|The Incarnation of Jesus Christ|
"'You are a king, then!' said Pilate. Jesus answered, 'You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me" (John 18:37).
The "truth" Jesus was referring to in His dialogue with Pilate, is this; that mankind is separated from God due to sin, and that "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
The term incarnation refers to the essential Christian doctrine that God himself became a man. This is what John 3:16 refers to when it uses the phrase, "He gave His one and only Son." The incarnation was absolutely necessary for the atonement.
God is both sovereign and holy -- He has established a moral order that is in harmony with His holiness. Sin is incompatible with God's nature. The penalty for rejecting God's sovereignty is separation from God -- separation meaning both spiritual death and physical death. Every human being possesses a sin nature; thus each of us is separated from God because of our sins. But God's love for us is so deep that He has provided a means of redemption so that we may be restored to fellowship with our Creator -- He paid the penalty for our sins Himself. He that was perfect gave His life for those that were imperfect -- through the incarnation God became the necessary, perfect sacrifice that was required under the law: "Then He said, 'Here I am, I have come to do your will.' He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:9-10).
To thoughtfully consider the incarnation is to be brought into the presence of incarnate love itself. God did not have to ordain the atonement as the means of man's redemption; but He did. He chose to take on human form; He chose to dwell in the midst of a cursed creation; and He chose to die an agonizing death on a cross. Isaiah 53 is a sobering Old Testament prophetic description of what Christ experienced: "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted" (Isaiah 53:3-4).
Most cults deny the incarnation. Those that claim to accept this doctrine always redefine the nature of God, so as to make God something less than what Scripture clearly indicates He is. That God became flesh, taught and demonstrated to us how we should live, showed us the way to eternal life, and then died on the cross in our place, are essentials of the Christian faith. They cannot be compromised.
"He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:10-12).
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