Just one more weekend to pass through before I hop a train for Edinburgh, to participate in the biannual Edinburgh Dogmatics Conference and present a short paper on Tuesday afternoon. The topic of this year’s event is the Doctrine of Sanctification.
As promised, here’s a little preview of my contribution:
Jesus Christ’s Fallen and Gifted Nature
As The Pattern For Christian Sanctification
This paper aims to explore the human nature of Jesus Christ as the christological ground for the believer’s sanctification. Specifically, I will take up two related matters: 1) the question of whether Christ’s humanity was a fallen nature, like ours, or a pristine nature like Adam possessed prior to the Fall; and 2) the special gifts of grace which the tradition has affirmed this human nature received by virtue of its union with the divine Son (including the gift of Jesus’ sinlessness). The first topic puts into conversation the curious argument of Karl Barth and one recent criticism of the ‘fallenness’ position, that of Oliver Crisp. In the second topic, I will turn to the Lutheran and Reformed orthodox doctrine of the communicatio gratiarum to explore the variety of gifts that Christ’s human nature is said to receive, and how they relate to the believer’s own graced life in Christ. I suggest that these two aspects of Christology – fallenness and giftedness – pattern the human person’s own life of alienation from and union with God. The Son of God becomes completely like us in His state of humility, and utterly unlike us in His glorification – in order that we, being what He was in His fallenness, may become what He is in His glory (though in way appropriate to our creatureliness). Christian sanctification, therefore, is itself a divine gift, rooted in Christ’s own life, necessitated by human fallenness yet made possible by the grace which the Father has already shown to humanity in the life of His Son.