Affirmations
& Denials

The Ligonier Statement
on Christology

Article 1

We affirm that Jesus is the incarnation in history of the eternal Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity. He is Christ, God’s promised Messiah.

We deny that Jesus Christ is a mere man or was a fictional creation of the early Christian church.

Biblical References

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1, 14). See also Ps. 110:1; Matt. 3:17; 8:29; 16:16; Mark 1:1, 11; 15:39; Luke 22:70; John 4:25–26; Acts 5:42; 9:22; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:6; Col. 2:9; Heb. 5:7; 1 John 5:20.

Article 2

We affirm that in the unity of the Godhead the eternally begotten Son is consubstantial (homoousios), coequal, and coeternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

We deny that the Son is merely like God (homoiousios) or that He was simply adopted by the Father as His Son. We deny the eternal subordination of the Son to the Father in the ontological Trinity.

Biblical References

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). See also John 1:18; 3:16–18; 10:30; 20:28; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 2:18.

Article 3

We affirm, with the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds, that Jesus Christ is both truly God and truly man, two natures united in one person forever.

We deny that the Son was created. We deny that there was ever a time when the Son was not divine. We deny that the human body and soul of Jesus Christ existed prior to the incarnation of the Son in history.

Biblical References

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily (Col. 2:9). See also Luke 1:35; John 10:30; Rom. 9:5; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18.

Article 4

We affirm the hypostatic union, that the two natures of Jesus Christ are united in His one person without mixture, confusion, division, or separation.

We deny that to distinguish between the two natures is to separate them.

Biblical References

Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 16:16–17). See also Luke 1:35, 43; John 1:1–3; 8:58; 17:5; Acts 20:28; Rom. 1:3; 9:5; 2 Cor. 8:9; Col. 2:9; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18; Rev. 1:8, 17; 22:13.

Article 5

We affirm that in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, His divine and human natures retain their own attributes. We affirm that the attributes of both natures belong to the one person Jesus Christ.

We deny that the human nature of Jesus Christ has divine attributes or can contain the divine nature. We deny that the divine nature communicates divine attributes to the human nature. We deny that the Son laid aside or gave up any of His divine attributes in the incarnation.

Biblical References

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men (Phil. 2:5–7). See also Matt. 9:10; 16:16; 19:28; John 1:1; 11:27, 35; 20:28; Rom. 1:3–4; 9:5; Eph. 1:20–22; Col. 1:16–17; 2:9–10; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1:3, 8–9; 1 Peter 3:18; 2 Peter 1:1.

Article 6

We affirm that Jesus Christ is the visible image of God, that He is the standard of true humanity, and that in our redemption we will be ultimately conformed to His image.

We deny that Jesus Christ was less than truly human, that He merely appeared to be human, or that He lacked a reasonable human soul. We deny that in the hypostatic union the Son assumed a human person rather than a human nature.

Biblical References

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him (Col. 1:15–16). See also Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 4:4–6; Eph. 4:20–24; Heb. 1:3–4.

Article 7

We affirm that as truly man, Jesus Christ possessed in His state of humiliation all the natural limitations and common infirmities of human nature. We affirm that He was made like us in all respects, yet He was without sin.

We deny that Jesus Christ sinned. We deny that Jesus Christ did not truly experience suffering, temptation, or hardship. We deny that sin is inherent to true humanity or that the sinlessness of Jesus Christ is incompatible with His being truly human.

Biblical References

Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted (Heb. 2:17–18). See also Mic. 5:2; Luke 2:52; Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:5–8; Heb. 4:15.

Article 8

We affirm that the historical Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, was miraculously conceived, and was born of the Virgin Mary. We affirm with the Chalcedonian Creed that she is rightly called mother of God (theotokos) in that the child she bore is the incarnate Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity.

We deny that Jesus Christ received His divine nature from Mary or that His sinlessness was derived from her.

Biblical References

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary (Luke 1:26–27). See also Matt. 1:23; 2:11; Luke 1:31, 35, 43; Rom. 1:3; Gal. 4:4.

Article 9

We affirm that Jesus Christ is the last Adam who succeeded in His appointed task at every point where the first Adam failed, and that Jesus Christ is the head of His people, the body of Christ.

We deny that Jesus Christ assumed a fallen human nature or inherited original sin.

Biblical References

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 5:12–21). See also 1 Cor. 15:22, 45–49; Eph. 2:14–16; 5:23; Col. 1:18.

Article 10

We affirm the active and passive obedience of Jesus Christ, that in His perfect life He completely fulfilled the righteous demands of the law on our behalf, and that He bore the penalty of our sin by His death on the cross.

We deny that Jesus Christ at any point failed to obey or fulfill the law of God. We deny that He abolished the moral law.

Biblical References

For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous (Rom. 5:19). See also Matt. 3:15; John 8:29; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 2:8; Heb. 5:8.

Article 11

We affirm that on the cross Jesus Christ offered Himself as a penal substitutionary atonement for the sins of His people, propitiating the wrath of God and satisfying the justice of God, and was victorious over sin, death, and Satan.

