Theology Thursday: Doctrine of Incarnation

Girl doing Bible Study at a coffee shop

As much as we all love seeing the nativity scene at Christmas time, the point of Christmas is that God needed to make a way to restore the relationship with sinful man and a holy God. The only way was a pure sacrifice for the sins of humanity. Enter Jesus Christ through what we know as the doctrine of Incarnation. It is defined as an eternal God, represented as Father, Son and Holy Spirit to become man. God the Son would put on human nature and be known as Jesus Christ. He was actually called Immanuel which means, “God with us,” as predicted by the prophet Isaiah (7:14) and was affirmed in Matthew 1:23.

The Becoming of God into the Life of Man

Looking to the Gospel of John chapter 1, we see the Word (Jesus Christ) was with God at the beginning and was God. This word was the light for humanity. Our hope was not in a behavior or practice, it was in a person, Jesus Christ. This second person of the Trinity, “became flesh” which was not done before or after. It was not a temporary event with a temporary effect, God was providing a divine change and his creation would understand who God is.

The God-Man Union

How does a supernatural God fit in a human body? We see the Apostle Paul explain this in Philippians Chapter 2 when he states, “Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8, NIV).

Jesus, in no way, became less than God, he maintained his deity. However, he became no greater than man, he was truly one of us. He had the same needs, emotions and feelings we do. The incarnation was a bonding of heaven and humanity together in such a way that, through this cosmic connection, there would be hope for a restored relationship with the perfect God for broken, sinful humanity.

Our Incarnation Connection

So, God came to earth, became man and died on the cross. What does that mean to me?

The incarnation shows us that God truly loves us enough to make a way for us through Jesus. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John. 3:16).

The incarnation shows us that Jesus understands our hurt, our struggles and our temptations. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15, NIV).

The incarnation sets in motion the plan for our hope for eternity found in Jesus. Jesus did not deserve death but died. We deserved punishment but received forgiveness. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (I Peter 1:3, 4).

Have a very merry and meaningful Christmas as we rejoice in the incarnation, Immanuel, God with us!

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