In the New Testament, the apostles present Jesus as God "manifested in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16). The apostle John, in the opening verses of his gospel, expresses this teaching:
John 1:1-3,14: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. ... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
Jesus, in His prayer recorded in John 17, confirms that He was with the Father in the beginning:
John 17:5: "And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was."
Jesus, as the Word of God, who was God, was the spokesman at whose command all came into existence; for each creative act recorded in Genesis, chapter 1, begins with the words: "Then God said".
Jesus, the One through whom all things were made, became flesh. He came to earth in human form:
Phil 2:5-11: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Jesus came to earth as a man, and he suffered and died for the sins of the human race. Because of this great sacrifice, God has highly exalted Him. It is in the name of Jesus -- that name by which He was known when He was in human form -- that every knee will bow and every tongue confess to salvation. This salvation in the name of Jesus was foretold by the prophet Isaiah:
Isa. 45:22-23: "Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath."
We learn, then, from the scriptures, the great significance of the incarnation. Jesus was God "manifested in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16). And the significance of Jesus as God manifested in the flesh is expressed in several other scriptures:
1. God sent His Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, to keep the law on our behalf. Jesus condemned sin "in the flesh"; that is, he lived a perfect life in our stead:
Rom. 8:3-4: "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."
2. The saints (both Jew and Gentile) are made one by the sacrifice of Christ "in the flesh":
Eph. 2:14-15: "For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of division between us, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace."
3. All will be reconciled to God through the sacrifice of Christ "in the body of His flesh":
Col. 1:19-22: "For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and irreproachable in His sight."
4. The saints draw near to God -- they pass through the veil -- by a new and living way; that is, through Christ's sacrifice in the flesh:
Heb. 10:19-22: "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" ...
5. Christ suffered once for sins by "being put to death in the flesh":
1 Pet. 3:18: "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit."
We see, then, the importance of the sacrifice of Christ "in the flesh". And we can well appreciate that it is in the name of JESUS -- that name by which he was known when he lived on the earth so many years ago -- that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
[All scriptural references are taken from the NKJV.]
Copyright © 1996 by Deborah Cox
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