We deny that the death of Jesus Christ was a payment of ransom to Satan. We deny that the death of Jesus Christ was merely an example, merely a victory over Satan, or merely a display of God’s moral government.

Biblical References

Whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:25–26). See also Isa. 53; Rom. 5:6, 8, 15; 6:10; 7:4; 8:34; 14:9, 15; 1 Cor. 15:3; Eph. 5:2; 1 Thess. 5:10; 2 Tim. 2:11; Heb. 2:14, 17; 9:14–15; 10:14; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; 1 John 2:2; 3:8; 4:10.

Article 12

We affirm the doctrine of double imputation, that our sin is imputed to Jesus Christ and His righteousness is imputed to us by faith.

We deny that sin is overlooked without judgment. We deny that the active obedience of Jesus Christ is not imputed to us.

Biblical References

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). See also Matt. 5:20; Rom. 3:21–22; 4:11; 5:18; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 9:9; Eph. 6:14; Phil. 1:11; 3:9; Heb. 12:23.

Article 13

We affirm that on the third day Jesus Christ rose from the dead and that He was seen in the flesh by many.

We deny that Jesus Christ merely seemed to die, or that only His spirit survived, or that His resurrection took place merely in the hearts of His followers.

Biblical References

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve (1 Cor. 15:3–5). See also Isa. 53; Matt. 16:21; 26:32; 28:1–10; John 21:14; Acts 1:9–11; 2:25, 32; 3:15, 26; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; Rom. 4:24–25; 6:9–10; Eph. 4:8–10.

Article 14

We affirm that in His state of exaltation Jesus Christ is the firstfruits of the resurrection, that He has conquered both sin and death, and that in union with Him we too will be resurrected.

We deny that the glorified resurrected body of Jesus Christ was a wholly different body from the one that was laid in the garden tomb. We deny that our resurrection is merely a resurrection of our spirits apart from our bodies.

Biblical References

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen
asleep. . . . “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:20, 55). See also Rom. 5:10; 6:4, 8, 11; 10:9; 1 Cor. 15:23; 2 Cor. 1:9; 4:10–11; Eph. 2:6; Col. 2:12; 2 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 2:9, 14; 1 John 3:14; Rev. 14:4; 20:14.

Article 15

We affirm that Jesus Christ ascended to His heavenly throne at the right hand of God the Father, that He is presently reigning as King, and that He will return visibly in power and glory.

We deny that Jesus Christ was mistaken about the timing of His return.

Biblical References

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:6–11). See also Luke 24:50–53; Acts 1:22; 2:33–35; Eph. 4:8–10; 1 Tim. 3:16.

Article 16

We affirm that Jesus Christ poured out His Spirit on the day of Pentecost and that in His present session He is reigning over all things, interceding for His people, and building His church, of which He is the only head.

We deny that Jesus Christ appointed the bishop of Rome as His vicar, or that any person other than Jesus Christ can be the church’s head.

Biblical References

And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church (Eph. 1:22). See also Acts 2:33; 1 Cor. 11:3–5; Eph. 4:15; 5:23; Col.1:18.

Article 17

We affirm that Jesus Christ will come again in glory to judge all people and will finally vanquish all His enemies, destroy death, and usher in the new heaven and the new earth in which He will reign in righteousness.

We deny that the final return of Jesus Christ took place in AD 70 and that His coming and its attendant events are to be viewed as symbolic.

Biblical References

And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42). See also John 12:48; 14:3; Acts 7:7; 17:31; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8.

Article 18

We affirm that those who believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be welcomed into His eternal kingdom, but those who do not believe in Him will suffer eternal conscious punishment in hell.

We deny that every person will be saved. We deny that those who die without faith in Jesus Christ will be annihilated.

Biblical References

The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear (Matt. 13:41–43). See also Isa. 25:6–9; 65:17–25; 66:21–23; Dan. 7:13–14; Matt. 5:29–30; 10:28; 18:8–9; Mark 9:42–49; Luke 1:33; 12:5; John 18:36; Col. 1:13–14; 2 Thess. 1:5–10; 2 Tim. 4:1, 18; Heb. 12:28; 2 Peter 1:11; 2:4; Rev. 20:15.

Article 19

We affirm that all who have been chosen in Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world and who are united to Him through faith enjoy communion with Him and with one another. We affirm that in Jesus Christ we enjoy every spiritual blessing, including justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification.

We deny that Jesus Christ and His saving work can be separated. We deny that we are able to partake of the saving work of Jesus Christ apart from Jesus Christ Himself. We deny that we can be united to Jesus Christ and not be united to His body, the church.

Biblical References

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13). See also John 14:20; 15:4–6; Rom. 6:1–11; 8:1–2; 12:3–5; 1 Cor. 1:30–31; 6:15–20; 10:16–17; 12:27; 2 Cor. 5:17–21; Gal. 3:25–29; Eph. 1:3–10, 22–23; 2:1–6; 3:6; 4:15–16; 5:23, 30; Col. 1:18; 2:18–19.

