Friday in the Thirty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

The Creed of Chalcedon

to be acknowledged in two natures,…without change

This is the second of four modifiers to what it means that our Lord is acknowledged in two natures.  Yesterday’s word was the awkward, “inconfusedly,” better rendered, “without confusion.”  Today, we see that our Lord’s human and divine natures are held together “unchangeably” or “without change.”  So, what does this mean and why does it matter?

The Bishops at Chalcedon understood that just as our Lord’s divine and human natures are in no way blended or mixed, so the properties of each nature are unchanged in the joining—meaning that the human nature remains the human nature and the divine nature remains the divine.

So let us consider the ramifications of this important and essential statement.  To say that the human nature of our Lord and Savior is in no way changed by its union with the divine is to say that our Lord is not changed into some superman by virtue of this union.  This is the temptation to which the Monophysites succumb when they submerge our Lord’s human nature within the divine.  Frankly, it is a temptation ever-lurking about many of us.  It is hard for us to imagine a sinless human being.  But we need to understand that we do not sin because we are human but sin because we are less than human.  Christ was and is the unfallen man; he is the way we would be had we never sinned.  Though we can never be innocent again, the purpose of salvation is to redeem and heal us so that we shall never sin again—which won’t happen until we reach that state in heaven.  There, our humanity will be fully restored unto us, and we shall see him as he is, for we shall be like him (1 John 3:2-3).  We must hold to the essential teaching that our Lord was fully human, of the same nature as us, but apart from sin.

But we must equally hold to the truth that neither was the divine nature changed due to its joining with the human.  I have heard theologians say that God was changed when he took upon himself that which he never had before—a human nature.  God was always a “perfect circle,” they say; he only became a “bigger” perfect circle!  God never changes, for perfection in all his attributes is the nature of His being, nor need He ever change his mind for He knows, indeed, decrees, all things from beginning to end (1 Samuel 15:29).  The joining of the two natures makes the Son suited for his office as Mediator between God and man—the God-man.  If in any way one nature is changed from being fully God or fully man, to that extent do we lose the God-man—and the Mediator of our salvation.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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