More Than A Prophet—Solo Christo // The Solas – Part 5

This article is the fifth of a series on the “Solas” of the Protestant Reformation. They will post each Thursday here on The Post.

So much has been said and written about Jesus Christ over the centuries. Much of it is good and edifying, but not all of it. Jesus—the man from Nazareth—had a polarizing effect on people. Many who followed Him were not those you’d expect, and many theologians and religious leaders opposed Him while he lived on earth.

But there’s far more to the person of Jesus Christ than what we can know historically. Who He is and the purpose of His presence on earth is often misunderstood. I’ve noticed people often have a personal view of Jesus that fits what is important to them. This becomes clear when you ask people who Jesus is and why He’s important to them. Typically, these personal views reveal ignorance about the full identity of Jesus. “He was a prophet… a good man… a good teacher… a revolutionary,” and the list goes on.

But many people, when asked if Jesus is God, struggle with this truth. I know I did in my journey of faith. “How could Jesus be human and God?” This is a puzzle to many people, including Christian believers. And yet, understanding the dual nature of Jesus is essential to realize who Jesus is.

Solo Christo

Unless Jesus was fully human, He could not provide His substitutionary atonement for all humanity. Yet, unless Jesus was truly God in nature and without the stain of humanity’s sin, His sacrificial death would not be acceptable as a means of reconciliation with God for all humanity.

These statements may seem simplistic, but they’re true and essential for a full understanding of salvation by faith through God’s grace. Without this understanding, Solo Christo, or Solus Christus—through Christ aloneis just an abstract theological belief.

When I started following Jesus, I didn’t fully comprehend the significance of this truth. I don’t remember if anyone explained this to me. If they did, I didn’t get it. I remember spending hours reading the Bible and marking the references to Christ’s deity on the inside leaf of my Bible. Eventually, it sunk in. Either I’m a slow learner or just plain skeptical. Maybe a bit of both. The better I understood the dual nature of Jesus—being fully human and fully God—the greater my understanding of Christ’s atoning death and resurrection deepened.

Teaching through the book of Hebrews at our Bible school in the Philippines, I realized how little many Christian believers understood this, whatever their background. I found that interactive discussion and explanation with the students (and staff) began to bear much fruit toward a fuller understanding of the truth of Christ’s dual nature.

During this time, I developed several messages focused on what I came to call the Essential Gospel. These messages became the nucleus for my book, The Mystery of the Gospel. Here is a simple summary of the Essential Gospel—He Came, He Died, He Rose. What’s essential is knowing who He is—Jesus Christ, the God-Man—the Son of God who offered Himself as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29) through His death and resurrection.

Before we leave this theological truth of Solo Christo, here are a few important references and truths to keep in mind about who Jesus is. If you have any doubts or questions about who Jesus is or His dual nature, I encourage you to look these references up, read them, and process them for yourself.

Jesus is the only mediator between God and man, as Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:5, and Jesus told the apostles on the night He was betrayed (John 14:6-11). No angel, no church leader, no institution, or anyone or anything else can take His place. He is our Intercessor as we’re told in the Book of Hebrews 4:14-16; 7:25, and also in Romans 8:34. Jesus is the one who bridges the gap between God and humanity and knows our greatest needs. Jesus is the only legitimate access to God the Father and the one who reveals the Father to us (John 1:1, 14, 18; 10:7; 14:6, 9).

Jesus was fully human, yet without sin (Hebrews 2:14-18; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus is fully God in nature from His virgin birth through the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:30-35) to His physical life on the earth (Colossians 1:15-20; 2:9). There are three important declarations every follower of Jesus needs to lay hold of in the text of Colossians 1:15-20—Jesus is our Creator, our Sustainer, and our Redeemer.

Jesus asked His closest followers what people were saying about Him before He told them what would take place in the months to come. Then Jesus asked them directly, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13-16)

So, who do you think Jesus is? How does your personal view of Jesus line up with the Scriptures?

Understanding terms—

Many of the theological terms used by Christians become like a foreign language to nonbelievers. Believers need to understand these terms well enough to put them in their own words, or as I call it IYOW (In Your Own Words).

I’ve tried to give some simple clarification of terms in these posts, but I encourage you to make your own effort to understand these terms so you can explain them IYOW to others. If there’s a specific theological term that proves hard to grasp, let me know. I’ll at least point you in the right direction for an answer if I can’t help you with my explanation.

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