The States of Christ

The States of Christ

In this chapter we learn about Christ’s various states, that is, His various roles in which He acts at various times.

His pre-incarnate state is His state before His conception and birth.

Christ existed before His conception and birth. His divine nature as the Son of God is eternal with the Father. In the OT, He appeared in the form of a man (Joshua 5:13-15). He became a real man at His conception as a little baby. During His earthly ministry Jesus often made reference to His pre-incarnate state: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). “Father, glorify Me in Your own presence with the glory that I had with You before the world existed” (John 17:5).


Theologians typically speak of the life of Jesus as following a progression from humiliation (His birth, His sufferings, His death, His burial) to exaltation (His resurrection, His ascension, His rule in heaven, His second coming to judge the living and the dead).

It is important to realize that in the midst of His humiliation, glory attended key moments of His earthly life. John wrote, “We have seen His glory” (John 1:14).

For example, despite the humble circumstances of His birth, the glory of God shone around a group of shepherds (Luke 2:8-14). At His baptism, He humbled Himself to become one with His people, to assume the obligation to obey every aspect of the law. At the same time, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove upon Him (Matt. 3:16). We could also mention His transfiguration (Matt. 17:2-8).


His exaltation began at His resurrection, when God shook the whole earth and brought His Son back from the dead in order to indicate that He was completely satisfied with His Son’s work. In His resurrected state, Jesus came out of the grave with the same body that had been put into the grave, but the body was changed. It was in a glorified state, which was a foreshadowing of our resurrection bodies (1 Cor. 15:42-45).

His ascension was His elevation to His coronation. The Son of Man was received into heaven and crowned as the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Acts 2:34-36). He is not only ruling as King but also ministering as our Great High Priest. He is interceding perpetually for His people in the heavenly Holy of Holies (His offices of Priest and King will be discussed in the next chapter). It is from that place of exaltation that He will return in glory to consummate His kingdom.


[Adapted from Everyone’s a Theologian by R.C. Sproul]