Service with AR Bernard

July 10, 2009

What an awesome night! It’s so surreal, our photos would put Salvador Dali to shame. I’m so proud to be in HOGC, so proud to be under Pastor How & Lia…

Dr. AR Bernard’s sermon, completely mind-blowing. For those who are interested to find out more:

(Please note that in no way am I saying this is 100% Gospel truth. This is just my personal interpretation (susceptible to flaws), based on research and hopefully revelation, which I hope will help in some way…)

Essentially, the word hypostatic originates from the Greek: ὑπόστασις, {“[h]upostasis”},”hypostasis”, translated reality or person

At the heart of the subject of the hypostatic union is the ‘Incarnation‘ – that God actually took on human form and dwelt among us. Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (which translates: God with us)” Hundreds of years later, the prophecy is reaffirmed: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,”[a] which is translated, “God with us.” (Matt 1:23). Dr. Bernard went on to quote John 1 (Read it! Bible Scholars agree that it is one of the most poignant of passages) v. 14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth”

So we know about the Incarnation… what about hypostatic union? Basically, it means that Jesus was the union of two natures (Divine and Human) in one hypostases (Reality, Form). The Church fathers concluded in the fifth general council in Constantinople in 533 AD that this meant:

1. The Incarnate Jesus wasn’t just God indwelling in a man. (I.e. it wasn’t as if he were a baby and he could think and feel like God, knowing all things.)

2. The Incarnate Jesus had a rational soul. He had his own mind, will and emotions – it wasn’t as if He were a puppet controlled by Father God (umm… that’s as far as our finite minds can fathom). That is why Satan could tempt him, that is why Jesus could say that whatever He sees the Father doing, He does (John 5:19), and that’s why Jesus had to say “Not my will but yours be done” when He was about to go to the cross – Jesus had an independent will, but he willed to align that will to that of the Father God.

3. Christ’s divine nature was retained and unchanged. He was 100% God, and 100% Man. Not 50% God and 50% man (commingled).

The significance of the hypostatic union can be understood when you read these passages:

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

1 Corinthians 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.”[d] The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord[e]from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear[f] the image of the heavenly Man.

Here’s the logic: the first Adam sinned and fell short of the glory of God, and the result was death to all mankind. Christ was born into the world (Incarnation), and there was hypostatic union (Divine and Human nature in one “hypostases” (reality, person)). When Christ died, he was qualified to be under Adam’s line because of his human nature. However, because of his divine, sinless nature, he fully satisfied the “wages of sin” and became the propitiation (atoning or appeasing sacrifice) for our sins. Christ became the last Adam, and also the second Man. Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Colossians 1:And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead…

Arrgh! Heavy stuff! But wait, what on earth is anthropological hypostatic union?

Anthropology is the science and study of man. It comes from the Greek comb. form of ánthrōpos denoting “human being, man”.

The hypostatic union pertains to Christ having two natures in one form.

The anthropological hypostatic union pertains to us humans, born-again Christians, having two natures in one form.

Jesus is the “firstborn among many brethren”. When we become saved, our old nature dies and our spiritual nature comes to life.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17)

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 6:3-11)

22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts

(Eph 4:22)

If you refer back a few paragraphs, you will see the parallels between the hypostatic union and the anthropological hypostatic union:

1. When we become born again, it isn’t as if our spiritual nature takes over immediately. The fact that Paul says in Eph 4:22 to put off the old man shows that we have to make a deliberate effort to make sure that we should no longer be slaves of sin (Rom 6:6).

2. We still have our own rational souls. That is why Dr Bernard talks about us growing intellectually, socially and emotionally… not just spiritually. As Pastor How clearly puts it – we are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body. Our core identity is the spirit, and it is manifested through our unique personalities (soul), acted out by our bodies.

3. The old man and new man are not commingled in us, although we are one hypostases. This is important. The old man is dead! When you become a Christian, the old has passed away. I would think of this as having the “fountain” and “root” of sin destroyed. The only problem is that we have to put away the old man. As has been preached before, in Roman times, one form of capital punishment for murders was to tie the deceased’s body to the murderer’s back. The body would slowly decompose and the bacteria would eat into the murder’s back, causing him to die a slow and painful death. The key is to put the old man away (cut it off!)– get rid of old habits. Watch out when the devil or people try to convince you otherwise — that as a Christian, your identity is still that of the first man, the first Adam.

Just as the hypostatic union was Christ coming down to take the form of a man, so the anthropological hypostatic union is man going up to become like Christ.

Just as Christ underwent Kenosis (Phil 2:7 “7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges” (NLT)  Strong’s G2758), even so, we must learn to put on the new (divine nature).

That is why you have 2 Peter 1, showing the incremental steps to putting on the new man.

The beauty of tonight’s sermon becomes even more apparent when you take into account the context in which Dr. Bernard preached it. If you know, he’s been on a run on Kristos Kai Kosmos – Christ in culture – which I believe many of us have heard.

The Church is the body of Christ – His epistle and ambassadors on this earth. If we are to manifest Christ in culture, then the Church is to do it.

Just as boy Jesus, in his hypostatic union, had to increase in wisdom and stature, favour with God and men before he was released into ministry at the age of 30, even so, the Church of God, in our anthropological hypostatic union, will be increasing in wisdom and stature, favour with God and men even as we are poised to fully impact culture, society and the world.

The future of HOGC’s amazing. I’m gonna be a part of it… will you be?

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2 Responses to “Service with AR Bernard”

  1. Shuyi said

    Awesome post! Learnt a great deal from ur entry. Truly.. you are the YongHui-pedia.

  2. Leke said

    A great summation of the evening’s message conveyed by one of the world’s untainted teachers of the gospel. Thank you so much for posting this!

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