And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory…
I. ITS NATURE. There are three illustrious unions m Scripture.
1. That of three Persons in one God: essentially.
2. That of two distinct natures and persons by one spirit: mystically.
3. This of two distinct natures in one Person: hypostatically.For the more distinct management of this latter I shall speak of it —
1. Negatively. When Christ assumed our nature it was —
(1) Not united consubstantially as the Three Persons in the Godhead are united. They have but one and the same nature and will; but in Christ there are two natures and wills.
(2) Nor physically as soul and body are united. Death dissolves that, but this is indissoluble.
(3) Nor mystically, as Christ is united to believers; for they are not one person with Him.
2. Positively. The human nature was united to the Divine.
(1) Miraculously (Luke 1:34, 35); which was necessary to exempt the assumed human nature from Adam's sin (Luke 1:15). For God can have no fellowship with sin, and had Christ been a sinner He could not have satisfied for the sins of others (Hebrews 7:26).
(2) Integrally. Christ took a complete and perfect soul and body that He might heal the whole nature of that sin which had infected every member and faculty.
(3) With all its sinless infirmities (Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 4:15).
(4) So that each nature retains its own essential properties distinct, and the two understandings, wills, powers, etc., the human and the Divine are not confounded as Eutyches held.
(5) Inseparably. Although Christ's soul and body were divided at death, yet neither of them from the Divine nature.
II. ITS EFFECTS.
1. By virtue of this union the properties of each nature are attributed to and agree in the whole Person; so that the Lord of glory was crucified (1 Corinthians 2:8), the blood of God redeemed the Church (Acts 20:28), and Christ is both in heaven and on earth (John 3:13). Yet the properties of our nature are not imparted to the other, nor is it proper to say that the Divine nature suffered, or that the human was omniscient. But the properties of both natures are so ascribed to the one Person that it is ""proper to affirm any of them of Him in the concrete, though not abstractedly.
2. The singular advancement of Christ's human nature, it being hereby replenished with an unparalleled measure of Divine graces (Psalm 45:8), and so He becomes the object of worship (Acts 7:59).
3. The concourse and co-operation of each nature to His mediatory works, for in them He acts according to both natures. The human doing what is human, suffering, dying, etc.; the Divine stamping all with infinite value (2 Corinthians 5:19; Hebrews 9:14, 15).
III. ITS GROUNDS AND REASONS.
1. The Divine did not assume the human necessarily but voluntarily; not out of indigence, but bounty; not because it was to be perfected by it, but to perfect it.
2. And so consequently to qualify and prepare Him for a full discharge of His Mediatorship.
(1) As prophet; for as God He knows the mind and will of God (John 1:18; John 3:13); as man He is fitted to impart it to us (Deuteronomy 18:15-18 cf. Acts 3:22).
(2) As priest; had He not been man He could have shed no blood; and if not God it had been no value, for us (Hebrews 2:17; Acts 20:28).
(3) As king, had He not been man He had been heterogeneous, and so no fit head for us, and if not God He could not rule or defend His body the Church.
IV. Its uses.
1. Let Christians inform themselves of this momentous trust, and hold it fast against subtle adversaries.
2. Adore the love of the Father and the Son who devised this method for your recovery (Philippians 2:7; John 3:16; Hebrews 2:16).
3. Infinite wisdom has here left an everlasting mark.
4. Infer the incomparable sweetness of Christianity that shows such a foundation for the sinner's hope.
5. Union with our natures is utterly vain without union with our persons.
6. If Jesus Christ has assumed our nature, then He is touched with and has pity for our infirmities (Hebrews 2:17, 18).
7. See to what a height God intends to build up the happiness of man in that He has laid the foundation so deep in the Incarnation of His Son.
8. How wonderful a comfort is it that He who dwells in our flesh is God.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.