This article looks at the nature which we have and which the Lord Jesus Christ also shared.

The Apostle’s Description

 Hebrews 2:14 is very clear. We have a body of flesh and blood and, to take up Bro John Carter’s analysis, Jesus:

  • partook of the same nature,
  • likewise partook of the same nature,
  • himself likewise partook of the same nature,
  • also himself likewise partook of the same nature.

In Romans 8 Paul describes Jesus as being “in the likeness of sinful flesh”. In other words, he  shared with us the same body which decays and the nature which tends to sin.

In Colossians 1:22 Paul describes Jesus’ work of reconciliation as being in the “body of his flesh”, while in Ephesians 2 the reconciliation (v16) is linked to “his flesh” (v15).

The following chart summarises Paul’s teaching regarding the relationship of Christ to our nature and the purpose and result of the work of reconciliation.

4-1-marys son

The Apostle’s teaching is that the nature of Christ was a central element in the work of reconciliation. There had to be a very clear demonstration that the nature which we inherit is rightly condemned and that God alone must be exalted.

The Change Which Came Upon Mankind

 From the beginning, our nature was not so. Genesis 1:31 describes the created man as “very good”. “God has made man upright” is Solomon’s assessment. And the original innocence of Adam and Eve is clear in the expression, “they were both naked… and were not ashamed”.

That a significant change had occurred is shown by Adam’s rejoinder, “… and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Gen 3:10). The once upright Adam now had a knowledge and experience of both good and evil, and its inheritance was a proneness to sin. The stream of life had been infected at its source. So Paul could say in Romans 5:12 that:

“… by one man

  • sin entered into the world, and
  • death by sin;
  • and so death passed upon all men,
  • for that all have sinned”.

All have sinned because all have inherited a nature which is selfish and rebellious and which, left to itself, tends to disobedience.

The Sentence of Death

 The sentence of death which was pronounced upon Adam and Eve affected them in a very real and physical way—“in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground, … unto dust thou shalt return” (Gen 3:19). The Psalmist echoes the change: “Thou turnest man to destruction” (Psa 90:3); “When Thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, Thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth” (Psa 39:11).

Other parts of the sentence also showed a physical change:

  • the serpent’s movement (Gen 3:14),
  • the frequency and labour of child-bearing (v16), and
  • the ground cover (v17–18).

All confirmed that there was a stark penalty of sin, “dying thou shalt die” (2:17).

Sin’s Intrusion

 Thereafter things were never the same. What started with desires in Eve (“good for foodpleasant to the eyesto be desired”) now became rampant principles which dominated men’s minds; so much so that the Apostle John would in time assess them as being the source of all that is evil in the world and assuredly being “not of the Father” (1 John 2:16). Even right through to the Apostle Paul, sin would produce in him “coveting of every kind”, even “taking opportunity through the commandment” (Rom 7:8 NASV).

Sin had well and truly intruded into human life. In summary Solomon could say, “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not” (Eccl 7:20).

The experience of all men was similar:

  • Zelophehad, the father of only daughters, was said to die “in his own sin” (Num 27:3)
  • Solomon in his great prayer said that “there is no man that sinneth not” (1 Kings 8:46)
  • a just man falleth seven times” (Prov 24:16),
  • Who can say, I have made my heart clean?” (Prov 20:9)
  • If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (1 John 1:8)
  • I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me” (Rom 7:21).

Paul’s comment that “death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” is well and truly part of our experience.

An Hereditary Matter

 The problem engulfed all because all were of Adam, inheriting the hereditary characteristics of sin, disease and death. There was no escape, for “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean” (Job 14:4). “What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?” (Job 15:14). “How can he be clean which is born of a woman” (Job 25:4).

Scripture keeps emphasising that the problem of sin is an hereditary matter: “in sin did my mother conceive me”; “they go astray as soon as they be born”; “foolishness is bound in the heart of a child”; “a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Psa 51:5; 58:3,4; Prov 22:15; 29:15).

So mankind then was enmeshed by and unable to escape from sin. Jeremiah expressed the hopelessness in the words, “it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (10:23). Man exhibited great activity in all spheres, but no one escaped the constraints of his nature.

“Made of a Woman”

 That nature became the inheritance of the son of Mary. That must have been so, as he was “made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal 4:4). A virgin had conceived and brought forth a son (Isa 7:14). How then could he not be a sharer of our nature? He is clearly portrayed a child born, as well as a son given (Isa 9:6). While the holy thing born of Mary would be the Son of God, he would be her son, conceived in her womb and brought forth to birth (Luke 1:35). And when the time would come for circumcision, there would be no difference between this birth and any other (Luke 2:21). Mary, like all other Jewish mothers, brought a sacrifice of sin and burnt offerings as required by the law, her offerings being of the simplest kind (Luke 2:22–24; Lev 12:6–8).

So the Scripture is quite clear—Jesus bore the same nature as ourselves—“he also himself likewise took part of the same”. He was “made in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:7), “made like unto his brethren” (Heb 2:17,18), “is come in the flesh” (1 John 4:2) and “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom 8:3). Of course he was also in“the image of the invisible God”, “the express image of His person” (Col 1:15; Heb 1:3), but in this article we are just making clear the inheritance obtained from Mary.

That simple clear doctrine, based on the thrust of many passages, stands out from the “fuzzy logic” of those who seek to change the facts; from the Trinitarian who ends up with a God occupying flesh in a literal sense, being born through an “Immaculate Conception” which insulated him from the effects of our nature; and from any who might say that Jesus did not need to die for himself because his nature was “clean”.

The simple facts: Jesus partook of flesh and blood, was in the likeness of sinful flesh, and, through the death of the body of his flesh, removed the enmity and brought reconciliation which has given us a great hope of life forever.