The Incarnation of Christ Part Two: Declaring Man to God

Years ago I taught a series at our church at Christmas
on the Incarnation of Christ.

Part I addressed the Trinity, and how Jesus
represents God to man.

Part II--His representation of Man to God

Part III--Son of God And Son of Man

Part IV--Christ in You, the Incarnation Continues!

"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous." 
Roman 5:19

The Word became incarnate for the Son to not only manifest God to man, but man to God.

Adam failed in the stewardship of his humanity, but the last Adam, Jesus Christ, is the all-satisfying ideal of what man should be--perfectly tuned to God's will and living in unbroken, exuberant fellowship with his Creator.

He arrived legally into the world through a human birth canal, and first shed His blood
UNDER (or to) to Law, obeyed it flawlessly, and then she His blood one final time to gain our freedom FROM the Law.

You see, Jesus had no need to earn righteous for Himself.
He did so out of amazing love as our representative.

He gave us the benefits of His righteous life and substitutionary death.
The sins of man were paid by a Man in a way where justice could still be served in an extraordinary, self-sacrificing way.

His payment cleansed and continues to cleanse us from sin!
His unblemished life covers us before the Father.

No longer estranged, we can enter into an adopted sonship by grace..
"that He (Jesus) might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29b).

"For it was fitting for Him, for whom all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren."
(Hebrews 2:10-11)

Part II: Declaring Man to God

Noted reformed theologian R.J. Rushdoony observed in his Systematic Theology that the most common title of and reference to Jesus Christ in Scripture is LORD, "Kurios".

"The term is used perhaps 6,700 times; it means absolute property owner, God, and sovereign. St. Paul ties the Lordship of Jesus Christ to His office as covenant man, and as head of the new humanity which He, as the second Adam, generates by grace." (Romans 14:7-9)

We are born in the earth of Adam I, but he does not own us nor is he our lord. We are born again in Adam II!

"By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God."   (1 John 4:2-3)

In contrast with today, the early church had more difficulty believing in the full humanity of Christ than in His deity.

The Fourth Council of Chalcedon censured the claims of Apollinarius, who taught that Christ had no human soul. The Scriptures clearly reveal a Savior who experienced a whole range of human emotions.

Therefore the council affirmed that Jesus was true God, truly human, with soul and body, of one essence with the Father as touching His Godhead, and of one essence with us as touching our humanity--like us in all things except sin.

The Creed of Epiphanius in A.D. 374 declared that the Logos "assumed a perfect man--soul and body and mind (spirit), and all that belongs to man, without sin."

St. Augustine clarified: "the human nature which He (God, the Son) assumed, He did not destroy." (Letters 137.3)

"The mediator between God and humanity would have to be nothing less than God and nothing less than fully human, otherwise this mediatorship would have been impossible, for how can one mediate in a conflict in which one has no capacity to empathize with one or the other side?" (Thomas Oden, Systematic Theology, Vol. II-The Word of Life)

Church Father Ambrose stated that since God, the Son was standing in legally as Adam again..."If He lacked anything as man, then he did not redeem all (that pertains to our humanity)..." (Letters 48)

Indeed, Church Father Gregory Nazianzen remarked, "For that which He has not assumed He has not healed, but that which is united to His Godhead is also saved. If only half of Adam fell, then that which Christ assumes and saves may be half also; but if the whole of his nature fell, it must be united to the whole nature of Him that was begotten, and so be saved as a whole." (Epistle 101)

Hebrews 4:15,16 tells us:

"For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

Rushdoony cautions that stressing only the deity of Christ--His sovereign being, His eternal decree, His magnificent glory and eternity--can result in an indifference to history and a lack of cultural consciousness. Similarly, focusing only on Christ's humanity results in a loss of perspective and a rapid decline into humanism (Ibid.).

We must realize there is a delicate, divine balance. Jesus is not just a good man or wise prophet, nor is He an unapproachable, distant deity. A correct understanding of the Incarnation helps us worship the Lord in spirit and truth.

"Remember, Christ was not a deified man, neither was He a humanized God. He was perfectly God and, at the same time, perfectly man."  
Charles Spurgeon

Regardless of post modern attempts to foolishly diminish the deity of Christ while overemphasizing His human nature, it is still important for us to acknowledge and rejoice in the full humanity of Jesus Christ.

 "...For the MAN will not rest until He has concluded the matter this day." Ruth 3:18b  

The Old Covenant beautifully spoke of our coming Kinsman-Redeemer through the lives of Boaz, a type of Christ, and Ruth, a stranger in need of a God, a new life, and a home. She represents fallen humanity.

As Kinsman-Redeemer, Christ fulfilled what the Old Testament required:

 1.The Redeemer must be a kinsman (Lev. 25:48-49; Ruth 3:12-13).
 2.The Redeemer must be able to redeem (Ruth 4:4-6).
 3.The redemption must be accomplished by the Redeemer paying the righteous demands involved (Lev. 25:27).

Gnostics, whose beliefs were condemned in the early church, believe that Jesus did not have a physical body. Rather, his apparent physical body was an illusion; hence, His crucifixion was not bodily.

They consider the human body evil and strive for intellectual and higher, spiritual enlightenment that can "free" them from such a prison during their earthly existence. Most sects practice strict asceticism (body denials and punishments), while others defile their bodies, believing such indulgences do not matter since the body is already corrupt.

In the Middle Ages, even the Church-at-large had a negative view of the human body and sought to tame its God-given passions and appetites through extreme measures of neglect or abuse.

This focus on dualism led to a perceived "split" from that which was done in the body as natural (and therefore considered ungodly) and spiritual (godly). Man was not viewed holistically. Akin to Gnostic thinking, Christians believed they were shamefully imprisoned in weak, sinful bodies that could not possibly please God. All the attention, therefore, was focused on Heaven and the future promise of perfection in a glorified body.

Gradually, the Church has returned to a more Biblical, seamless view of human existence.

"Flesh" and "spirit" are not two parts of man, but the whole man seen from two different aspects. All that man does in his natural state is "flesh"--even things like praying, fasting, celibacy and religious devotions. And all that which man does under the control of the Spirit is "spiritual", though it is body activity such as working, eating, and performing family duties.

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.  (I Corinthians 6:15, 19-20).

"For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh." (2 Corinthians 4:11)

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

It pleases the Son of God in Heaven to live in and through His human body, and He will do so forever.

Think of it! The Son of God determines to identify with humanity AFTER the Resurrection! In this, He enhances the glory of being human...for "He chose to be what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself." (Irenaeus, Against Heresies)

"The glory of God is a human being fully alive"! (St. Irenaeus)

Part III of the series, "Son of God AND Son of Man", will examine the expressions of Christ's humanity and divinity during His earthly life and ministry, and attempt to clear misconceptions about His self-knowledge and the genuineness of His earthly temptations.

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