The Two Natures In Christ
by Dr. Martin Chemnitz
Translated by J. A. O Preus
(St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1971)
We have now made it sufficiently certain, manifest, and firm that the attributes belonging to the Deity which (according to Scripture) have been given or communicated to Christ in time, are not to be understood as having been given to His divine nature in time, but to His person but according to His assumed human nature:
1. Because the Deity from eternity to eternity is in Himself perfect and immutable, to whom in Himself it is neither necessary nor possible that anything can be added or given.
2. Because Scripture itself declares in John 5:27 that Christ has been given life and the authority to judge because He is the Son of Man.
3. Because Scripture sometimes expressly mentions the human nature by name, that the flesh of Christ makes alive (John 6:54), and that His blood purifies our consciences from sin. [Heb.9:14]
4. Because Scripture often adds a statement that it understands Christ according to that nature in which He suffered, died, and rose again, as in Eph. 1:20; 4:10; Heb. 2:9-17; etc.
5. Because the whole anceint church with unanimous consent believed and confessed (according to Scripture) that the things having been given to Christ, in time must be understood [as given] according to his human nature.
6. Because it is characteristic of heretics of all ages to refer to the divine nature of Christ those things which Scripture predicates as being given to Him in time.
In the second place, to increase, give, confer, impart, and apply this life, He uses not only His divine nature, but He adds His flesh and blood, that is, the flesh of Christ vivifies the believers not only meritoriously but also efficaciously by application and communication. For the flesh of Christ is given in a double way in John 6: first, when as a victim it is given into death for the life of the world [v.51]: and second, when it is given to the hearers and believers [vv.53-54] in order that they through and in it might have eternal life.
And when in the Lord's Supper we receive the body and blood of Christ, "we then receive the life-giving food and drink which impart and bring spiritual and eternal life to our souls and bodies," as the Council of Ephesus so correctly said.
(Chemnitz is quoting Cyril, In Johannem )
Bk.4, ch. 14, "When the flesh of the Savior is joined to the Logos who is life itself by nature, the flesh is made life-giving, and when we who have been joined to the flesh which has been made life eat this flesh, then we also have life in ourselves."
(Chemnitz is quoting Cyril, Epistola Synodica )
"In the Lord's Supper we do not receive ordinary flesh, not even that of a holy man, but the actual life-giving flesh of the Logos Himself. For sinse His life is in accord with His nature as God, and since He is one with his His flesh, He shows that His flesh is life-giving. Therefore, we do not regard this flesh as that of anyone among us. For how can the flesh of man according to its nature be life-giving? But it became the property of Him who for our sakes was made and called the Son of Man."
We have, moreover, an express word and a specific promise instituted in a particular and definite way, ordained as part of His will and testament by the Son of God Himself on the night in which He was betrayed, a promise which Christ ratified also after His ascension by sitting at the right hand of the Majesty in His glory in heaven, a promise which was repeated to Paul, a promise that He wills to be present with His body and blood in the observance of His Supper as it is celebrated in the gathering of the church here on earth in accord with His institution.
Since, therefore, the observance of the Lord's Supper is not a natural but a divine action, why should we subject it to the laws of nature and not rather to divine authority (authentia), as Justin says?
"It is impossible to give a rational answer, according to the laws of nature, concerning the things which take place in Christ's human nature through divine power, for they are things which are above or beyond nature."
On the basis of the doctrine of the personal union, therefore, this axiom is very true and sure, and all the gates of hell cannot overturn it, namely, that the Logos, can be present with His assumed human nature wherever, whenever, and however He wills, not only in some place with His essential attributes but also according to and on account of the secret and ineffable personal union of the humanity with deity. When He wishes His body or assumed nature to be present, sought, apprehended is to be decided and judged not by our own argumentation, although it may have the appearance of form of rational logic, but only on the basis of the sure Word of God revealed in Scripture.
For this presence of Christ's assumed human nature, of which we are now speaking, is not a natural or essential presence, but a voluntary and wholly free presence which depends only on the will and power of the Son of God, that is, on His promises and assertions to us whereby with definite word He assures us of His will to be present with His human nature.
. . . but because the right hand of God is not some circumscribed place or enclosed in a certain locale but rather is God's infinite majesty, power, and authority, therefore the Son of God has revealed in His Word that with His body, which He exalted to the right hand of the majesty and power of God, yet, leaving its true nature unimpaired, He can be present wherever He wills to be, not according to the natural or essential properties of His body but by reason of and through the efficacy of the majesty and power of God, at whose right hand He sits.
We must particularly beware that we do not destroy the incarnate Christ (1 John 4:2-3), that is that we do not break apart, separate, or destroy the union of the natures. But now we have the comforting promises that Christ, our head, our King and High Ppriest is present in the assembly of His church as it is gathered together in His name in the ministry of the Word and sacrament, and thus present with His entire church everywhere, that is, with all and each one of His members, thus also with me in my prayer, in my trouble, and in the guidance of my whole life.
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