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Catechism Insight – Doctrinal Standards WSC #22

Doctrinal Standards WSC #22 (1 of 2 weeks)

  • Q. How did Christ, the Son of God, become man?
  • A. Christ, the Son of God, became man by assuming a real body and a reasoning soul. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, who gave birth to Him; yet He was sinless.

Memory Verses

  • And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, ESV).

Scripture

  • Study Passage: Luke 1:26-38
  • Support Passages: John 1:1-18; Philippians 2:5-11; I Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:15; I John 1:1-4, 4:1-3
  • Bible Story: Luke 2:1-20

Thoughts

  • We can learn much about God’s love, grace and mercy when we understand what it meant for Jesus Christ to come to us in the form of a man. Philippians 2:4–8 provides us with a glimpse into the humility, sacrifice, and love of our God, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
  •  “When the Catechism speaks of a ‘true body,’ it means that Jesus took unto himself the same kind of body that we ourselves possess (expect for sin). This point is stressed because of a heresy known as ‘Docestim.’ In early Christian history there were some who held that Christ only seemed (or appeared) to have a physical body. They said that God could not really have a human body, that He could not really suffer and die.” [1]
  • “When the Catechism says that Jesus had a ‘reasonable soul,’ it means that just as we have a body and a soul, so Christ also had a human soul as well as a human body. In the early history of the Church there were those who admitted that Jesus had a ‘true body,’ but did not admit that He also had a ‘reasonable soul.’ They thought that the divine nature (Christ as God) took the place of a soul within His body. But this too is a denial of that which Scripture clearly teaches, and of that which is necessary to our salvation. Just as the Bible speaks of Christ’s hunger, thirst, pain, etc. (which prove that he had a human body), so it also speaks of his feeling sorrow, and grief, and of his increasing in wisdom etc. (which prove that He also had a reasonable soul). As the Bible says, ‘Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2:17–18, ESV).” [2]

Discussion Questions

  • What kind of suffering did Christ subject himself to by becoming a man?
  • What kind of temptations do you think Jesus experienced?
  • What do you think it was like to be a part of Jesus physical family?
  • Can Jesus sympathize or understand the temptations and hard times we face? Explain.
  • How is the love of God revealed by the fact that Jesus the Son of God came to this earth as a man?


[1] Williams, G.I (2003). The Westminster Shorter Catechism (2nd ed.). Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing Company


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