The Wonder of the Incarnation

Ken Connor, Chairman, Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC

Ken Connor, Chairman, Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC

Have you ever noticed how, when it comes to the rich and powerful, the most impressive people are those that eschew the many benefits of their position in favor of a modest, down to earth existence?  When those from whom we expect arrogance surprise us with humility, something resonates within the human soul.  For Christians, one of the most breathtaking things about our savior Jesus Christ is that he willingly surrendered the privileges of his Lordship and descended from Heaven to walk among us, as one of us.

For us and for our salvation, He came down from Heaven.  By the power of the Holy Spirit He became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. (The Nicene Creed)

This is the miracle of Christmas—that in order to reconcile humankind to Him forever God Himself became a man, taking the form of a bondservant and offering an example of holiness and love to the world.  In his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul tells us that we are called to imitate Christ:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to deatheven death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8 NIV)

It’s a difficult concept to grasp, the knowledge that the God of the Universe loved us so much that he was willing to become a man and die for us.  What’s even more amazing is that He did this for a sinful, fallen, wholly unworthy world:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8 NIV)

Most of us can imagine a scenario where we would lay down our lives in defense of our spouse, our children, our family, or perhaps our friends.  But who among us could imagine loving anyone so much that we would subject ourselves to cruel mockery, brutal torture, and an agonizing death at their hands?  Who among us would willingly give our lives for someone who spurns us and hates us?  The answer is no one.  Only Jesus Christ had enough love to cover over human sin; only He was capable of the benevolence and humility necessary to endure the pain of humanity’s hatred and rejection.  This is why only He is worthy of our love, worship, and devotion:

Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 NIV)

It’s so easy for the true meaning of Christmas to get lost amid the hustle and bustle of the season.  But there’s no perfect gift, no perfect meal, nothing that man can do that can equal the glory of the Christmas miracle—the miracle of Christ’s incarnation.  This Christmas, before we do anything else, let us fall to our knees in humility before God with offers of prayer and thanksgiving for the saving work that began over 2,000 years ago with the birth of a tiny baby in a manger.

Attorney Ken Connor is the Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC, and the former President of the Family Research Council. He served as counsel to Governor Jeb Bush in Bush v. Schiavo during the Terri Schiavo case, and is co-author of “Sinful Silence: When Christians Neglect Their Civic Duty.

10 Responses to “The Wonder of the Incarnation”

  1. When one looks honestly at what Christ did for us (without trying to twist the story into nonsense like so many do), it's unbelievable that anyone could possibly turn their back on it. Apparently some people's pride means more to them than anything else.

    And yet Christ knew that most would reject him, and he told us so very directly. How is it the people he was talking about never see just how thoroughly he had their number?

  2. Ouote Mr. Conner ” It's a difficult concept to grasp, the knowledge that the God of the Universe loved us so much that he was willing to become a man and die for us” When you think about that statement, it isn't true because no one died. Just a body ceased to function. God, whether as a spirit in heaven or occupying some human can't die. He just moved from some earthly creature back to a heavenly presence. Nothing changed at all, except God moved from one form to another. I did read Hebrews, but it seems to me no death occured, but just a change of location of God's presence.Even those who say this Jesus had human qualities makes it different, but God feels and has human qualities because he feels all things. Please correct me if I am wrong, but it seems there is no Jesus, but rather God just occupying a human body for a brief period of time.The soul, the essence was God all the time

  3. You're partly correct. It is true that the essence of Jesus did not die at the cross, but his body certainly did.

    The same is true of every human being. When I die, the physical “me” will be gone; I will no longer have a physical form in which to interact fully with this physical world, and I will be separated from this existence essentially forever. But the “me” that is my soul–the actual “me” that makes up my personality–will live on.

    If a human being has placed their faith in the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, their spirit will go on to live throughout eternity with access to God, in a state of perfection similar to what God always intended for humanity.

    If a human being rejects Christ's offer of pardon and dies with their sins on their account, that person will join their master Satan in Hell. God would rather not see it that way, but that's a choice we all make with our free will. And unfortunately Christ told us most people would choose to reject his pardon.

    But you don't have to be one of those.

