National Association of Christian Ministers Summary Series: Theology
Christology is the branch of Christian theology that focuses on the study of Jesus Christ—his nature, personhood, and role within the framework of Christianity. It explores beliefs about who Jesus is, his relationship to God, his work of salvation, and his significance for believers. While there can be variations in emphasis and interpretation among different Christian traditions, there are several key aspects that are generally recognized in Christology.
1. Jesus as the Incarnate Son of God: Christian Christology affirms that Jesus is the Son of God who took on human flesh, becoming fully God and fully man. This belief is rooted in the biblical accounts of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection. Christians believe that in the person of Jesus, God became uniquely present in the world to reveal His nature and redeem humanity.
2. The Hypostatic Union: Christology teaches that in Jesus, there is a union of two distinct natures, the divine and the human. This union is known as the hypostatic union. Christians believe that Jesus is one person with two natures—divine and human—without confusion, mixture, or change. He is both fully God and fully man simultaneously.
3. The Work of Salvation: Christology explores Jesus’ role in bringing salvation to humanity. Christians believe that Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and his subsequent resurrection provide forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God. Christology emphasizes the redemptive significance of Jesus’ atoning work, which restores the broken relationship between God and humanity.
4. Titles and Roles of Jesus: Christology examines the various titles and roles attributed to Jesus in the Bible. Jesus is referred to as the Messiah (Christ), the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Savior, the Lamb of God, and the Word made flesh, among other titles. Each title signifies different aspects of Jesus’ identity, mission, and relationship to God and humanity.
5. The Trinity: Christology explores the relationship between Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit within the framework of the Trinity. Christians believe that Jesus is the second person of the Trinity—fully divine and eternally existing with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Christology considers the interactions and roles of Jesus within the Triune Godhead.
6. The Second Coming: Christology addresses the belief in Jesus’ promised return. Christians anticipate the future return of Jesus in glory, where he will judge the living and the dead and establish his eternal kingdom. This belief emphasizes Jesus’ role as the eschatological figure who brings final redemption and consummates God’s plan for creation.
Christology is a complex and rich field of study within Christianity, encompassing theological reflection, biblical interpretation, and devotion to the person and work of Jesus Christ. It seeks to understand and articulate the significance of Jesus’ identity and mission, providing a foundation for Christian faith and practice.