(John 1:14) 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.
During the Christmas season the doctrine of the Incarnation comes alive to us as Christians. We hear afresh the Christmas story and are in awe that Jesus came as a little babe in Bethlehem. Then we sing carols that speak about His coming in the flesh: “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail th' incarnate Deity” . . . “Hail, hail the Word made flesh” . . . “Word of the Father now in flesh appearing.” So, what is the Incarnation and why is it so important to us as believers in Christ?
COMMUNICATION: Incarnation is from the Latin in carne and means “in the flesh.” Christ came in the flesh. In other words, He took on a human body through the virgin birth and dwelt among us. He was 100% God and 100% man. He was “God in a bod.” The God-man. Son of God and Son of man. The divine nature of the Son of God was perfectly united with human nature in one divine Person, Jesus, making him both truly God and truly man (what theologians call the “hypostatic union”). And what better way to communicate with man than for God to become a man Himself? And what did God try to communicate with us through His Son? (John 3:16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
REDEMPTION: Because Jesus came in the body He could physically die for our sins and pass on the benefit to us sinful and condemned creatures. (Rom 8:3-4) For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Jesus was sinless, and by virtue of what He did on the cross we are now forgiven by faith in Him and declared righteous on His merit. (2 Cor 5:21) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. His spotless blood can make the sinner clean and is the only source of forgiveness before a righteous and holy God and Father. (Eph 1:7) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
RESURRECTION: When Jesus rose from the dead He rose physically and therefore became the firstfruits of all who would rise in the future resurrection. (1 Cor 15:20) But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. We can be confident in the Biblical declaration that Christ’s resurrection guarantees ours. (The Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the physical resurrection of Jesus.)
It’s interesting how Satan has always attacked the Incarnation. In ancient days the heresy of Gnosticism made the thought of God being in the flesh an offense. Matter was evil, so God could not dwell incarnate. Today, thanks to secular humanism, it is intellectual sacrilege to say anyone in a body could be divine. Isn’t it interesting how the spectrum has deviated from one side to the other? (1 John 4:2-3) By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
Because of the Incarnation our great High Priest can sympathize with our weaknesses. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:15-16)