Unity of the Person of Christ

To iterate the same things is not irksome, but safe (though my choice of “iterate” rather than “repeat” may pose cumbrous to some). I am NOT promoting or endorsing William Burt Pope as a true Christian when I quote from him, but I think his observations and comments may benefit true Christians. Pope writes:

“[In] the New Testament we shall find that One Person everywhere appears, who speaks and is spoken of sometimes as God, sometimes as man, sometimes as both; and without the slightest care to obviate possible misapprehension. The One Christ, with His two classes of attributes, is always taken for granted as familiar to Christian consciousness.

2. This unity appears also in all that is said of the Redeemer’s work. His entire mediatorial agency is not that of the Son of God only, not that of the Son of Man, but that of the Theanthropos, the GOD-MAN in His whole Person, undivided and indivisible. … As, in the Epistle to the Romans, He is the end of the law for righteousness, so, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, He is the end of the sacrifices for eternal redemption” (William Burt Pope, A Compendium of Christian Theology).


“The doctrine of the undivided and indivisible unity of the Incarnate Person is taught by the Holy [Spirit] in two ways:  first, by the language used concerning the Christ, and, secondly, by the ascription of the virtue and qualities of each of the two natures to the Saviour’s work. As to the former:

while neither of the two natures ever gives its attributes to the other, the one common Person is clothed with both classes of attributes interchangeably. As to the latter:

in all that the Savior does and suffers each nature has its distinct functions unconfounded, while both are the functions of the one common Person, whose Divine personality gives them Divine virtue:  some are Divine, some human; but all are Divine-human. These general truths were anciently summed up as follows: Christ is truly God, perfectly Man, unconfusedly in two Natures, indivisibly in one Person” (William Burt Pope, A Compendium of Christian Theology).

A couple of related passages:

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw [it,] and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:56-58).

“Then take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit placed you [as] overseers, to shepherd the assembly of God which He purchased through [His] own blood” (Acts 20:28).

And then one of the most helpful unbelievers in my estimate, commenting on Paul’s “hard speech” about God purchasing the Church with His own blood in Acts 20:28.

“But because the speech which Paul useth seemeth to be somewhat hard, we must see in what sense he saith that God purchased the Church with his blood. For nothing is more absurd than to feign or imagine God to be mortal or to have a body. But in this speech he commendeth the unity of person in Christ; for because there be distinct natures in Christ, the Scripture [doth] sometimes recite that apart by itself which is proper to either.

But when it setteth God before us made manifest in the flesh, it doth not separate the human nature from the Godhead. Notwithstanding, because again two natures are so united in Christ, that they make one person, that is improperly translated sometimes unto the one, which doth truly and in deed belong to the other, as in this place Paul doth attribute blood to God; because the man Jesus Christ, who shed his blood for us, was also God. This manner of speaking is [called], of the old writers, communicatio idiomatum, because the property of the one nature is applied to the other.

And I said that by this means is manifestly expressed one person of Christ, lest we imagine him to be double, which Nestorius did in times past attempt; and yet for all this we must not imagine a confusion of the two natures which Eutychus went about to bring in, or which the Spanish dog, Servetus, hath at this time invented, who maketh the Godhead of Christ nothing else but a form or image of the human nature, which he dreameth to have always shined in God” (John Calvin, Commentaries).