Monday, February 23, 2009

Bible Doctrine Series-The Incarnation

The incarnation has nothing to do with the origin or beginning of Christ because He is eternal. It has to do with His coming into the world, His entrance into human life. Many descriptions depict this fact. Note some of these: 1. He came—Matthew 20:28. 2. He came down from heaven—John 6:51. 3. He was sent into the world—John 3:17. 4. He was manifested—1 John 3:5. 5. He was made of a woman—Galatians 4:4. 6. He was given a body—Hebrews 10:5. 7. He was made flesh--John 1:14. 8. He partook of flesh and blood—-Hebrews 2:14. 9. He was made of the seed of David—-Romans 1:3. 10. He took the form of a servant—-Philippians 2:7. The Manner of the Incarnation—the Virgin Birth. The prophecies of the Virgin Birth. Isaiah 7:14; 66:7; 53:2 (a symbol). Genesis 3:15 (an intimation). Testimonies to the Virgin Birth. Matthew 1:16—“of whom” is feminine, referring to Mary. 1:18-25. Luke 1:27; 3:23—this verse could better be put: “And Jesus Himself was beginning (His ministry) about thirty years (of age), being a son, as was supposed of Joseph, of Heli.” Paul—Galatians 4:4, cf. vv. 23, 29. In this chapter Jesus is said to have been “made” (ginomai) of a woman while others were “born” (gennao). This shows a distinction in Jesus’ entrance into the world although it doesn’t strictly prove a virgin birth. Jesus (indirectly)—Luke 2:48, 49. Jesus’ Enemies (indirectly)—John 8:41, 48. Note: The virgin birth is essential to our Lord’s sinlessness and thus to His Saviourhood. If He was not preserved from sin when He became a man, He could not redeem sinful men because He Himself would then need a Savior. That which is born through the normal union of flesh physically is also corrupted flesh morally and spiritually (cf. John 3:6). But Luke 1:35 suggests that Christ’s sinlessness is related to His miraculous conception and birth. He was holy because the Holy Spirit wrought conception in Mary. The Purposes of the Incarnation. To Provide an Everlasting Revelation of the Invisible God in Visible Form. John 18; 14:9; Colossians 1:15. To Die for Sinners and to Save From Sin. 1 John 3:5; Hebrews 2:9; 10:4,5; 8-10; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. God, as pure Spirit, could not die for sin; but God incarnate could and did thus die. The goal of the incarnation was death for sin (Hebrews 2:9). One cannot be saved merely by the preaching of the manger, it must include the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18). The Give Men His Own Eternal Life. John 10:10, 11; 6:51. To Provide the Redeemed with a High Priest Who Knew Life by Experience. Hebrews 2:17-18. To provide the Best Judge of Man by Knowing Human Life by Experience. John 5:22, 27. The Father gave Jesus authority to judge “because he is the Son of Man” (v. 27). The Greek has no article before Son, stressing the quality of the human being; Jesus is the best possible judge of sinners. It is not because He is any wiser than the other persons of the Trinity. To Provide an Ideal and Perfect Example to Believers. An example of What Believers should be now. 1 John 2:6; 1 Peter 2:21. An example of What Believer will be hereafter. 1 John 3:2; Hebrews 2:6, 9. The permanence of the Incarnation. Hebrews 13:8; Colossians 1:15; Revelation 22:16. When Jesus became incarnate there were some changes made: --in His dwelling place (from heaven to earth) (John 6:51). --in His possessions (from riches to poverty) (2 Corinthians 8:9; Luke 9:58). --in His glory (from glory to obscurity) (John 17:5). --in His position (from equality with God to a servant) (Philippians 2:6-7). --in His form (from the form of God to the form of a servant) (Philippians 2:6-7). The first four changes were temporary; the last was permanent. Practical Lessons of the Incarnation. It shows that human life and existence is worth while; it does have intrinsic sacredness and dignity. It proves that physical life is not inherently sinful because Jesus was sinless. Cf. the excuse, “We’re all human!” It assures us of a God who knows human life by personal experience. The Person of Christ. The person of Christ is the great touchstone of orthodoxy and separation (cf. 1 John 4:2; 2 John 9-11). It is also one of the greatest and most profound mysteries of the Bible (1 Timothy 3:16). A proper heart attitude and relationship toward men and God is necessary so that a reverent and humble approach can be made to this great doctrine (Colossians 2:1-3). The Human Nature of Christ. Jesus was perfectly and completely human. Sin is not a necessary ingredient in humanity. Human ascriptions. 