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Incarnation - What does it mean?

The word incarnation speaks of the process in which God takes on human nature in the person of Jesus Christ. God the Son assumed human nature – becoming or converting if you will, into flesh. ( John 1:14) John further refers to God the Son as the true light, (not the fake one) one that shines to everyone and that this light comes into the world. (1:9) The incarnation speaks of God the Father, a Spirit sending His only begotten son – also a Spirit into the world to redeem fallen man; but the only way He could successfully accomplish His mission on earth, was by acquiring a body. That which was in the beginning and was with the Father – the life and the source of life was made manifest for all to see (1 John 1:1-2)

The incarnation involved a supernatural conception.

Timothy refers to incarnation as the mystery of godliness – where God was manifest in the flesh. He calls it a mystery because, in our own human wisdom, we will never fully fathom how a young virgin can become pregnant by the Holy Spirit – it does not make any human sense at all and that is why the only viable option for us to believe. It is a mystery, how a God larger than life can compress himself into a man. (1Timothy 3:16)

The incarnation of the invisible God was such that the Son radiated the glory of the Father and was the exact imprint of his nature. (Heb 1:2-3)

The cost of the incarnation

For the incarnation to happen, God, the son had to step out of his form as God – emptying Himself of His glory and taking on the form of a servant, to be born in the likeness of men. ( Phil 2:6-7) This was not cheap.

The necessity of the incarnation

Why the incarnation you may ask? This was because of the fall in Genesis chapter 3.

Man lost his place before God when he chose to walk away from God’s presence bowing to sin. This created a chasm between God and man and so we needed a mediator. God took the initiative and sent Himself on this mission of reconciliation; but for this to happen effectively, it required only a person who is fully human and fully divine – hence the need for incarnation. Timothy drives this point home very well when he writes thus, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ. (1Timothy 2:5)

Lessons from the Incarnation

Firstly, from Scripture, we learn that the reason the incarnation happened was because of God’s endless love for sinners. He loved the world to the extent of giving His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him will never die but have eternal life. (John 3:16) God took the initiative to come and seek man so that the relationship between them can be restored. Therefore, we too must love those that have sinned against us by taking the initiative for reconciliation – we must never give up on people because we too have received mercy. God never gave upon us, we too must never give up on anyone.

Secondly, since the incarnation, brought about mediation and reconciliation, we too must be mediators between our fellow brethren that may be at loggerheads with one another. Instead of fanning the fires of hatred and strife, we must always carry the ministry of reconciliation which is the baton that Christ handed to us. (2 Cor. 5:18-20)

Thirdly, we learned that for the incarnation to happen, God had to empty Himself of Himself – humbling Himself by stooping so low in order to reach a sinful generation. Some of us can be too full of ourselves. We too must be willing to step off our high horses, empty ourselves of ourselves and stoop low just like Jesus did, if we are indeed to be Ambassadors of reconciliation.

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