5 Min Read


Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Creator and Redeemer. It is through His name alone that anyone can have the hope of the new heavens and the new earth and resurrection life. Theologians consider Jesus Christ according to three main categories: His person, His states, and His offices. Because Jesus Christ is central to the Christian faith, these three categories are important for understanding Christianity.


Jesus Christ is one person. This one person has two complete, inseparable, yet distinct natures: one human and the other divine. He is the second person of the triune God who, having possessed a divine nature from all eternity, added to Himself a human nature in the incarnation. His human nature is a fully human body and soul. He united the human nature to His divine nature at His conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary. This conception happened by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The one person Jesus Christ can act according to either nature, as we see in Scripture. The properties of either nature can be attributed to the one person of Jesus (this is known as the “communication of attributes”). However, each nature retains its own characteristics. His human nature has never been divine and will never start to become divine. Nor will His divine nature ever change into something less than divine. His human body and soul are finite, always sinless, and now glorified, being present in heavenat the right hand of the Father. His divine nature is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. If Jesus Christ were not truly human, He could not fully redeem humans, as the early church father Athanasius said: “Whatever was not assumed by Jesus was not healed.” If Jesus were not truly divine, then the human body and soul of Jesus could not have sustained the weight of God's wrath against sin while He was on the cross.

The states of Christ refer to the way that theologians distinguish the various parts of Christ's life and work on the basis of texts such as Philippians 2. Jesus Christ entered the state of humiliation by being born, and not in a palace or to a woman the world considered important. The course of His life and perfect obedience, active and passive, is included in His state of humiliation, as is His suffering, death, and burial. The resurrection of Jesus on the third day marked the beginning of His state of exaltation. He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and now sits at the right hand of the Father until the day of His return. These two states describe what Jesus had to do and where He had to come to save us, as well as where He takes us after death and resurrection. Being united to Christ in faith means that we follow a similar journey, except that Christ is ahead of us, drawing us after Him.

The offices of Christ refer to what He does for our salvation. He is Prophet, Priest, and King. All three of these offices are essential for our salvation. As Prophet, He reveals salvation to us, both in His own actions and in the revelation of Holy Scripture. We can see how important this is to us for salvation if we simply ask the following question: What good would it do us if Jesus did all these things for our salvation, but we never knew about it? Jesus reveals not only Himself but also the Father and the Holy Spirit. As a Priest, Jesus fulfills everything about the Old Testament sacrificial system. He is the Priest offering the sacrifice (which is Himself), and He is the temple, the place where the sacrifice is offered. He brings an end to all animal sacrifices by being the perfect and final sacrifice for sins. This He did as a substitute for us, taking the guilt and penalty that we deserve. As a King, Jesus conquers our enemies (especially Satan and his kingdom), establishes an everlasting kingdom, conquers our own rebellious hearts, and rules over us for eternity. We could not be saved if we were still in the kingdom of Satan. We need to be part of a new kingdom.

As the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ is our Prophet, Priest, and King in both His estate of humiliation and His estate of exaltation.


Imagine the discussion on 'Though he was in the form of God . . . emptied himself' (Phil. 2:6–7, RSV). Says one: 'It means Jesus became a man for a time and then went back to being God afterwards.' 'No,' says another, 'He only emptied himself of His divine attributes and then He took them up again.' 'Surely,' says another (not pausing to reflect on the miracles of Moses, Elijah, or the Apostles), 'He mixed humanity with His deity—isn't that how He was able to do miracles?' Does it really matter if those views are wrong, indeed heretical, so long as we know that Jesus saves and we witness to others about Him? After all, the important thing is that we preach the gospel. But that is precisely the point—Jesus Christ Himself is the gospel. Like loose threads in a tapestry—pull on any of these views, and the entire gospel will unravel. If the Christ we trust and preach is not qualified to save us, we have a false Christ.

Sinclair Ferguson

Does Christology Really Matter?

Tabletalk magazine

Amazingly, when Jesus began His public ministry, few recognized Him for who He was, despite overwhelming evidence that He possessed an anointing from God that far surpassed that which had rested on any other man. We know that there was great confusion about Him even after He had been ministering for some time. At one point, Jesus asked His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" (Matt. 16:13b). He was taking the pulse of His culture, getting feedback regarding the rumors about Himself. In response to Jesus' question, the disciples ticked off various views that were being put forward: "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets" (v. 14). Jesus was being identified with all kinds of people, but none of these speculations was correct. Then Jesus asked the disciples, "But who do you say that I am?" (v. 15b). Peter answered with what is known as the great confession, a statement of his belief as to the identity of Jesus: "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God" (v. 16). With these words, Peter declared that Jesus was the Christos, the Mashiach, the Anointed One.

R.C. Sproul

Jesus Christ, Anointed One

Tabletalk magazine