Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Worship Wednesdays: Incarnation

Someone once asked the celebrated talk-show host, Larry King, whom he would choose to interview if given a chance. King replied, “Jesus Christ.” And his question: “Are you indeed virgin born?” If any question has baffled man more, it is indeed this question. Out of all the possibilities that God could have spoken to this world, why did He choose to incarnate Himself in human flesh? The Second Person of the Trinity laid aside his divine privileges and garbed Himself with human skin. John describes the scene for us in John 1:1-2, 14,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God… And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The problem that plagued the early church surrounded the mystery of Jesus as both God and man. Some overemphasized Jesus’ humanity to the detriment of His deity and others overemphasized His deity to the detriment of His humanity. Finally in A.D. 451, the Council of Chalcedon convened and submitted the Chalcedonian creed which finally settled the dispute among many teachers who were misinterpreting the meaning of the incarnation.

The following is their submittal:

Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us. (Chalcedonian Creed A. D. 451)

What is the purpose of the incarnation?

1) The incarnation reveals God.
“He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, Show us the Father?” John 14:9

2) The incarnation provides a way for man to be saved.
“This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.” 1 Timothy 2:3-6

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