  4. Bob Your last paragraph was interesting to me. You mention if a human being rejects Christ's offer of pardon and dies with their sins on their account, that person will join their master Satan in hell. Then you say that God would rather not see it that way……. You speak as if Christ and God are two are two different things when in truth they are one just speaking through different vessels. Shouldn't we just refer to Christ to who he really was, which was God in the flesh. It seems to me that Christians have this tendency to think of Jesus as telling us about what God wants us to do, when it is really God telling us about Himself. I think you believe Jesus and God are not two different entities, so why even refer to them as such ? I would think God is always God no matter how He chooses to present Himself. Is there a hesitency amongst Christians in just saying Jesus was God on earth, because you hear euphemisms like 'Gods son' etc all the time ?

  5. There is a great amount of accuracy in most of what you said. Sometimes Christians refer to “God” in the all-encompassing sense of the Trinity, including Father, Son and Spirit. And at other times–usually when we speak of particular functions of the Trinity and specific acts carried out by the Trinity—we refer to them separately. Yet all three are in perfect harmony and agreement.

    Both are true. We view the Trinity as ONE God, with three distinct members or personalities. This gets back to why, a week or two ago, I said the doctrine of the Trinity was so difficult for even Christians to grasp.

    I have heard many wise men and women try to come up with analogies to describe the Trinity, and while some come close, all fall short in one or more respects. A former teacher of mine who holds two PhDs and has been a seminary professor for 20 years or more admits that he cannot accurately articulate a full description of the Trinity.

    While there are many aspects concerning Christianity which we can believe in with secular, extra-Biblical evidence to support those beliefs, there are some that are so beyond our human experience in the way the laws of this universe works, we must take them on faith. And that unbroken track record of the Bible never having been in error in more than 3,000 years helps to take the things we can't comprehend on faith.

    I've come down with a nasty bug, so I'm hitting the sack. Have a good night!

  6. Take care, force fluids and get well soon

  7. You're partly correct. It is true that the essence of Jesus did not die at the cross, but his body certainly did.

    The same is true of every human being. When I die, the physical “me” will be gone; I will no longer have a physical form in which to interact fully with this physical world, and I will be separated from this existence essentially forever. But the “me” that is my soul–the actual “me” that makes up my personality–will live on.

    If a human being has placed their faith in the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, their spirit will go on to live throughout eternity with access to God, in a state of perfection similar to what God always intended for humanity.

    If a human being rejects Christ's offer of pardon and dies with their sins on their account, that person will join their master Satan in Hell. God would rather not see it that way, but that's a choice we all make with our free will. And unfortunately Christ told us most people would choose to reject his pardon.

    But you don't have to be one of those.

  8. Bob Your last paragraph was interesting to me. You mention if a human being rejects Christ's offer of pardon and dies with their sins on their account, that person will join their master Satan in hell. Then you say that God would rather not see it that way……. You speak as if Christ and God are two are two different things when in truth they are one just speaking through different vessels. Shouldn't we just refer to Christ to who he really was, which was God in the flesh. It seems to me that Christians have this tendency to think of Jesus as telling us about what God wants us to do, when it is really God telling us about Himself. I think you believe Jesus and God are not two different entities, so why even refer to them as such ? I would think God is always God no matter how He chooses to present Himself. Is there a hesitency amongst Christians in just saying Jesus was God on earth, because you hear euphemisms like 'Gods son' etc all the time ?

  9. There is a great amount of accuracy in most of what you said. Sometimes Christians refer to “God” in the all-encompassing sense of the Trinity, including Father, Son and Spirit. And at other times–usually when we speak of particular functions of the Trinity and specific acts carried out by the Trinity—we refer to them separately. Yet all three are in perfect harmony and agreement.

    Both are true. We view the Trinity as ONE God, with three distinct members or personalities. This gets back to why, a week or two ago, I said the doctrine of the Trinity was so difficult for even Christians to grasp.

    I have heard many wise men and women try to come up with analogies to describe the Trinity, and while some come close, all fall short in one or more respects. A former teacher of mine who holds two PhDs and has been a seminary professor for 20 years or more admits that he cannot accurately articulate a full description of the Trinity.

    While there are many aspects concerning Christianity which we can believe in with secular, extra-Biblical evidence to support those beliefs, there are some that are so beyond our human experience in the way the laws of this universe works, we must take them on faith. And that unbroken track record of the Bible never having been in error in more than 3,000 years helps to take the things we can't comprehend on faith.

    I've come down with a nasty bug, so I'm hitting the sack. Have a good night!

  10. Take care, force fluids and get well soon