nature of christ

Recently a “conservative” Seventh-day Adventist stayed at the place i’m staying. In conversation, he mentioned that Christ had the exact same nature as you and i do, so we must do as he did and overcome all sin in this life. While i agree with the part about overcoming sin now, i disagree about Jesus having the exact same nature we do.

Is this significant, or semantics? Well, i do believe that it could have a great impact on your salvation, so i’ve made up a little study of the subject here.

With the true interpretation given by the Holy Spirit, let’s see what the nature of man and Christ is.

First, let’s define the general positions taken by us Adventists:
1. Jesus and us have the exact same nature.
2. Jesus had sinless nature, and we have sinful nature.

Position one is generally taken by “conservatives”, and position two by “liberals”. As i’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, liberals have no foundation, so i identify much more strongly with the “conservatives”, but with differences of opinion on around 4 subjects, including this one.

Let’s look at postion one. There are two possibilities for this to be true – either both had perfect natures, or both sinful natures. Now i’ve heard “conservatives” who have supported both of these possibilities. The possibility supported by my Brother i met last weekend was that “no one is born sinful, as that is the Catholic doctrine of Original Sin.” Others who support the second possibility say that Christ is just like you and me in every detail.

For the first possibility to be true, it would mean two things: 1. If you are not born sinful, then it is within the realm of possibility for anyone who keeps the law perfectly to go to heaven without needing Jesus Christ as their Saviour. This is impossible.

For the second possibility to be true, it would mean nearly the same thing, but from the opposite point of view, that Jesus himself would have needed a Saviour.

So we see even before we show the inspired quotes, that the “conservative” SDA view of the nature of Christ is very flawed. Both possibilities of this view boil down to the idea that it is possible to get to heaven by works.

The “liberal” viewpoint on this issue is much more correct, but even with the correct premise, they come to a false conclusion. Yes, Jesus came as a perfectly-untainted-by-sin human. He took on himself the results of around 4,000 years of physical degeneration, but did not come with a heart with a bent to sin like we do. This is why it can be truly said that he is the “second Adam”. He sure wasn’t close to Adam physically, so for this inspired phrase to have any meaning at all, it must mean morally. And this is what the inspired word attests of.

But this view doesn’t mean that Jesus was “super”, so he could live a sinless life, but we can’t. This conclusion is taught by many in the church who say that “we will be sinning until Jesus comes in the clouds”. No, no. We can, and must overcome sin right here and right now, in the same way that Jesus overcame – by complete submission to the will of his Father.

We all know that Jesus’ birth was miraculous. But in contemplating it, it shows that he was not exactly like us humans today, in that his physical father was heavenly. He was made in the likeness of mankind tho, so the Creator did become like the created.

Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

*************************************
pt: The Youth’s Instructor
dt: 06-02-98
at: The Second Adam
*************************************
Christ is called the second Adam. In purity and holiness,
connected with God and beloved by God, he began where the first Adam
began. Willingly he passed over the ground where Adam fell, and
redeemed Adam’s failure.
….
Christ was tempted by Satan in a hundredfold severer manner than
was Adam, and under circumstances in every way more trying.
********************
20OM
He humbled Himself in taking the nature
of man in his fallen condition, but He did not take the taint of sin.
********************
pt: The Signs of the Times
dt: 05-19-90
at: Obedience is Sanctification.
********************
We have reason for ceaseless gratitude to God that Christ, by his
perfect obedience, has won back the heaven that Adam lost through
disobedience. Adam sinned, and the children of Adam share his guilt and
its consequences; but Jesus bore the guilt of Adam, and all the
children of Adam that will flee to Christ, the second Adam, may escape
the penalty of transgression. Jesus regained heaven for man by bearing
the test that Adam failed to endure; for he obeyed the law perfectly,
and all who have a right conception of the plan of redemption will see
that they cannot be saved while in transgression of God’s holy
precepts. They must cease to transgress the law, and lay hold on the
promises of God that are available for us through the merits of Christ.
************************
db: 2RED
ti: Redemption; or the Temptation of Christ–in–The Wilderness
************************
What a contrast the second Adam presented as he entered the gloomy
wilderness to cope with Satan single-handed. Since the fall, the race
had been decreasing in size and physical strength, and sinking lower in
the scale of moral worth, up to the period of Christ’s advent to the
earth. In order to elevate fallen man, Christ must reach him where he
was. He took human nature, and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of
the race. He who knew no sin became sin for us. He humiliated himself
to the lowest depths of human woe, that he might be qualified to reach
man, and bring him up from the degradation in which sin had plunged
him.
************************
The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels, and Satan and His Angels (1858) p.25
************************
Jesus also told them that they should have a part to act, to be
with him, and at different times strengthen him. That he should take
man’s fallen nature, and his strength would not be even equal with
theirs.
****************************
14OM
The sinful nature of man was weak, and he was prone to the
transgression of God’s commandments. Man had not the power to do the
words of God; that is why Christ came to our world, that He might give
him moral power.
****************************
8RH 08-02-1907
Clad in the vestments of humanity, the Son of God came down to the
level of those he wished to save. In him was no guile or sinfulness; he
was ever pure and undefiled; yet he took upon him our sinful nature.
Clothing his divinity with humanity,….
****************************

So when the inspired word talks about Jesus “taking on the fallen human nature”, we see that it is referring to the weakened physical body, degenerated for nearly 4,000 years. We humans born after Adam’s fall all die, so all suffer the guilt of sin. But Jesus did not. He willingly, for our behalf, laid down his life – not because anyone could take it away from him, but because he chose that way to redeem us lost, mortal sinners.

