Previous article in this series: June 2022, p. 402.
Two Natures in Christ We therefore acknowledge two natures or substances, the divine and the human, in one and the same Jesus Christ our Lord (Hebrews 2). And we say that these are bound and united with one another in such a way that they are not absorbed, or confused, or mixed, but are united or joined together in one person— the properties of the natures being unimpaired and permanent.
The fifth chapter of the SHC is concerned with the church’s confession that Jesus Christ is true God and true man. This is the heart of the gospel. Everything that the church is and all that she is called to do depends on this fundamental confession of faith. If it is not true that Jesus Christ is both God and man, then there is no reason to preach His gospel or to live as His disciples. But because He is God and man, united in the person of the second person of the Trinity, He is worthy of being confessed, proclaimed, believed in, and obeyed.
This paragraph is concerned to confess that the “two natures or substances, the divine and the human” are joined “in one and the same Jesus Christ our Lord.” This is the fundamental confession of the Christian religion. This is Christianity. It is Christianity because of who Christ is and what Christ does. All who refuse to join the SHC in its declaration concerning the Christ of Christianity, forfeit the right to be called “Christian.” Whatever else they are, they are not Christians.
It is the truth that He is both God and man that qualifies Jesus Christ to be “the only Savior of the world,” as the title of this chapter declares. If He is not human and divine, neither can He be the Savior of the world. The justice of God demands that Christ must be both human and divine.
The one Scripture passage that Bullinger cites in this paragraph is Hebrews 2. He references the entire second chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews because the truth of the union of Christ’s two natures is woven throughout the chapter.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man (v. 9).
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings (v. 10).
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (vv. 14-15).
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham (v. 16).
Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in all things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people (v. 17).
In the second part of this fifth paragraph, Bullinger deliberately borrows the privative statements of the Creed of Chalcedon, AD 451, which acknowledges Christ in two natures: “without confusion, without change, without division, without separation.” Similarly, Bullinger says that the two natures of Christ “are bound and united with one another in such a way that they are not absorbed, or confused, or mixed, but are united or joined together in one person.” Christ’s human nature was not deified, nor was His divine nature humanized. They remain two distinct natures within the one divine person of the Son of God. Chalcedon condemned those who taught that Christ had only a single nature, a divine nature, into which the human was absorbed, as well as those who taught a mixture of His two natures.
Bullinger’s reference to the Creed of Chalcedon,