1 Timothy 2:5; Luke 2:12, 43; Acts 2:30. Human Elements. Body-John 2:21; Soul—John 12:27; Spirit—Luke 23:46. Note sometimes “flesh” or “flesh and blood” are used to refer to His total human nature rather than to the body only. Cf. John 1:3; 3:6; Hebrews 2A:14. Human attributes or characteristics. Birth—Luke 2:5, 12. Growth and development—Luke 2:40, 52. Note: Development does not imply imperfection. Jesus was perfect at every stage of His growth. Emotions—Mark 3:5; John 11:35; 12:27. Appetites—Matthew 4:2 (hunger); John 19:28 (thirst). Limitations—John 4:6 (weariness); Matthew 8:24 (sleep); Matthew 26:29 and Mark 11:13 (knowledge). Appearances—John 4:9 (a Jew); 20:15 (a Gardner). Suffering and death—John 19:30, 34. The Divine Nature of Christ, This is the deity of Christ, The Bible teaches that God in Christ took on humanity, not that a human Jesus took on divinity. Divine Attributes. Self-existent life. John 1:4; 14:6. Eternal. John 8:35; 1 John 1:2. Unchangeable—Hebrews 13:8. Omnipresence. Matthew 18:20; 28:20. Note: The Bible does not teach the omnipresence of the body of Jesus, as some Lutherans and others hold (so that His presence is “in, with and under” the communion wafer). Omniscience. Colossians 2:3; John 16:30; 21:17. Note: Matthew 24:36 says Christ knew not the time of His own coming again to earth. In this case Jesus’ knowledge was self limited. He knew all things but willed not to recall all He knew. Omnipotence. Matthew 28:18; Philippians 3:20-21. Note: Mark 6:5 says he could do no mighty work because of unbelief. Here Jesus self limited His power to the faith of certain people. A mark of true power is when one has power over his power. Incomprehensibility—Ephesians 3:19. Infinity—Ephesians 3:8. Holiness—Acts 3:14; 1 John 3:5. Truth—Revelation 3:7. Love—1 John 3:16. Righteousness—1 John 2:1. Faithfulness—Revelation 19:11. Mercy—Jude 21. Divine Works. Creation—John 1:3. Preservation—Hebrews 1:3. Control of history—Hebrews 1:2; cf. Isaiah 9:6. Forgiveness of sin and impartation of eternal life. Mark 2:5,7, 12; John 10:28. Building of the Church—Matthew 16:18. Answering prayer—John 14:14. Resurrection of the dead. John 5:21, 28-29; 11:24-25. Judging of the world—Acts 10:42. Divine Names (see section on the names of God). Diving Worship is accorded to Christ. He accepted worship—Matthew 28:9-10. He demanded worship—John 5:23. Worship of Him is commanded—Hebrews 1; 6. Worship of Him will be universal—Philippians 2:10-11. Divine Claims. He claimed authority over the laws and institutions of God. Temple—Matthew 12:6. Sabbath—Matthew 12:8. Law of Moses—Matthew 5:31-34. He claimed to be the object of saving faith. Matthew 11:28; John 14:1, 6. He claimed to be equal with God. John 5:18; 19:7. Prophecies of His Deity. Psalm 110:11; cf. Matthew 22:41-46. (The argument is that David’s Son is also David’s God). Isaiah 7:14—Immanuel, God with us. Isaiah 9:6—mighty God. The union of the Two Natures in Christ. The two natures remain distinct for each other although united in the one person. Romans 1:3-4; 9:5. By means of this union, the divine nature can impart some of its powers and values to the human nature without passing over into its essence. John 2:19-21; 6:51. By means of this union, certain human experiences are possible for the divine nature. Hebrews 2:14; 1 Corinthians 2:8; Matthew 24:36. The union of the two natures is eternally permanent. Hebrews 7:24. Note: There is considerable debate over whether Jesus had one or two wills. It is actually a debate over whether self-determination resides in the nature or in the personality. It is best to say that Jesus had one will as an indivisible person. He had only one direction in moral decisions—to do His Father’s will (Hebrews 10:7)—and this arose out of His person as the God-man. The Indivisibility of the Person of Christ. Jesus was “very God of very God and very man of very man.” He was truly God and truly man in one indivisible person. Strictly speaking, He was not God and man, but he was the God-man. 1. Jesus always considered Himself as one personality. Jesus distinguished Himself from other men (John 8:23), from God the Father (John 8:18), and from the Holy Spirit (John 16:7); but He never distinguished the natures in His own person. He did not single out either of His natures and attribute certain activities to it alone. 2. The various attributes and functions of the two natures are applied without distinction to the one person of Jesus Christ. Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 2:8. 3. Many manifestations of Christ’s natures appear side by side, yet are all ascribed to the one person. Matthew 8:24-26 (Asleep; calmed the storm). Mark 11:1-6, 12-13 (knew about the colt; was hungry). John 11:35, 38, 43, 44 (wept; raised the dead). Note: It is not correct to divide the activities of Jesus and ascribe some purely to His human nature and some to His divine nature. The historic formula of Bible believers concerning these matters is: “Neither divide the person nor confound the natures.” Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings

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