John 1:12-14 "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Introduction and Review
Yesterday we began considering the Person of the Miraculous Son. We discovered that the four gospels portray two starting points for getting to know Jesus Christ. The first is what Bible teachers and theologians call "Christology from above", meaning we start by considering Jesus Christ as the Eternal Son Pre-existing in eternity with the Father and Spirit as One Triune God. The journey the Son makes from eternity into time entails his entryway through the virgin birth/conception, his life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. John's Gospel appears to offer us this starting point for considering the miraculous Son.
The other three Gospels, Matthew and Luke, as well as Mark, present what Bible teachers and theologians call a "Christology from below", meaning we begin with Jesus from the standpoint of his humanity, and based upon his virgin birth, later adult life, miracles, teachings, relationships, death, burial, resurrection and ascension, we are brought to the conclusion that Jesus is Who He said He was - God in human flesh.
Both starting points are equally important. Considering Jesus Christ
"from above" reminds us that God was burdened enough to provide redemption as to come down Himself in the Person of the Son to become what He came to save: His people. Likewise, when we consider Jesus Christ from the standpoint of "here below", we are reminded of how personal He is and how marvelous it is to have fellowship with the miraculous Son through faith Who is God in human flesh.
Those were some of the thoughts we explored in yesterday's post. Today we want to consider one of the main reasons the Miraculous Son came: to achieve a miraculous birth.
Jesus Christ in his humanity had a miraculous birth so as to provide the basis for the New birth in salvation
What is Advent or Christmas really all about? The central event is the birth of Jesus Christ into this world. It must be realized that such an event was necessary if salvation's beginning point was to be established. For many years I have read and re-read John 1:1-18 and have enjoyed its profound truth. However it was not until recently that I noticed how the truth of the New birth in salvation is literally presented next to the truth of Jesus Christ's incarnation. Many others throughout church history have noted the link - a link which is undoubtedly intentional on the part of John as he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Matthew Henry, the great commentator, notes:
"Many say that they are Christ's own, yet do not receive him, because they will not part with their sins, nor have him to reign over them. All the children of God are born again. This new birth is through the word of God as the means, 1Pe 1:23, and by the Spirit of God as the Author. By his Divine presence Christ always was in the world. But now that the fullness of time was come, he was, after another manner, God manifested in the flesh."
We can outline John 1:12-14 as follows:
The reality of the Christian's New Birth. John 1:12-13
John 1:12-13 notes about the New birth in salvation: 12 "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." The above text deals with the beginning of one's salvation - what the Bible calls "The New Birth" or "Regeneration". The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (the doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention) defines the "New Birth" accordingly:"Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace."
The New Testament speaks of the beginning of Christian salvation as being that of a "New Birth". Jesus for example in John 3:1-8 discusses with Nicodemas what it means to be "born-again". Peter too talks about being "begotten" or "born again" by God in 1 Peter 1:3-5 and 23. This language of "birthing" and "regeneration" to describe saving faith is used in Titus 3:5 - "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit."
The root of the reality of the Christian's new birth - Jesus' incarnation. John 1:14
John 1:14 connects the reality of the New birth to the Miraculous Son's miracle birth - "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, page 239, has this to note about the significance of Jesus' incarnation:
"The virgin birth and resurrection are signs that here we have something unique in the realm of humanity. Who or what He is can be discovered only by contrasting Him with others, and it shines out most clearly when all others are against Him. The event of his coming to suffer and triumph as man in our midst is absolutely decisive for every individual he encounters and for the destiny of the whole world. (John 3:16-18; 10:27-28; 12:31; 16:11; 1 John 3:8).
The reflection of the Miraculous Son's humanity is to be seen in the Christian's humanity
What then are we saying? As seen in today's post, everything Jesus came to achieve in the realm of His humanity was so that all who by grace through faith heed the call to salvation can experience everything he experienced. Jesus Christ had a miraculous birth so that all sinners Divinely affected by the Spirit through the scriptures, and responding in savimg faith, could have a miraculous birth. When Jesus died on the cross as the crucified One, this meant that the Christian could say: "I have been crucified with Christ...." (Galatians 2:20).
When Jesus raised from the dead, guess what? Every Christian could also say they too have been raised to walk forth in newness of life! (Romans 6:4-11; 8:11) Then of course as Jesus Christ ascended into heaven in glorified, physical, resurrected humanity - the Christian now can say they are spiritually seated in the heavens with Jesus and look forward to when He returns to give them a glorified, physical, resurrected body like His own. (Ephesians 2:6-11; 1 Corinthians 15:35-58)
The Miraculous Son came, was to achieve a miraculous birth. As I heard one preacher state years-ago: "At salvation, supernatural Jesus stepped inside natural me, which in turn by faith natural me stepped inside Jesus Christ, and natural me was born-again to become supernatural!"