The Person of Christ - 10 - The Incarnation of Christ Gospel of John and The Epistles

Chapter 10 - The Incarnation of Christ
The Gospel of John and The Epistles
Harold S. Paisley

 

We approach the doctrine of the Incarnation of Christ as revealed in the Gospel by John and the epistles with reverent awe and wonder. Our attitude should be like that of Moses when he turned aside to see the great sight of the burning bush and heard the glorious words of God: “I am come down to deliver” (Ex. 3:8).

 

Every one of the great fundamental doctrines which concern the Person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ are linked with His Incarnation.

 

The subject may be considered in three phases:

1.         The Prophetical Statements of the Old Testament.

2.         The Historical Records of Matthew and Luke.

3.         The Doctrinal Truths of John and the Epistles

 

“TO THlS END WAS I BORN” John 18:37

 

It is a thought-provoking fact that Christ only once mentioned His being born, and that to a most unlikely person, Pilate the Governor. In His blessed statement, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth,” the two perfect natures of our Lord are revealed His Humanity and His Deity. These two perfect natures in His one glorious Person will continue forever. We must never separate them or speak of His doing this as God and that as man.

 

Basing our consideration upon the words, “To this end was I born,” let us look at some scriptures which speak of His Incarnation. We shall show how some of the great foundation truths of our faith are wholly dependent upon His Incarnation

 

“THE WORD BECAME FLESH” (John 1:14).

 

The Incarnation is a great mystery (I Tim. 3:16). It cannot be explained, but it can be believed. The truth must be accepted since it is basic to Christian doctrine.

The Apostle John knew a great deal about the Virgin Birth. Mary was entrusted to his care and dwelt in his home during the latter part of her life. Luke, the Physician, gives details of the birth of the Lord Jesus in over two thousand words. John, the fisherman, uses four words to describe the Incarnation: “The Word became flesh.” He was not made flesh, but became flesh by a voluntary act.

 

In keeping with the character of this beautiful Gospel of the Burnt Offering, John stresses His condescension as an act of His own will. As to how it took place, the details are not given, but he reveals a time when a change transpired, when the Eternal Son of God became what He was not before. The end in view was that He might reveal the heart of God and express His mind. This great truth is developed in this same chapter - “The only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him” (chap. 1:18). We might add, that the Son was ever in the bosom of the Father, even while down here in the days of His flesh. He never ceased to be in the bosom of the Father. John emphasized throughout his Gospel that Jesus was the Sent One of God.

 

2. “GOD SENDING HIS OWN SON AS AN OFFERING FOR SIN” (Rom. 8:3, R.V.).

 

In John’s account of the Incarnation, the Burnt Offering is in view; but here in Paul’s letter to the Romans, the Sin Offering has its place. Here, the Lord Jesus is seen to be the Eternal Son of God, in power and majesty, in contrast to the weakness of the law. God sent Him by way of the Incarnation. He was “in the likeness ofsinfulflesh “(literally, “in likeness of flesh of sin ."

Christ took human flesh in reality; but we must emphasize, apart from sin. He identified Himself with human flesh in incarnation, but this was in direct contrast to all other men, since in His Holy Nature there was no sin. The end in view is that He shall bean offering for sin. He came to expiate sin by His sacrifice, and lay the basis upon which “God can save, yet righteous be.”

 

3.         “GOD SENT FORTH HIS SON ... TO REDEEM” (Gal. 4:4-5).

 

In this wonderful passage the Apostle writes, “God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem    The words “made of a woman “in the portion quoted above are translated “come of woman “in the Englishman’s Gk. New Testament - this denotes His voluntary stoop from the highest place above to be born of a lowly virgin maid. The glorious purpose was to redeem them that were under the law (primarily the Jews), and that from the penalty and dominion of the law. It was also His purpose that, whether Jew or Gentile, we might receive “the son-placing,” in contrast to the “servant’s place” which was occupied by believers before His incarnation and sacrifice as the Redeemer.

 

4.            “BECAME IN THE LIKENESS OF MEN” (Phil. 2:7).

 

When our Lord Jesus Christ became incarnate, He did not cease to be God, nor did He lay aside any of His Eternal attributes. In incarnation He always acted in complete harmony with the Father. The glory of His Godhead was veiled in His Humanity. The Golden Ark was hidden within the Beautiful Veil. He took the bondsman’s form, while still retaining His original glories, in order to die, even the cruel death of the cross.

 

5.         “IT BEHOVED HIM TO BE MADE LIKE UNTO HIS BRETHREN” (Heb. 2:17).

 

The writer to the Hebrews has much to say concerning His Incarnation. He did not come into angelic conditions, but was made a little lower than the angels. He would experience what an angel could not. He hungered, was wearied, wept, had compassion, agonized, and was thirsty. He had all the feelings and emotions of a man, apart from sin. He manifested affection, He felt pain, He was sorrowful; but being perfect He was never sick. The holy body of the Lord was specially prepared by God (Heb. 10:5), and was therefore sinless and incorruptible. In His incarnation, His nature was untainted by sin; and in His death, His body saw no corruption. Sins could only be removed by the shedding of blood, “for without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb. 9:22). It is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins - hence the necessity for the incarnation of the Son of God. He Himself came and partook of blood and flesh that He might make propitiation for the sins of the people. The Lord Jesus did not share man’s sin, though He took man’s nature. He did no sin, He knew no sin, in Him was no sin, He could not sin.

To this end was He born and for this cause He came to be the Daysman for Whom Job longed. By reason of His Deity He can touch the Throne of God, and by reason of His humanity He can touch the guilty sinner.

 

In conclusion, in a day of false teaching, there is an acid test given by John: “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God, and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (I John 4:2-3).