The Incarnation & the Chalcedonian Definition

The sermon this past Sunday looked at the beautiful story of the virgin conception and birth of Jesus which points us to the great doctrine on the incarnation.  Central to our faith is the reality that God became a human, that divinity put on flesh and dwelt among us.  Central to our faith is the truth that Jesus is fully and completely God, one in the same as the One True and Living God revealed in Scripture.  He exists eternally as God and never divested anything from His divinity.  Yet, Jesus also became wholly human, taking on all that we experience as people in the world.  This means that Jesus has two distinct natures that exist in a single person, and that is a mystery.

The early church wrestled with how to explain and define this mystery.  Our salvation depends on our belief in the real person of Jesus Christ and not some made up person.  We must get this right, while at the same time realizing that the more we believe the truths of Christ’s person the more we will realize that these truths are greater than us and larger than our understanding.  The early church sought to understand the Scriptures and give clarity to the character of God and the person of Jesus Christ.  In 451 leaders in the church gathered at Chalcedon located in modern day Turkey to give theological definition to this great truth, and they developed what is now known as the Chalcedonian Definition or Creed, which we recited together on Sunday. Wanted to share it out so everyone can read again.

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess One and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body;
consubstantial (of the same substance) with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood;
in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood;
one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ;as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.


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