Article 20

We affirm the doctrine of justification by faith alone, that God declares us righteous by an act of His grace alone through our faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone, apart from our own personal merit or works. We affirm that to deny the doctrine of justification by faith alone is to deny the gospel.

We deny that we are justified on the basis of any infusion of grace into us. We deny that we are justified only once we have become inherently righteous. We deny that this justification is now or ever will be based on our faithfulness.

Biblical References

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1). See also Luke 18:14; Rom. 3:24; 4:5; 5:10; 8:30; 10:4, 10; 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Cor. 5:19, 21; Gal. 2:16–17; 3:11, 24; 5:4; Eph. 1:7; Titus 3:5, 7.

Article 21

We affirm the doctrine of sanctification, that God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, based on the work of Jesus Christ, delivers us from the reigning power of sin, sets us apart, and makes us holy by conforming us more and more to the image of His Son. We affirm that sanctification is a work of God’s grace and is inseparably joined with justification, although it is different from justification. We affirm that in this divine work of sanctification we are not merely passive, but we are responsible to apply ourselves to the appointed means of grace in our ongoing endeavor to die to sin and live in obedience to the Lord.

We deny that a person is justified without immediately bearing the fruit of union with Jesus Christ in sanctification. We deny that our good works, while acceptable to God in Jesus Christ, merit justification. We deny that in this life our struggle with indwelling sin will cease, even though sin has no dominion over us.

Biblical References

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him (Eph. 1:3–4). See also John 17:17; Acts 20:32; Rom. 6:5–6, 14; 8:13; 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Cor. 7:1; Gal. 5:24; Eph. 3:16–19; 4:23–24; Phil. 3:10; Col. 1:10–11; 2 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 12:14.

Article 22

We affirm that Jesus Christ is the sole mediator between God and His people. We affirm the mediatorial role of Jesus Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King in both His state of humiliation and His state of exaltation. We affirm that He was anointed by the Holy Spirit in order to execute this mediatorial office to which He was called by the Father.

We deny that God has had or will have any other incarnations or that there are or will be any mediators of redemption other than the Lord Jesus Christ. We deny salvation apart from Jesus Christ alone.

Biblical References

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). See also Job 33:23–28; Luke 1:33; John 1:1–14; 14:6; Acts 3:22; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:1–4; 5:5–6; 9:15; 12:24.

Article 23

We affirm that as the supreme Prophet of God, Jesus Christ was both the subject and object of prophecy. We affirm that Jesus Christ revealed and proclaimed the will of God, prophesied future events, and is in Himself the fulfillment of God’s promises.

We deny that Jesus Christ ever uttered a false prophecy or false word, or that He failed or will fail to fulfill all prophecies regarding Himself.

Biblical References

And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, “The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you” (Acts 3:17–22). See also Matt. 20:17; 24:3; 26:31, 34, 64; Mark 1:14–15; Luke 4:18–19, 21; John 13:36; 21:22; 1 Cor. 1:20; Heb. 1:2; Rev. 19:10.

Article 24

We affirm that Jesus Christ is our Great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, having made the perfect sacrifice of Himself on our behalf and continuing to intercede for us before the Father. We affirm that Jesus Christ is both the subject and object of the supreme atoning sacrifice.

We deny that Jesus Christ, being from the tribe of Judah and not from the tribe of Levi, is disqualified from serving as our priest. We deny that He continually offers Himself as a sacrifice in the Mass as victim and priest, even in an unbloody manner. We deny that He became a priest only in heaven and was not a priest on earth.

Biblical References

For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him (Heb. 9:24–28). See also John 1:36; 19:28–30; Acts 8:32; 1 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 2:17–18; 4:14–16; 7:25; 10:12, 26; 1 Peter 1:19; Rev. 5:6, 8, 12–13; 6:1, 16; 7:9–10, 14, 17; 8:1; 12:11; 13:8; 15:3.

Article 25

We affirm that as King, Jesus Christ reigns supremely over all earthly and supernatural powers now and forever.

We deny that the kingdom of Jesus Christ is merely a political kingdom of this world. We deny that earthly rulers are not accountable to Him.

Biblical References

For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet (1 Cor. 15:25). See also Ps. 110; Matt. 28:18–20; Luke 1:32; 2:11; Acts 2:25, 29, 34; 4:25; 13:22, 34, 36; 15:16; Rom. 1:3; 2 Tim. 2:8; Heb. 4:7; Rev. 3:7; 5:5; 22:16.

Article 26

We affirm that when Jesus Christ has conquered all His enemies, He will hand over His kingdom to the Father. We affirm that in the new heaven and the new earth, God will be with His people, and that believers will see Jesus Christ face-to-face, will be made like Him, and will enjoy Him forever.

We deny that there is any other hope for humanity or any name or way in which salvation may be found except in Jesus Christ alone.

Biblical References

Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all (1 Cor. 15:24–28). See also Isa. 65:17; 66:22; Phil. 2:9–11; 2 Peter 3:13; 1 John 3:2–3; Rev. 21:1–5; 22:1–5.