Union of the Divine and Human in Christ

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Question: What took place on the cross when God forsook Jesus, as He said? Was the divine entirely withdrawn, leaving only the human, or, if not, what? C. B. St. G.
Answer: The union of the divine and the human in the Person of Christ was indissoluble from the moment of the incarnation. It was an error distinctive of the Gnostics to imagine a separation when He was about to suffer atoningly and die. And the error is fatal to the divine efficacy of atonement, as well as to the abiding glory of His Person. He had been a sufferer from man all His days on earth, and these sufferings were intensified as He hung on the cross: how did not dogs and bulls of Bashan, as Psa. 22 expresses it, vent their shameless spite and unbridled rage then! But the psalm opens with the new and infinitely solemn fact that God forsook Him—forsook Him when man failed, even His disciples forsaking Him and fleeing, when He most of all needed sympathy. But no: He must drink the cup to the dregs, be made sin, and bear our sins in His body on the tree, have God, His God, dealing with Him, as thus giving Himself as a sacrifice up to God for sin, where all was darkness and not a ray of kindly light could enter. Till then He had walked in the unclouded enjoyment of His Father’s love; but then He must taste, as He did to the uttermost, what God feels and must execute as the Judge of sin, and (in His case) of all the sins which were laid on His holy head. This was the perfection of His suffering, not merely from man for righteousness and love, but what was peculiar to Himself, and peculiar to that time of atonement, suffering from God for sin because He was faithful to man and came to save sinners. Only thus could God be glorified about sin; only thus could the unjust be justified to God’s glory and the full proof of divine grace also, as laying the ground for the righteousness of God in Christ. Never was the unfathomable love for God and man so proved in Him as when thus bearing our judgment at God’s hand on the cross; but for that very reason it could not be a time for Christ’s enjoying the communion of His love and delight as ever before and since. This was the necessary change then.