Thursday, February 28, 2013

Implications of the Incarnation

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 2:5-11

Being God, Jesus also became human. He didn't stop being God, but he took on human flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14) This is the great doctrine of the incarnation. And the implications of the incarnation are great.

One of the implications of the incarnation is that God met us where we are at, in order to reach us and save us. He came to us to reveal his truth to us, that we might be rescued and redeemed.

That is the model he gave us for reaching out to others in his name: an incarnational model, in which we go to people and reach out to people where they are at, not just waiting for them to come to us, that they might be saved.

Another implication of the incarnation is that both the spiritual and the material world matters to God. Out of all the religions and philosohies of the world, Biblical Christianity is the only one that properly values both the spiritual amd the material. Our God is the one God to whom matter matters. Eastern religion says that matter is an illusion; it is unimportant. In Western religion - Greco-Roman religion - matter is evil and corrupt. In atheistic thinking, the physical is the only thing that matters - and the point of life is just to do what feels good, if that is all there is to life anyway. Jesus, being God, took on human flesh, he cared for people physically and spiritually, he provided redemption for the soul, through his death on the cross, and for the body, through his resurrection as the first-fruits of those who would be raised from the dead in a glorified body. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)

The incarnation means that Christianity cares about evangelism and saving souls AND about caring for people's physical needs, because God became a man, and he cares about our WHOLE lives: both the physical and the spiritual.

Another implication of the incarnation is that because God became a man, he understands you. He knows what you're going through, and you can go to him. Hebrews 4:15-16 says: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Have you been betrayed? He's been betrayed.

Have you been lonely? He's been lonely. Are you facing death? He's faced death. In fact, he died! Have you had a prayer turned down? He had a prayer turned down!

The incarnatiom means that he has been here, he knows what it's like, and he is ready and able to for you to turn to him in whatever you're going through.