbayad ng utang mo, kundi nagbigay din ng lahat ng kailangan para gumaling ka. Binili ka ng bahay, sasakyan, binigyan ka ng business… everything to cover all your needs.
Friends, that is what Christ did. John 3:16, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes will not perish, but have everlasting life.
Those are the effects of Christ’s two natures. He indeed is the mediator and deliverer we should look for and whom God has given us.
Conclusion and Application
Now, as I conclude, the fact remains that although we can have a proper biblical understanding of the two natures of Christ, we can never fully understand it. How is it possible? Two different natures (divine and human) in one Person?
It’s beyond human comprehension. Ang hirap i-explain at maunawaan. And it is only by the Holy Spirit’s work that we can nevertheless accept it and marvel at it.
But you know, beloved, ang mas matinding misteryo sakin dito… ang mas mahirap maintindihan ay hindi kung paanong magkasama ‘yong dalawang kalikasan kay Cristo—kundi kung bakit gano’n kamahal ng Diyos ang tao.
Why would God care? How could the Son of God still care to assume the human flesh? (God cannot just forgive sins and save us. It must be paid!) And mind you, God assumed the nature of not just any creature—but creatures who rebel against him. Wretched sinners worthy of hell!
Why? I don’t have the exact answer. All that God’s Word says is he sovereignly chose to love sinners like you and me.
- If you are not yet in Christ, or perhaps you have fallen into sin that you are unsure whether you are in Christ—consider the good news of salvation in him. You cannot save yourself from the wrath of God. All you have is guilt, and none of us can pay for our debts.
But thanks be to God. What is mysterious and impossible for us is possible for him. The two natures of Christ affirm that there is hope in him.
Whatever sin and brokenness you have right now—Christ already paid for it, he bore God’s wrath for it, and he earned for you and has the power to restore to you righteousness and life!
Do you believe it? Repent of your sin, confess it to God, cry out for his mercy, and embrace Christ’s righteousness. And trust him that by his Spirit, he will give you righteousness and life.
- Even for Christians, who may be suffering one way or another—know that God knows your pain precisely because Christ is the God-man. Fully human in every respect, Jesus bore your pains, sorrows, and sufferings—even to the point of dying on the cross to set you completely free.
He sympathizes with all our weaknesses. Pray to him. Hope in him.
- Lastly, let this truth of Christ’s two natures bring us to awe, gratitude, and worship! What a wonder that in the incarnation, we find both glory and grief; infinite joy and inexpressible sorrow; almighty power and gentle weakness; eternal life and saving death.
It is beyond comprehension. And in all these, God makes possible the reconciliation between God and man—which would otherwise be impossible.
All praises and glory be to God in Jesus Christ! Amen.
Reuel Dawal is the Minister of the Word and Sacraments at ZCRC. He was an intern prior to being ordained and installed as the church's new pastor. He is currently finishing his Biblical and Theological Studies at the Miami International Seminary (MINTS) online. He and his wife Yeng are married since 2017 and lives in Imus, Cavite.