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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

An Exposition of the Assembly's
Shorter Catechism

by John Flavel


Of the manner of Christ's Incarnation.

Quest. 1. Was Christ's incarnation a voluntary act in him?
A. Yes, it was; for though he had a command to die for us, John 10:18. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. Yet he came willingly; Psalm 40:6, 7. Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire, mine ears hast thou opened; burnt-offerings and sin-offerings hast thou not required; lo, I come; in the volume of thy book, it is written of me. Ver. 8. 1 delight to do thy will, O my God, yea, thy law is within my heart.

Q. 2. Was the body of Christ a real and true human body?
A. Yes, it was a true and real body, not the appearance and shape of a body only; Luke 25:58. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Ver. 89. Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as you see me have.

Q. 3. Had he a true human soul as well as a body?
A. Yes, he had a real human soul also, and all the natural faculties and powers thereof; Matthew 26:38. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.

Q. 4. Was he then in all respects like to other men?
A. No, his conception was not like others; Isaiah 7:14. Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name EMMANUEL. And he had no sin in him as others have; Hebrews 7: 26. For such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.

Q. 5. Did Christ put off the human nature at his ascension?
A. No, he did not,, but carried it up to glory, and now is in our nature in heaven; 1 Timothy 3:16. Received up into glory.

Q. 6. Why did he assume our nature?
A. That he might die in it for our salvation; Hebrews 2:15. And deliver them, who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Q. 7. Why did he rise in it after death?
A. He raised it from the dead for your justification; Romans 4:25. Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Q. 8. Why did he ascend in our nature into heaven?
A. To be a Mediator of intercession in our nature; Hebrews 7:25. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Q. 9. What is the first instruction from hence?
A. That the body of Christ is not every where, but is contained in heaven; Acts iii. 21. Whom the heaven must receive, until the times of restitution of all things.

Q. 10. What is the second instruction?
A. That Christ is full of tender compassion to his peoples infirmities; Hebrews 4:15. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Q. 11. What is the third instruction?
A. That great and admirable is the glory designed for the bodies of believers; Philippians 3:21. Who shall change your vile bodies, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Q. 12. What is the last instruction?
A. That the bodily eyes of believers after the resurrection, shall see Christ in glory; Job 19:26, 27. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.

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