Saturday, May 2, 2020

Bird's-eye view of Bible - Why the incarnation is important for you today - Jesus raised from the dead, ascended into Heaven and is coming again

Creation and the Virgin Birth | The Institute for Creation Research

        Whenever we come to the New Testament, we see the following truths about God:

1. God is One God and three "Who's", a Unity of Deity in Three Persons - i.e. a "Trinity". Each "Who" or "Person" of the Trinity is truly God and identified as Father, Son and Spirit. 

2. The doctrine of the Trinity is composed of three main truths: 

a. God is "One God", who is first revealed as "the Father" in the redemptive work of God to Israel. 
b. Second, the Son, revealing Himself in the flesh as the historical Jesus, is the decisive revelation of God in history who, as truly God, came to be truly man for us. Jesus' miraculous birth, fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, miracles, substitutionary death, resurrection from the dead and ascension all affirm Him as truly God, equal with the Father and Holy Spirit. As we read Jesus' self-described Divine actions, titles and abilities, as well as His claims of being "One" with the Father, we see the Deity of Christ as the second great truth comprising the Trinity. 

c. The third truth comprising the doctrine of the Trinity is that of the 
Personality of the Spirit, who is also truly God as much as the Son and the Father with the same perfections that come with being God.

      I mention the above truths recorded in the New Testament so as to understand how Jesus' incarnation is situated within the Biblical doctrine of God generally and revelation of the Son specifically. The incarnation of the Son of God was discussed in a prior post in this series that I wrote a number of weeks of go and is found in the link here:    

What is meant by "incarnation".

      To understand what is meant by the term "incarnation", we can look at the introduction or "Prologue" to John's Gospel. John 1:1 begins by distinguishing the Person of the Son (called by the title "The Word") dwelling in eternity with the Father (called by the general title of deity: "God") as seen in the first part of the verse: "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. 

Why the incarnation of the Son of God?

       Having defined the event of Christ's incarnation, we are reminded of two reasons why the Son of God came to be man that we looked at in the prior post of this particular series (see the link above). 

      The first reason why the incarnation is so important was for Jesus to provide righteousness (that is, so that God could count those who receive Jesus by faith as right with Him). 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). What follows are two other reasons why the incarnation of the Son of God is vital for our understanding today. 

The third reason the incarnation is important is so that Jesus could raise from the dead.

                What if Jesus had remained dead after his death on the cross? If Jesus had remained in His tomb, then everything we just said about His incarnation would mean nothing. Jesus' resurrection from the dead proved that all He achieved worked in living His perfect human life and death for sinners. 

       Jesus' resurrection could only take place if He first died on the cross. In order for Jesus to qualify as the perfect sacrifice for sinners on the cross, He himself had to live a sinless human life. For Jesus, to live a perfect human life meant He, as truly God, had to have His humanity conceived in the the Virgin Mary's womb. The uniting of a truly human nature to the Person of the Son who already possessed (and remained so) to retain a truly Divine nature, is what is called "the hypostatic union". Quite literally, the uniting together of a "truly divine nature" and "truly human nature" in One Person, the Son, is the result of the miracle of the incarnation. 

        As man, He could die and be raised. As God, all He achieved would have infinite value. Because Jesus raised from the dead, all who receive Him by faith are counted as being right with God (Romans 4:25) and forgiven of their sins (1 Corinthians 15:20). 

The final reason the incarnation is important is so that Jesus can reign as King in Heaven.

                We have considered three main reasons why the incarnation is so important, so that the Son of God could provide: 

1. Righteousness, that is, the right to 
    be in God's presence.

2. Redemption, which is to say, 
    forgiveness of sins and.....

3. Resurrection, so He could raise from 
    the dead

      What did Jesus do after He raised from the dead? We know from the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) that Jesus appeared on a dozen occasions to groups and individuals, to believers and those who had yet to believe that He had risen. After forty days, Jesus had His disciples gather outside of Jerusalem for them to witness His going up into Heaven (Acts 1:11). Jesus' "going up" is what we call His ascension, meaning He inaugurated His reign the true King of the church at the right hand of the Father. 

       Jesus retained His physical humanity and revealed in heaven, once again, what He had always been and ever will be: truly God. Now He reigns as the God-man, praying for believers and ready to return to earth to rescue His people and judge the world (1 Thessalonains 4:13-18; Acts 17:31). This theme of "incarnation" is vital for understanding the New Testament, the Christian life and salvation.