The Creed of Chalcedon
…in all things like unto us, without sin
After explaining how the Word was ever with God and was God, John then tells us: “The word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1-3, 14). This is the amazing teaching of the Christian faith: God became man while remaining God. And what’s more, was crucified and buried. He rose again but still the idea of God dying was blasphemous to the Jews then and Muslims today. To pagans both then and now, it’s just plain ridiculous. But the heart of the gospel is that God came down and became a man while still being God, and the Church of Jesus Christ shall never relinquish this. And today’s line from the Creed of Chalcedon affirms his humanity even more stridently: “In all things like us, without sin.”
So let us contemplate, “In all things like us.” What does this mean? Quite simply, in every way like us concerning his humanity. Are we subject to the elements? So was he. Are we subject to the manifold weaknesses of bearing human flesh? So was he. Did he experience hunger, thirst, cold, heat, pain, and all the other frailties of life? Indeed, he did. Did his feet hurt from walking all day, ever get sand in his eyes, hit his finger with a hammer? Naturally. Did he experience emotions like sadness, happiness, dread, joy, and sympathy with others? Indeed. All of this and more is what it means to be human.
But unlike us, in all these things, he never sinned. And that is the difference between him and us. Some will say that then he was not truly human because human beings sin. Such a view misunderstands the doctrine of the fall in Genesis 3. The fact that we sin is not a testament to our humanity but our inhumanity. That is, we sin because we are less than fully human. That’s why we call it the “fall”; we fell away from God including our own true selves. What we are now is not what we were meant to be. We were supposed to walk with God in the cool of the day everyday in unbroken fellowship. But we chose sin instead and broke that fellowship and abandoned Paradise. Thus, we are exiles from our original innocent condition.
That’s what Christ came to restore. Through our regeneration, the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and finally the glorification of our souls and bodies in heaven, we shall one day be the people we were supposed to be—and even better as redemption is superior to innocence. He lived our life without sin so that one day we shall be without sin as well.