Because of the dual nature of Christ being fully God and fully human, I insist on an exploration of Jesus equipped with both the factual historical evidence as well as the momentum of faith. Contrary to a necessarily “above or below” notion of the person of Christ, an Augustinian view is what is most appropriate in Christology. While not dismissing the value of the “above” or “below” approaches to Christology (as Jesus verifies both in Scripture) (Matt 16:15-17, Luke 7:19-22), the Augustinian view provides that faith precedes but does not overwhelm all other aspects of understanding and is not permanently independent of reason. Incorporating the Holy Spirit is necessary for Christology and therefore the strength of this model is that one’s faith allows reason to function in a way it simply couldn’t on its’ own, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In the search for the historical facts of Jesus, we need to avoid the slippery slope of forgetting the “why” behind the actions. I maintain that we should use the gifts of both faith and reason (history) in a mutually dependent, complementary way in order to gain as much understanding as possible into the person and work of Jesus Christ, especially in understanding His unified person within the Trinity.
I fully implore the Orthodox formula which declares Jesus in a hypostatic union, fully God and fully human (Col 2:9), united as one person with two natures. The distinction of the natures does not nullify the unity.
Scripture supports Jesus’s deity in His ability to judge (Matt 25:31-46), to forgive (Mark 2:5), to give life (John 5:21), of being one with the Father (John 10:30), having preexistence (John 8:58), of being “Lord of the Sabbath”(Mark 2:27-28), as the “Son of God”(John 19:7), and the many other deified titles. The New Testament is full of explanation of Jesus’ deity, especially seen in the Gospel of John, Hebrews, the Pauline epistles and boldly in Revelation. There are many parallels in the Old Testament also confirming Him as God (Gen 1:26, Isa 53 and 53:12, Dan. 7:13). It is also easy to distinguish Jesus’ humanity in Scripture. He experienced emotion (John 11:35), hunger (Luke 4:2), thirst (John 19:28), weariness, and fatigue (John 4:6). He thought (Matt 12:25), He prayed (Luke 6:12), He worshiped (Luke 4:16), He told stories (Luke 15:3), He sweat (Luke 22:44), He bled (1 Peter 1:19) and He slept (Mark 4:35). The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Scripture validates Jesus in history and teaches of Him in faith – and thus studying Scripture is therefore the only means of gaining more understanding of Him (aside from prayer).
Christ holds various offices as referenced in the Old Testament, such as “king” (Isa 9:6, Matt 2:2, 21:5, 27:11, ), “prophet”(Matt 21:11, Luke 13:33), and priestly “sacrifice” (Eph 5:2, Heb 9:26-27, 10:12, 1 John 1:7) among other titles, but all such titles referenced to Him are elevated in his presence and united in purpose. As the Prophet, Jesus delivers the Word of God from the “above” view. As the Priestly Sacrifice, He delivers the sacrifice of Himself from the “below” perspective. As King He unites all purposes.
I maintain the Penal Substitution theory of Atonement, stating that Christ’s death paid the penalty we would have otherwise been accountable for, for our sins (Rom 6:23). The Atonement made salvation possible, and the resurrection was the proof of the transaction taking place. In the Atonement, Christ broke the chains of mankind being in bondage to the Law with no hope for redemption on our own. No finite sacrifice would have sufficed; Christ’s infinite value was necessary. This theory is grounded logically, Biblically, and permanently; thus supporting the everlasting relationship between God and the Christian, and further extending to all humanity as willingly received by them.
The person and the work of Christ therefore are inseparable, both as Holy and perfect, and it is integral to realize the perfection in the balance of the office of Christ and the work of Christ. His “offices” do not diminish the fact of His deity. All the facts of the life of Jesus lead us to the ultimate knowledge that He is indeed the Son of God, fully God and fully human, and the second person of the Trinity.