May we study to show ourselves approved unto God, and may we come up to the high standard that has been set before us by Jesus Christ. While he is in the Most Holy Place now ready and willing to forgive our sins, he is telling us to put away all sin from us. Soon he will put his seal on the 144,000, and they will not sin or die until Jesus comes in the clouds and takes them home. May we be among that number!

6 thoughts on “nature of christ”

  1. I am confused. Why are you quoting from Ellen White’s articles to support your belief? I thought you place priority on her published works, which you have said are her books. Sorry I don’t understand.

  2. I’m sorry, i should have made it clear that the quotes from “Other Manuscripts” are not to be taken as her “settled position”. But they can be taken as good instruction, worthy of consideration.
    .
    What she has “written and published” which she said is her “settled position” tho, would include her articles published in her day for the various magazines wouldn’t it?
    .
    I don’t remember ever stating that only her published books are to be seen as her “settled position”, but if i have, i’m sorry.
    .
    This is what i’ve written elsewhere regarding this issue:

    Ellen White wrote herself in Testimonies For the Church Volume 11 regarding wearing hoops: “I protest against the perversions of my private conversations on this subject, and ask that what I have written and published be regarded as my settled position.”
    .
    So we see that her private letters etc. are NOT to be used to decide truth. We are to take only her “Published” writings as being her settled position. Also, as mentioned above, after the editorial committee got busy around 1883, we should be extremely careful with any books purported to be from the pen of Ellen White after that date.

  3. Thank you for your explanation regarding Ellen White’s writings.

    Your belief about Jesus nature is built on your belief about sin. If you believe in sin as nature, then you will believe that Christ took Adam’s unfallen nature. The logical conclusion is justification by imputation only. Moral perfection is not possible.

    If you believe in sin as choice, then you will believe that Christ had a sinless character in a fallen nature. The logical conclusion is justification and sanctification. Moral perfection is possible.

    The Lord Jesus Christ was loyal to God in sinful flesh. I stand righteous in the merits of Christ. God renovates my sinful life and restores me into His image.

    Justification and sanctification are gifts. It is my responsibility to maintain my relationship with Christ and to experience unceasing growth.

  4. Rom 5:19 (ALT) For even as through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted [or, caused to be] sinners, so also through the obedience of the one [Man], the many will be constituted righteous.
    .
    Yes, i do believe that because of one man’s sin, all die. And because of one man’s perfect obedience, his blood, we are all made alive when we give ourselves to him.
    .
    Rom 5:16 (ALT) And not as through one [man] having sinned [is] the gift; for on the one hand the judgment from one [offense resulted] in condemnation, on the other hand the gracious gift from many offences [resulted] in justification [or, a declared righteousness].
    .
    Justification is definitely by imputation only. There is absolutely nothing we can do to earn merit with God. Salvation is a free gift.
    .
    Moral perfection is not just possible, it is required. And it is only possible by laying hold of the one who did live the perfect life. How does believing this become impossible if i believe that Christ was entirely sinless – in not only actions, but also in hereditary tendencies?
    .
    Loma Linda Messages & Paulson Collection (not “published materials”): “He suffered, being tempted Proportionate to the perfection of His holiness, was the strength of the temptation. Because of the depravity so revolting to
    His purity, His residence in the world was a perpetual sorrow.”
    .
    Perhaps we are considering too lightly how much more difficult it was, actually, for Jesus to remain perfect in a sin-polluted cesspool, than it is for us to become perfect?
    .
    2RH 1881-15-13: “Sanctification is a progressive work. The successive steps are set
    before us in the words of Peter: “Giving all diligence, add to your
    faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance;
    and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to
    godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity;”
    “for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall; for so an entrance
    shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of
    our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
    “Here is a course by which we may be assured that we shall never
    fall. Those who are thus working upon the plan of addition in obtaining
    the Christian graces, have the assurance that God will work upon the
    plan of multiplication in granting them the gifts of his Spirit.”
    .
    So we see that while Justification is a free gift, there is a “work” we must do in our sanctification. I remember it best from when i was a little kid, when it was taught to me as “Justification is your TITLE to heaven, and Sanctification is your FITNESS for heaven.” Still good teaching today i believe.
    .
    It bears repeating – If we are born without sin, then it means that it is possible for someone, somewhere, to get to heaven without needing to go thru Jesus Christ. Is that possible?
    .
    BTW, i really enjoy being able to discuss this freely, in a loving manner 🙂

  5. Sister in Christ (RT)

    We are born with fallen natures. However, we are not sinners until we sin by an act of our will.

    Your definition of sin determines your definition of justification and sanctification.

    I believe sin is a choice. Our human nature is fallen but it is not sin. Sin is a willful, rebellious act against God. A baby is not capable of this.

  6. Really Enjoyed reading the article and all the comments before this posting. The last comment -3091- in a way seems profound however presents a dilemma in how we may think about our state at birth. And the possibility that a person could enter heaven without the need of Christ. However, Roman 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Furthermore Psalm 51:5 NIV – Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

    Apparently the willful disobedience by Adam that brought forth death goes further than we may realize or understand that only the plan of salvation was the means in which we could be reconciled back to god.

    Other words according to Psalm 51:5 even a baby in the wound is sinful. I know this may not be understandable in our finite minds but apparently the act of disobedience by Adam brought forth a seed of transgression passed on to all humanity even within the wound. (.i.e. we are born with our parents genes)

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