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Thursday
Dec182008

Theological Term of the Week

incarnation
The act of God in which God the son, the second person of the Trinity, took upon himself a human nature so that his divine nature and human nature were joined together in one person who is both truly God and truly man.

  • From Philippians 2:5-8:
    Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (ESV)
  • From The Belgic Confession, Article 18: The Incarnation:

    The Son took the “form of a servant” and was made in the “likeness of man,” truly assuming a real human nature, with all its weaknesses, except for sin; being conceived in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, without male participation.

    And he not only assumed human nature as far as the body is concerned but also a real human soul, in order that he might be a real human being. For since the soul had been lost as well as the body he had to assume them both to save them both together.

    Therefore we confess … that he “shared the very flesh and blood of children”; that he is “fruit of the loins of David” according to the flesh; “born of the seed of David” according to the flesh; “fruit of the womb of the virgin Mary”;”born of a woman”; “the seed of David”; “a shoot from the root of Jesse”; “the offspring of Judah,” having descended from the Jews according to the flesh; “from the seed of Abraham”— for he “assumed Abraham’s seed” and was “made like his brothers except for sin.”

    In this way he is truly our Immanuel— that is: “God with us.”

  • From The Wonder of God Over Us and With Us by John Frame:

    Have you ever considered the utter mystery surrounding the incarnation of Christ - God entering our time and space while remaining above time and space as our sovereign Lord? The eternal becomes temporal; the infinite becomes finite; the Word that created all things becomes flesh. It is beyond human comprehension. The one who knows all things (John 16:30, 21:17) must “grow in wisdom” (Luke 2:52). The all-sufficient one (Acts 17:25) must hunger and thirst (Matt. 4:2, John 19:28). The creator of all must be homeless (Matt. 8:20). The Lord of life must suffer and die. God in the flesh must endure estrangement from God the Father (Matt. 27:46).

    In Jesus (God the Son), God, who knows the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10), must watch His eternal plan unfold bit by bit, moment by moment. He grows from infancy to childhood to adulthood, responding to events as they happen. One time He rejoices; another time He weeps. From day to day, from hour to hour, the changeless God endures change. But God the Son incarnate is still God, still transcendent. As He responds to events in time, He also looks down on the world from above time and space, ruling all the events of nature and history.

    Why did God enter time in Christ? Joseph named his baby Jesus, “because he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). It was the Father’s love (John 3:16) that sent His Son, “that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” The Son of God took on the limitations of time, even death, so that we who deserve death can have life without limit, forever with God. He died in our place, that we might never die.

Learn more:

  1. J. I. Packer: Incarnation: God Sent His Son, To Save Us
  2. Paul Helm: Incomprehensibly Made Man
  3. Bob Deffinbaugh: The Importance of the Incarnation
  4. Wayne Grudem: The Person of Christ, Part 1, Part 2Part 3 (audio)

Related terms: 

Filed under Person, Work and Teachings of Christ

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order

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Reader Comments (3)

Very appropriate for the season. "Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Immanuel."

December 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Rebecca,
So amazing, so wonderful, such knowledge is too hard to grasp...making Him utterly, gloriously God!! :-) Thanks so much for the article!

December 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Thank you, Rebecca! I just posted this on my blog today.

Have a most blessed day!

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