Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Glory of the Incarnation

 My hubby, Jeff,  wrote an article for our church newsletter and I really just thought it was fantastic.  I asked his permission to reprint it here.  I hope you all enjoy! 

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A recently popular book, The Shack, by William Young is often hailed as a book that makes the Godhead more relatable, helping us to break our common ideas and thoughts about God and see the Trinity in a new light. While it may have a good story, it is a work of fiction filled with bad theology. While Young wrote it as an attempt to help his children understand God better, we need to understand that changing the revealed nature of God is never a good idea. As a work of fiction, read it if it suits your fancy, but do not try to understand God better through it.

While attempting to make God easier to understand and more like us may be a noble-sounding goal, it is a mockery of Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture. All of us have grown up with Christ being the most relatable figure in the Godhead. However, Christmas is a time to ponder exactly how miraculous a relationship that is. For the people in the Old Testament, God appeared as a pillar of smoke or fire: completely unapproachable. God explicitly points out to Moses that no one can see the face of God and live. (Exodus 33:20) So Moses, the Patriarch of the line of Christ, the Father of
the Israelites, was only able to glance at God's back after He passed by.

Not only are we not allowed to see the face of God, but no one was allowed to form any image for God. When Israel worshipped God, they did not have a form or picture in mind of whom they were worshipping. As Jesus pointed out to the Samaritan woman, God is Spirit. This is the same problem that Job had when he was undergoing his hardships. He knew well that God was not a man that was like him on any level. (Job 9:32-35) This was why he cried out for an arbiter or mediator that could stand between God and
man. In John 1:51, Christ claims to be the fulfillment of the vision given to Jacob of a ladder stretching from heaven to earth (Genesis 28:10-17).

This is the great chasm that Christ has crossed in his incarnation.
By taking on flesh, he has bridged the gap between heaven and earth, between God and man, and has given us an intercessor. God made us in His image and then He came down to us so that we could see Him. Our sinful nature left us completely separated from God, but Christ has come that we do not have to be outcast from God. Jesus testifies that whoever has seen Him has seen the
Father (John 14:9). He has taken the unknowable, all-powerful God and shown us His Own face through Jesus Christ. He has come to us to experience everything that we experience. God the Son experienced birth, hunger, thirst, temptation, suffering, torture, life, and death.

You want someone who can empathize with you; no one can more than Christ. This is the glory of Christmas: an infinite God came down to earth and met us on our own terms so that He could fully relate to us. He took our death, he bore our sin, and it is by the stripes place upon his back that we are healed. The incarnation of Christ, the virgin birth of God, is not something that should be relegated to God making Himself partly known so that we have to come up with the rest on our own through works of fiction. Just like in salvation, God has done all the work for us. We seek Him, we believe what He has said, and one day soon we will see God face to face, all because of Christ.

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