ii. Of the Word or Son of God, which was Made very Man
The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.
The Son, which is the Word of the Father – John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus was called the Word in the Bible, He dwelt among us. He was fully man. He is the Word which revealed God to all humankind. He was born to a woman. (Luke 2)
Begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father – He was also God. This may be a troubling statement because how can Jesus be God and be begotten? How can he be begotten if he is everlasting? God was never alone and yet he made the Son? The Council of Nicaea in 381, in response to Arius, had to make that statement in order refute Arius’ claims that Jesus was the son and created after God. It is very confusing and very difficult for our human minds to understand what this really means. It is another example of how sometimes we have to have faith that Christ was eternal and begotten of the Father and just like God the Father in substance. (Philippians 2:6-8)
took Man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; – Christ was truly God AND Man. You cannot divide them. You cannot have Jesus the Son without Jesus as God. If you split them up you negate the other. If you say Christ is not God, then he cannot take our sins. If you say Christ is not the Son, then you cannot say that he was fully human and suffered as we did. (Luke 1:26-28; Hebrews 2:10-16)
This statement was put into the Articles because of Council of Chalcedon in 451. The Council was convened because there were those who believed that Christ was only divine and not human at all. Those who attended that Council had to hammer out this theological point in order to refute the heresy of Docetism. Christ has to be fully human because he would not have been fully suffer on the cross if he was only divine. Gerald Bray says, “In order to suffer and die for us, he had to acquire a nature that was capable of suffering and dying because he could not do either of those things in his divinity.” (Bray, Faith, 26)
Here is what the Definition of Chalcedon stated regarding Jesus the Son of God and the Son of Man which is used as authority, second to Scripture, for Article II:
Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.
who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men. – Christ suffered. Crucifixion and Christ’s crucifixion are written about not only in the Bible, but in extra-biblical texts as well. This cruel and horrific death was to reconcile the Father to us. God the Father cannot look on sin, he “cannot bear to live with our sin.” (Bray, Faith, 27). And so Christ paid the price that we, as sinful human beings, are unable to bear. He did it for all the sins from Adam to the end of time. No sin is too sinful for Jesus. The Cross covered it all. We need not do anything. His death paid the full price.
The Anglican Catechism Question 64 states, “What did Jesus Accomplish on the Cross? – Jesus fulfilled the Scriptures by dying on the Cross as a sacrifice for sin in obedience to his Father. He thereby showed the depth of the love of God for his fallen creation, satisfying the justice of God on our behalf and breaking the power of sin, Satan, and death (Leviticus 23:18-21; Psalm 34:15-22; Colossians 2:13-15; Hebrews 10:11-14)(To be a Christian: an Anglican catechism, 2020, 42)
As we continue through Lent, may you find peace in the fact that Christ’s suffering was to pay our price that was impossible to pay. You are so loved that His death was to reconcile God to us!
And because I’m an Andrew Peterson fan, I had to put in a link to this song. It has been a very meaningful song for me this past year as I sent off my oldest to college.
To Be a Christian: an Anglican Catechism. Crossway, 2020.
Bray, Gerald Lewis. The Faith We Confess: an Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles. Latimer Trust, 2009.
West, Rich, The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, Sunday School Class, January 2020.