“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
As today’s verse passage reminds us, the doctrine of the incarnation is among the most difficult teachings to comprehend, both religiously and philosophically. We know that even during the days of His earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus never ceased being God. He forgave sin (Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20; 7:48), which is exclusively a divine prerogative (Isaiah 43:25; 44:22; Jeremiah 50:20; Micah 7:18-19). Moreover, our Lord knowingly and openly received worship (Matthew 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 28:9, 17; John 9:38), which thing was a grave moral sin if He were not God (Matthew 4:10; Acts 10:25-26; 14:11-15; Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9). Classic Christian theology holds that the Second Person of the Trinity had from all eternity a divine nature, which He shared with the other Two Persons, the Father and the Holy Spirit. At incarnation, this Second Person took on a human nature without giving up His divine nature. The Lord Jesus is both fully God and fully man. “Let this mind be in you,” wrote Paul, “which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7). We marvel at this incomprehensible, almost unbelievable step of condescension. What reason could God have for humbling Himself in this way? We must understand that the Lord’s earthly ministry, and all that it entailed, is an expression of His supernatural love for fallen humanity; His incarnation was a necessary part of His mission to bless us, the special objects of His redemptive love. His incarnation made it possible to reveal God to us in a more perfect way (Hebrews 1:1-3). Taking human flesh and tasting death for every man (Hebrews 2:9), the Lord was able to pay our sin debt in full (1 John 2:1-2) thereby defeating the devil and thwarting his plans to destroy us (Hebrews 2:14-15). As the Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), the Lord restored dominion over the created order to humanity. Christ now holds the title deed to the world (Revelation 5:1-9). Our Lord came to fulfill prophecy (Luke 24:44), to set an example for us (1 John 2:6), and to be our faithful and merciful High Priest. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;” says the Scripture, “but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). Praise the Lord for His matchless wisdom, power and love come to fullest expression in the Person and work of His dear Son. Praise the Lord indeed!
God bless you, dear saints,