The only way Jesus could be God is if he was 100 percent divine. The only way he could be human is if he was 100 percent man. But how could this view, known as the “hypostatic union,” be possible?
First, let’s look at how Scripture defines the humanity of Jesus. John 1:14 says, “The Word became 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.” Jesus was eternally divine in the past, yet he took on humanity, or “became flesh,” to live on the earth. In 1 John 4:2 we read, “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.” Jesus “came in the flesh” through his virgin birth in Mary’s womb.
Second, let’s consider what the Bible says about the divine nature of Jesus. John 1:1–3 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Jesus is eternal, is God, and all things were made through him. He did not stop being God to become human though he chose not to use all his divine powers during his earthly life.
Third, let’s consider how these two natures are united as one. Hebrews 1:2–3 says, “In these last days [God has] spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” God’s image was in the person of Jesus, providing a way to God through his forgiveness of our sins.
Jesus also spoke of himself as one person. He was equal with God the Father and God the Spirit, yet he existed as God the Son. John 17:23 says, “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
This divine and human nature allowed Jesus to be part of identifying with us as humans, yet without sinning. Hebrews 4:15–16 teaches, “We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The application for us today should not be confusion, but rather boldness to approach God’s throne of grace with our needs.
The humanity and deity of Jesus are both essential to his role as the Son of God. He has identified with the human experience while also creating all humanity. This great power and love reveal his care for us and should lead us to a deeper worship of our Lord.
Used by permission from 100 Bible Questions and Answers by Alex McFarland & Bert Harper; copyright 2021, Broadstreet Publishing Group, LLC.
Rev. Alex McFarland is heard daily on the American Family Radio network and weekly on The Alex McFarland Show (podcast and YouTube channels). He directs Biblical Worldview for Charis Bible College, located in Colorado. Alex speaks frequently throughout the U.S. For more information go to https://alexmcfarland.com/speaking/.