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Unquenchable Life

20 September 2011 by Daniel

Q. 37. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ the Son of God became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance, and born of her, yet without sin.

Q. 38. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God?
A. It was requisite that the Mediator should be God, that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death; give worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession; and to satisfy God's justice, procure his favor, purchase a peculiar people, give his Spirit to them, conquer all their enemies, and bring them to everlasting salvation.

Q. 39. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be man?
A. It was requisite that the Mediator should be man, that he might advance our nature, perform obedience to the law, suffer and make intercession for us in our nature, have a fellow feeling of our infirmities; that we might receive the adoption of sons, and have comfort and access with boldness unto the throne of grace.

Q. 40. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God and man in one person?
A. It was requisite that the Mediator, who was to reconcile God and man, should himself be both God and man, and this in one person, that the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for us, and relied on by us, as the works of the whole person.

When we speak of the Christ as being eternally the Son of God we are not saying God created the Son or that the Son was born in some way; what we are saying is that God who ordains commands God who obeys through the power of God who performs. To convey that notion to creation, God has described God who ordains as "God the Father", and God who obeys as "God the Son" and God who performs as "God the Holy Spirit". Though the language is imperfect, I think we have enough to understand that Christ was eternally God "the Son", equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, having no beginning, and no end.

The scriptures tell us, in perhaps the greatest recorded understatement ever written, that the Son of God emptied Himself, allowing Himself to be "made" in the likeness of man (cf. Philippians 2). Don't get confused by the language there either, the "likeness of man" does not imply that He looked like a man but wasn't - it means He was made, in every way, a man. In the moment that Mary conceived, the Son of God entered into creation as a living man with a living soul.

The Son of God had become the incarnate Christ. In doing so He did not stop being the Son of God. He became the second Adam: a man born into this sinful world who was free from Adam's curse. It follows therefore that all that was true of Adam before the fall would have been true of Christ in the incarnation, and this not because of the Christ's divinity, but because of His humanity; for God originally created man to be in fellowship with Him. So the Christ grew up in the presence of God, and aware of God, not because He was God the Son, but because He was a man who was not under Adam's curse.

But Jesus was not only a man, He was also God the Son. He had possessed as God (in eternity) an unquenchable life - and it was this same unquenchable life that those who were joined to Christ were baptized into when they were born again (i.e. from above). This creation was cursed and will be destroyed, but God is going to make a new heavens and a new earth after these are no more. To get from one to the other we need a boat capable of sailing between the two creations - an ark if you will; an ark made of materials that transcend this creation, lest it be undone, along with those in it, when this creation is likewise undone.

Christ, being the eternal Son of God, possessed the only life that capable of transcending the destruction of this present creation. His death satisfied God's wrath for our sin, but without His life - a life that transcends this creation, He could bring no one into the new creation. It was therefore necessary for the Christ to be both the Son of God and a man, for only in this way could He "mediate" our salvation.