One of the most misunderstood and debated theological subjects is the truth and doctrine of true deity and humanity dwelling in one person: Jesus Christ. Yes, He is Jesus, the One and Only. Fully God and fully man. 100% God. 100% Man. But how should we understand this?
The union of undiminished deity and perfect humanity forever in one person is called the hypostatic union. This means…
Jesus always has been God. John 1:1-2 refers to Jesus Christ as the Word. It famously states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”
Jesus became man while continuing to be God. John 1:14 says, “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.”
Jesus continues to exist as God and man. (see Acts 1:9-11) This means that He limited Himself—He became fully man. But…He did not lessen Himself—He remained fully God.
But what does it mean that Jesus limited Himself?
Philippians 2:6-8 declares that 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.” This emptying is what theologians call “kenosis.”
Kenosis breaks down into these three implications: He had an addition of human attributes, not an elimination, subtraction or reduction of divine attributes. He did not give up the form/nature of God, and He accepted certain limitations upon the functioning of His divine attributes.
Some of these limitations included limiting His presence to one place and one time, taking a position in which the Father was “greater” (John 14:28), limiting His understanding (Matthew 24:36), and being tempted (Matthew 4:1-11; Hebrews 4:15)
So Jesus limited Himself…but He did not lessen Himself. He was still fully God even as He walked this earth. The decision to be born a man, to walk this earth, and die on a cross was made by Him as a part of the Trinity.
It’s difficult, at times, to wrap our minds around the fact that deity and humanity reside in one person. But an even deeper mystery is that God would willingly become a man to die for mankind, including me. To take on flesh, take my sin and take my cross.