The Word Made Flesh
“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.”(John 1:14).
It can be said that the greatest gift that God has given us is the gift of His Son, Who is the means for our salvation. It is through the Incarnation that the Son of God, became human and lived among us.
The definition of the Incarnation: “It is the doctrine that the eternal second person of the Trinity became a human being and assumed flesh in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus Christ was the Word made flesh. The doctrine holds that Jesus was one divine person with both a divine and a human nature.”
Lets add a section from the Westminster Confession of Faith for a little clarity to the above definition: “the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, did take upon him man’s nature with all the essential properties thereof; so that the two perfect and distinct natures, the Godhood and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person.”
The Incarnation includes the birth of Christ through the Virgin Mary, and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through Mary He received His human nature and through the power of the Spirit He avoided the pollution of original sin.
In simple terms the Incarnation is the act of God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, taking human form by clothing Himself with a human body. He became a man with two natures, a divine nature and a human nature. This was the man Jesus, the son of Mary and Joseph. Since God is a Trinity, one being in three persons, it is only God the Son who became man.
The following criteria are things to consider with the Doctrine of the Incarnation:
- Christ is eternal and existed as the preincarnate Son before the Incarnation. The Apostle John stresses this in the beginning of his gospel when he writes. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
- Jesus Christ in His earthly form was fully God and fully man, which is known as the God-man doctrine. In this form, as God and man, Jesus was able to be mankind’s substitute. Being truly man he was able to live a sinless life, being tempted in every form as a human is tempted, and being able to experience pain and death. Being truly God He was able to suffer the infinite God’s wrath on the cross. In this way He was able to takes man place in paying for the penalty of sin. This is the reason for the Incarnation and why it was necessary.
- The Incarnation was part of God’s Eternal Decree prior to creation as the Persons of the Trinity planned the redemption of man. Man’s redemption including the Incarnation is an act of God’s grace and mercy where He sought to reconcile us to Himself.