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The True Gospel of Jesus Christ
Jesus Emptied Himself

Ancient Trees in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The verses below support the rarely taught Biblical truth that the Son of God and Creator of the universe emptied Himself "for a little while" to live fully and only as a man while here on this earth. Instead of being fully God and fully man at the same time as is almost universally taught, Jesus was fully man indwelled by the Holy Spirit.

On the surface, it may seem like this is just splitting hairs. But here is the distinction: the two natures teaching (fully God and fully man) says that Jesus had power within Himself to perform miracles and do the works of God, but chose not to exercise His prerogatives as God. But, the Bible teaches that Jesus emptied Himself of His power. It was at His baptism that Jesus received the Holy Spirit who became His power to do the works of the Father. The reason this is so important is that the two natures teaching obscures a most critical truth: The Holy Spirit that indwelled and empowered Jesus is the same Holy Spirit that now lives in you.

Popular teaching prevents Christians from relating to Jesus as a human, like they are, who did the works of His Father by the power of the Holy Spirit in Him. Rather, they think of Jesus as having lived a life completely out of reach to them. Most never realize that Jesus became like us so that we could live the same life of faith that He did.

If Jesus had power within Himself, then He would not have needed the Holy Spirit to indwell Him at His baptism. By not understanding the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus, believers also do not understand the importance of the Holy Spirit in their lives. The common, but false, notion is that the Holy Spirit convicts believers of their sins. This is a terrible lie because it makes you think that God will turn away from you if you slip up. God made you fully and forever righteous in your born again heart because Jesus is joined as one with you in your spirit; this is why God will never condemn you (Romans 8:1).

Both in the life of Jesus and in the lives of believers, the indwelling Holy Spirit is the power to do the works of God. It was the Father in Jesus who did His works through Jesus (John 14:10). Now, you cannot do the works of God through your own human ability and effort. Jesus does His works through you by His Spirit as you follow Him in faith. Jesus came not only to save you but also to be your model for a life of faith. 

Jesus had to become fully human for several reasons. Among them, only a human could defeat Satan's temptations; God cannot be tempted by evil (James 1:13). Also, Jesus "had to be made like his brothers in all things" (Hebrews 2:17) so that He could become a merciful high priest and so he could die for the sins of the people. Additionally, only as a human could the sinless Jesus be made to be sin so that we could be made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21). Finally, Jesus had to become fully human so that he could conquer death; since it was by a man (Adam) that death came into the world, only a man could defeat death (1 Corinthians 15:21). None of these would have been possible if Jesus had two natures.

Most people are taught that if you believe that Jesus was fully human while here on this earth, you are denying His deity. In reality, it proves His deity. Jesus, the One who was made for "a little while lower than the angels," must be He who is higher than the angels, that is, God (Hebrews 1:8; John 1:1). Jesus' prayer just before His arrest shows that He knew that His glory as the Son of God would return to Him at His resurrection (John 17:5). (For a more detailed explanation, Click Here.)

Verses About Jesus Being Fully Man

Philippians 2: 5-8 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, [6] who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, [7] but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. [8] Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a Cross.

Hebrews 2:9  But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (Popular teaching denies this verse by saying, "The human part of Jesus was made like His brethren in all things.)

1 Corinthians 15:21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. (A sinful human or even a sinless angel would not have been a sufficient sacrifice to overcome death caused by sin. Only a sinless human could be the necessary sacrifice, and only Jesus qualified as the "lamb without blemish.")

Matthew 3:16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, (The Holy Spirit was Jesus' power to do the works the Father had given Him; as a believer, you have this same Holy Spirit living in your born again spirit at all times.)

Compare ... Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
With ... James 1:13b ... for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. (Although Jesus is the Son of God and the Creator of the universe, He emptied Himself so that He could become your Savior and your model for a life of faith. Jesus, while here on this earth, could be tempted because He became fully human; God cannot be tempted by evil.)

Matthew 12:18 Behold, my servant whom I have chosen; my beloved in whom my soul is well-pleased; I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles.

Matthew 12:28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (The Holy Spirit was Jesus' power to do the miracles of God.)

Mark 13:32 But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. (Being human while here on this earth, Jesus really did not know all things.)

Luke 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness

Luke 4:14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 5:19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

John 5:30 "I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."

John 8:28 Jesus therefore said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.

John 14:10b ... The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.

Acts 2:22 Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know - (It was the Father who performed miracles and wonders through Jesus; in His own human power, Jesus could not do these miracles.)

Acts 10:38 You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Acts 17:31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.

Romans 5:15b ... much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

Colossians 1:15 And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. (What would he look like if God had a human son? He would look like Jesus!)

Colossians 1:19 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him (This is speaking of the fullness of the Holy Spirit who dwelled in Jesus.)

Colossians 2:9 For in Him (Jesus) all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, (The fullness of God now indwells all believers because God has given His Spirit ... Romans 5:5.)

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

Hebrews 2:6b-7a  ... "What is man, that you remember him? Or the Son of Man, that you are concerned about Him? [7] You have made Him for a little while lower than the angels ...

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (God cannot be tempted by evil ... James 1:13.)

