Tag Archives: Christology

“The perfections of the Son of God” by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430)

“Do not separate the Son from the perfections of God, for those perfections of the Father are not to be mentioned in such a way as to be withdrawn from Him who said: ‘I and the Father are one,’ and of whom the Apostle says: ‘Who, though he was by nature God, did not consider it robbery to be equal to God.’

Now, robbery is the usurpation of another’s property even though there be an equality in nature. In view of this, how will the Son not be omnipotent, since through Him all things were made and since He is also the Power and Wisdom of God?

Moreover, in that form in which He is equal to the Father He is by nature invisible. In fact, the Word of God is invisible by nature because He was in the beginning and He was God.

In this same nature He is also completely immortal, that is, He remains immutable in every respect. For the human soul is also said to be immortal to a certain extent, but that is not genuine immortality in which there is such great change, making it possible to fail and to advance.

Thus, it is death for the human soul to be severed from the life of God through the ignorance which is in the soul; but it is life for it to run to the fountain of life, so that in the light of God it may see light. Immediately after this life you, too, through the grace of Christ, will be restored from certain death which you renounce.

But the Word of God, the only-begotten Son, always lives unchangeably with His Father. He neither decreases, because His abiding presence is not lessened; nor does He advance, because His perfection is not increased.

He Himself is the Creator of the visible and invisible worlds, because, as the Apostle says: ‘In him were created all things in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether Thrones, or Dominations, or Principalities, or Powers. All things have been created through and unto him, … and in him all things hold together.’

However, since He ‘emptied himself,’ not losing the nature of God, but ‘taking the nature of a slave,’ He, the invisible, became visible in this form of a servant, because He was born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary.

In this form of a servant, the Omnipotent One became weak, in that He suffered under Pontius Pilate.

In this form of a servant, the Immortal One died, in that He was crucified and was buried.

In this form of a servant, the King of ages rose on the third day.

In this form of a servant, the Creator of things visible and invisible ascended into heaven, whence He had never departed.

In this form of a servant, He who is the arm of the Father, and of whom the Prophet says: ‘And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?’ sits at the right of the Father.

In this form of a servant, He will come to judge the living and the dead, for in this form He wished to be a Companion of the dead inasmuch as He is the Life of the living.

Through Him the Holy Spirit was sent by the Father and by Himself, the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, sent by both, begotten by neither; the unity of both, equal to both.

This Trinity is one God, omnipotent, invisible, King of ages, Creator of things visible and invisible.

For we do not speak of three Lords, or of three Omnipotent Ones, or of three Creators or of three of whatever other perfections of God can be mentioned, because there are not three Gods but only one God.

Although in this Trinity, the Father is not the Son, nor is the Son the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit the Son or the Father, yet the Father belongs to the Son; the Son, to the Father; and the Holy Spirit, to both the Father and the Son.

Believe so that you may understand. For, unless you believe, you will not understand.

As a result of this faith, hope for grace by which all your sins will be forgiven. Only in this way and not by your own efforts will you be saved, for salvation is a gift of God.”

–Augustine of Hippo, “On the Presentation of the Creed,” Sermons on the Liturgical Seasons (ed. Hermigild Dressler; trans. Mary Sarah Muldowney; vol. 38; The Fathers of the Church; Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1959), 38: 117–120.

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“The resurrection of Christ is the ‘Amen’ of the Father upon the ‘Finished’ of the Son” by Herman Bavinck

“The resurrection is the day of Christ’s crowning. He was Son and Messiah already before His incarnation. He was that also in His humiliation. But then His inner being was hidden under the form of a servant.

Now, however, God openly cries out and declares Him to be Lord and Christ, Prince and Savior. Now Christ takes up again that glory which He had before with the Father (John 17:5).

After this He takes on ‘another form,’ another figure, a different form of existence. He who was dead has become alive, and lives in all eternity, and He has the keys of heaven and of hell (Rev. 1:18).

He is the Prince of life, the source of salvation, and the one appointed by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead.

Further, the resurrection of Christ is a fountain of good for His church and for the whole world. It is the ‘Amen‘ of the Father upon the ‘Finished‘ of the Son.

Christ was delivered up for our sins and raised for our justification (Rom. 4:25).”

–Herman Bavinck, Our Reasonable Faith or The Wonderful Works of God (trans. Henry Zylstra; Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2016), 350-351.

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“Christ was God, and is God, and will forever remain God” by Herman Bavinck

“Christ was God, and is God, and will forever remain God. He was not the Father, nor the Spirit, but the Son, the own, only-begotten, beloved Son of the Father.

