Friday, April 3, 2020

Bird's-eye view of the Bible - Why the incarnation is important to you today: to provide righteousness and forgiveness of sin.

Jesus Christ as Incarnate Wisdom - Athanasius - Crossroads Initiative

       In our last post, we began to do our "bird's-eye view" of the New Testament by introducing the truth and theme of "incarnation". For readers desiring to review the previous post, simply click here:

       What follows below is a brief review of what we mean when we use the term "incarnation" to describe the entry of the Son of God into the world. He, being truly God, came to also be truly man in the first century, so as to provide salvation that is receivable by faith in any century. Today's post will expand upon this theme of "incarnation" by offering two reasons in why the incarnation of the Son of God is relevant to us.

1. What is meant by "incarnation".

            John 1:1 begins with a the fact of the Person of the Son (called by the title "The Word") dwelling in eternity past. We see "The Word" first identified as "God": "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God". 

      Next we see the Word distinguished from another Divine Person whom we know is the Father but is called "God": "and the Word was with God". When we go down to John 1:14, we discover that the Word (that is, the Divine Person of the Son) entered into our world to live life as a man: 

"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." 

      The eternal Word or Son came to be "incarnated" or "in the flesh". Put another way, the Son, having always existed as truly God, came to express Himself a second way by becoming truly man (while still remaining truly God). 

2. Why is the incarnation of the            Son of God important to you and 

              So why was the coming of the Son of God to earth to become and live a human life so important? 

A. The first reason why the incarnation is so important was for Jesus to provide righteousness (that is, so that God could counts those who receive Jesus by faith as right with Him).What is the incarnation? |
      I remember the time when our family got to go into Disney for free. We had a friend who worked for Disney and had six tickets that she could give to whomever she wanted. When she offered them to us, at first we hesitated, telling her that we didn't feel worthy of receiving them. However, the woman and her husband both insisted, and even offered to spend the day with us, guiding us through the park. Our friend had earned those tickets by being a Disney employee.  

      You see, Disney counted our family's tickets as good enough for entry into the park, even though we had not bought them, but rather because they were paid for as a result of our friend working there. 

         When Jesus came into our world, He did so as the Eternal Son of God expressing Himself as a weak, frail infant of the Virgin Mary. He became a human being, grew and experienced life as a child, teenager and an as adult man. We understand that because Jesus was sinless in His human life, He provided the right to be with God for any person who would receive Him as Savior (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Peter 2:21-22).  Jesus' perfect life actively obeyed God in complete compliance. Jesus' flawless humanity was necessary in qualifying Him to be the sacrifice for sins on the cross. The moment you and I trust in Jesus by faith we, God counts us as the "right to be with Him" or "righteousness" to us because of Jesus.

B. The second reason for the incarnation was so that Son of God could, by His death on the cross, redeem us for the forgiveness of sins (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10; 1 Peter 3:18).The Crucifixion of Jesus - Facts About His Death on the Cross
       There once was a man who was on his way to work on Christmas Eve and was speeding through a little town. Suddenly, a policeman pulled him over and gave him a $100 ticket. The man had to appear before the judge to pay the fine. The judge asked: "how do you plead?" The man had no choice (since the same officer was in the courtroom) and pleaded "guilty", paying the $100. As the man walked out of the court, he said to himself: "I wish someone would had paid the $100 ticket for me". The man wished the court could had "forgiven him". Yet, the man knew the ticket had to be paid in order to be declared "guiltless".  

      We know that Jesus is the eternal Son of God by the Divine characteristics He has as God (Romans 9:6). He had to come be a man, since as God, He could not die (what the Bible describes as God being immortal or "incapable of dying", see 1 Timothy 6:16). As He ever remained truly "God with us" or "Immanuel" (Matthew 1:23), Jesus experienced death on the cross for sins as "truly man for us" (1 Peter 3:18). 

      By dying for our sins, Jesus also destroyed the works of the devil (Romans 5:8; 1 John 3:8). Remarkably, Jesus being truly God meant that the work of the cross had infinite value. As truly man, Jesus' work on the cross meant that the value of His saving accomplishment was made accessible to any sinner who, by God's grace, receives Him by faith (see Ephesians 2:8-9). 

More next time....