1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

John 17:5 Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (Jesus had the glory of God prior to emptying Himself; when He returned to heaven, He once again assumed His glory.)

Verses Showing that Jesus is God

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born. Unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulders. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. (Note: There is controversy about the interpretation of "only begotten God.")

John 8:58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.

John 20:28 Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"

Philippians 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

Hebrews 1:8a But of the Son He says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, ...

Titus 2:13 look for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, (Note: There were no punctuation marks in the early manuscripts; some interpret this verse as "... our great God, and Savior Jesus Christ.")

2 Peter 1:1b ... To those who have received a faith of the same kind as our, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (Note: Same issues as Titus 2:13 above.)

Revelation 22:13 (Jesus speaking) "I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."

Numerous Verses: There are many verses regarding creation and redemption that are attributed specifically to God as well as to Jesus Christ, thus showing that Jesus is God. Examples: Genesis 1:1/Colossians 1:16; Isaiah 66:2a/John 1:10; Isaiah 43:11/Luke 2:11; Habakkuk 3:18/2 Timothy 1:10

A More Detailed Explanation of the "Two Natures" Teaching (a.k.a. Hypostatic Union):

The "Hypostatic Union" clause of the Trinity doctrine says that Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time while here on this earth. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is God and that He was human - just not at the same time. Theologians could not understand how God could stop being God. As a result, many different theories were offered up before the hypostatic union doctrine was declared the orthodox (majority) belief. However, there is not a word in Scripture that actually supports this "two natures" belief. Any perceived support is by inference; that is, people think a verse supports their belief. This is particularly true of Colossians 1:19 and Colossians 2:9 which speak of Jesus being filled with the Holy Spirit.

The "fully God, fully man" teaching is not a Biblical teaching. It was developed hundreds of years after Christ. Religion, at this time, was turning away from a relationship with God as the main focus, and turning to attempts to figure out who God was and how Jesus was related to the Father.

This never should have become an issue because the Apostles never attempted to reconcile "how it worked" between the truths that Jesus is God (John 1:1; Philippians 2:6; Hebrews 1:8a; Revelation 22:13) and that He was fully a man "for a little while" during His time on this earth (Hebrews 2:9,17; Acts 2:22; 1 Timothy 2:5). Human nature, it seems, has a great need to explain things where the Bible does not.

Here are some things to consider:

a. The doctrine of Hypostatic Union was developed over a period of time in the 4th and 5th centuries. Doctrines that do not come from the Apostles should always be regarded with caution; most of them are not Biblical.
b. Over the years there had been as many as a dozen competing theories about the nature of Jesus, his deity and his humanity. By the time of the Council of Nicea in AD 325, there were really only two competing beliefs, the Arian belief that Jesus was a created being and the much more common belief that Jesus and the Father were of the same substance and existed eternally. The hypostatic union was the belief was formally adopted. The process was often very political, with a lot of bickering, and can hardly be considered something that the Holy Spirit was leading.
c. The Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, the council which developed the final version of the "two natures" doctrine, is the same Council that reaffirmed Mary to be "Theotokos," or "God-bearer," which eventually led to the near-universal veneration and worship of Mary within the Catholic church. How can one declaration become the gateway doctrine of "Christianity" while a second be the path that has led millions into idol worship?
d. This is a Catholic doctrine. Should this be the foundational doctrine of Christianity? Should this be the litmus test for being a "real" Christian?

If you ask someone to explain how Jesus could be fully God and fully man at the same time, the answer would be something like this, "The Hypostatic Union is a mystery that no one can fully understand." Even though no one can really understand it, you are declared a heretic by institutional Christianity if you don't believe it. Note: Being a heretic only implies that you don't believe the majority (orthodox) position; it doesn't mean that you are wrong. Jesus was widely considered to be a heretic; that was the justification for putting Him to death.

This is not just a theological debate; as stated above the hypostatic union doctrine impedes understanding of the most critical issue in the life of every believer: The Holy Spirit that indwelled and empowered Jesus now indwells you in order for you to be a functioning member of the Body of Christ. The power that God has given through His Spirit has been "taught out" of most believers.

Ask yourself a few questions:

1) How many sermons (or books, conferences, etc.) have you ever heard that talk about Jesus being filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38; Luke 4:1,14; Matthew 12:28)?
2) How many sermons have you ever heard that tell you that the reason you are saved is that God's righteous life (1 Corinthians 3:16,17b; Ephesians 4:24) and eternal life (1 John 1:2; 5:11,12) live in your born again heart?
3) or that the Holy Spirit is your power to live the Christian life (Galatians 2:20)?
4) or that you can never do anything for God apart from Christ's indwelling life (John 15:5)?

The truth of Scripture is not being taught because it does not fit well with the "how to live a Christian life" form of teaching that is so dominant today. There is no "how to" in the life of a believer. God sent His Spirit to indwell Jesus; this is how the Father did His works through Jesus (John 14:10b). This is how Christ now works through you (Romans 8:11). The Christian life is a life of faith, that is, following the indwelling life of Christ with your mortal mind and body as Christ lives out His life in your born again heart.

Note: The "Holy Spirit indwelling you," "Christ in you" or the "Spirit of God dwelling in you" all mean the same thing. (See Romans 8:9,10a).

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