And it was not the Divine being, neither the Father nor the Spirit, but the person of the Son who became man in the fulness of time. And when He became man and as man went about on earth, even when He agonized in Gethsemane and hung on the cross, He remained God’s own Son in whom the Father was well pleased (had all His pleasure).

It is true, of course, as the apostle says, that Christ, being in the form of God, did not think it robbery to be equal with God, yet made Himself of no reputation and emptied Himself (Phil. 2:6–7).

But it is a mistake to take this to mean, as some do, that Christ, in His incarnation, in the state of humiliation, completely or partly divested Himself of His Divinity, laid aside His Divine attributes, and thereupon in the state of exaltation gradually assumed them again.

For how could this be, since God cannot deny Himself (2 Tim. 2:13), and as the Immutable One in Himself far transcends all becoming and change? No, even when He became what He was not, He remained what He was, the Only-Begotten of the Father.

But it is true that the Apostle says that in this sense Christ made Himself of no reputation: being in the form of God, He assumed the form of a man and a servant.

One can express it humanly and simply in this way: before His incarnation Christ was equal with the Father not alone in essence and attributes, but He had also the form of God.

He looked like God, He was the brightness of His glory, and the expressed image of His person. Had anyone been able to see Him, he would immediately have recognized God.

But this changed at His incarnation. Then He took on the form of a human being, the form of a servant. Whoever looked at Him now could no longer recognize in Him the Only-Begotten Son of the Father, except by the eye of faith.

He had laid aside His Divine form and brightness. He hid His Divine nature behind the form of a servant. On earth He was and He looked like one of us.”

–Herman Bavinck, Our Reasonable Faith or The Wonderful Works of God (trans. Henry Zylstra; Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2016), 305-306.

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“The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the very marrow and kernel of all the Scriptures” by John Flavel

“The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the very marrow and kernel of all the Scriptures; the scope and center of all divine revelations: both Testaments meet in Christ.

The ceremonial law is full of Christ, and all the gospel is full of Christ: the blessed lines of both Testaments meet in Him.

And how they both harmonize, and sweetly concentrate on Jesus Christ, is the chief scope of that excellent epistle to the Hebrews. For we may call that epistle the sweet harmony of both Testaments.

The right knowledge of Jesus Christ, like a clue, leads you through the whole labyrinth of the Scriptures.”

–John Flavel, The Works of the John Flavel (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1820/1997), 1: 34.

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“There is no doctrine more excellent in itself than the doctrine of Jesus Christ” by John Flavel

“There is no doctrine more excellent in itself, or more necessary to be preached and studied, than the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

All other knowledge, how much soever it be magnified in the world, is, and ought to be esteemed but dross, in comparison to the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ.”

–John Flavel, The Works of the John Flavel (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1820/1997), 1: 34.

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“Eternity itself cannot fully unfold Him” by John Flavel

“Though something of Christ be unfolded in one age, and something in another, yet eternity itself cannot fully unfold Him.

I see something, said Luther, which blessed Augustine saw not; and those that come after me, will see that which I see not.

It is in the studying of Christ, as in the planting of a new discovered country.

At first men sit down by the sea-side, upon the skirts and borders of the land. And there they dwell, but by degrees they search farther and farther into the heart of the country.

Ah, the best of us are yet but upon the borders of this vast continent!”

–John Flavel, The Works of the John Flavel (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1820/1997), 1: 36.

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“A Bridegroom who is beautiful wherever He is” by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430)

“God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness more powerful than human strength. Let us who believe, therefore, run to meet a Bridegroom who is beautiful wherever He is.

Beautiful as God, as the Word who is with God, He is beautiful in the Virgin’s womb, where He did not lose His Godhead but assumed our humanity.

Beautiful He is as a baby, as the Word unable to speak, because while He was still without speech, still a baby in arms and nourished at His mother’s breast, the heavens spoke for Him, a star guided the Magi, and He was adored in the manger as food for the humble.

He was beautiful in heaven, then, and beautiful on earth: beautiful in the womb, and beautiful in His parents’ arms.

He was beautiful in His miracles but just as beautiful under the scourges.

Beautiful as He invited us to life, but beautiful too in not shrinking from death.

Beautiful in laying down His life and beautiful in taking it up again.

Beautiful on the cross, beautiful in the tomb, and beautiful in heaven.

Listen to this song (i.e. Psalm 45) to further your understanding, and do not allow the weakness of His flesh to blind you to the splendor of His beauty.

He is lovely in all respects.”

–Augustine of Hippo, Exposition of Psalm 44, in Expositions of the Psalms, 33–50, ed. John E. Rotelle, trans. Maria Boulding (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2000), 283.

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