Six key passages on the Incarnation

This is the fourth in a series of articles on the Incarnation. Previously: Ten truths about the Incarnation

By the term “Incarnation,” we mean the eternal Son of God took on human flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. As such, Jesus is one person in two distinct but undivided natures: human and divine.

In previous articles, we explored how these two natures work together as the eternal Son of God adds sinless humanity to His deity via the miracle of the virgin birth. And we summarized 10 essential truths about the Incarnation.

Now, let’s look at six key passages of Scripture that help us understand what it means when the apostle John writes, “the Word became flesh.”

John 1:14 – “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The eternal Son of God always had a divine nature. He was with God in the beginning, and John makes it clear He was God (John 1:1).  In the Incarnation, He added a real human nature and thus became both God and man.

The word “dwelt” may be translated “tabernacled.” Just as the divine presence was with ancient Israelites in the pillar of cloud and fire, the tabernacle, and the temple, Yahweh now manifested Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, the God-Man.
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What Islam and Mormonism have in common

Satan is clever but not original.

He cannot create, procreate, raise the dead, or inspire Scripture. But he can take things God created for good and twist them for his evil purposes.

He is especially proficient in false religions, from Algard Wicca to Zoroastrianism. While the world’s wayward faiths are diverse, the evil one’s fingerprints are on all of them.

To illustrate, let’s look at similar patterns in two very different belief systems: Islam and Mormonism.

It would seem these religious organizations have little in common. Their doctrines and rituals are distinctly different. Yet their claims to truth bear remarkable similarities. Consider six such parallels.

(1) A false god. Both Muslims and Mormons profess belief in the God of Scripture. However, their gods stand in stark contrast to Yahweh, the one true and living God.

 Islam’s god, Allah, is monolithic, impersonal, unknowable, and unapproachable. He is the author of both good and evil and fatalistically determines all things.

Mormons worship Elohim, or “Heavenly Father,” as the god of this world. Once a man, he attained deity, as did his first-born spirit child Jesus (Jehovah). Mormons believe there are many gods and many worlds and that men may themselves become gods one day.
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Merely Natural: Scoffers Without the Spirit

The Missouri Baptist Convention has published a new resource called The Last Apologist: A Commentary on Jude for Defenders of the Christian Faith. The 275-page book is available in print and Kindle editions on Amazon, and in print from the MBC. But we also want to make each of the 16 chapters available online. This post features Chapter 12: Wild Waves and Wandering Stars: The Doom of False Teachers.

Previously: Look! The Lord Comes: The Prophecy of Enoch

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But you, dear friends, remember the words foretold by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they told you, “In the end time there will be scoffers walking according to their own ungodly desires.” These people create divisions and are merely natural, not having the Spirit. (Jude 17-19 HCSB)

William MacLeod Raine (1871 – 1954) was a newspaper man and author of a number of western adventure novels. In a feature about Dodge City, Kansas, Raine wrote that practical jokes fueled the city’s “good spirits” in the late 19thcentury – and the wilder the joke, the better.

Enter “Mysterious Dave,” also known as Dave Mathers, one of the nastiest characters to walk the sawdust trail. Raine called him “the worst of bad men and a notorious scoffer.”

It so happened that an evangelist known as Brother Johnson came to town and led a series of meetings so successful that the crowds outgrew the church and adjourned to a local dance hall, thus attracting Mysterious Dave. He listened to Brother Johnson preach several times, admiring the evangelist’s fiery sermons against sin. Perhaps, the preacher thought, there was hope for this Dodge City scoundrel.

So, Brother Johnson preached directly at Dave, leveraging the full weight of his message against the sinner’s stubborn resistance. And then it happened. Dave buried his head in his hands and sobbed. The preacher boldly exclaimed that he was willing to die if he could convert this one vile sinner. The deacons in the congregation agreed that they, too, would not resist going straight to heaven if Mysterious Dave were converted.

At last Dave rose to his feet and said, “I’ve got yore company, friends. Now, while we’re all saved I reckon we better start straight for heaven. First off, the preacher; then the deacons; me last.” Dave pulled out his “whoppin’ big gun” and started shooting.

The preacher dove through a window to avoid the gunfire. His deacons scattered in search of cover. Raine concluded, “Seemed like they was willin’ to postpone taking that ticket to heaven. After that they never did worry any more about Dave’s soul.”

Notorious scoffers like Dave Mathers eventually reveal their true character. They are incorrigible and unrepentant. At some point, people may fairly conclude that they have passed the point of no return. Nothing successfully prompts a change in their behavior because their character is fully corrupted.

But scoffers in the Old West are nothing new. First-century false teachers honed the art of ridicule long before the first brigands rode into Dodge City. Jude reminds his readers that the apostles warned us of such people. We should be on guard but not surprised.
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Ten truths about the Incarnation

 

This is the third in a series of articles on the Incarnation. Previously: Jesus as the God-Man

So far in this series, we have established that the Incarnation means the eternal Son of God took on human flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. As such, Jesus is one person in two distinct but undivided natures: human and divine.

In addition, we’ve explored how these two natures work together as the eternal Son of God adds sinless humanity to His deity via the miracle of the virgin birth.

In this article, we summarize 10 essential truths about the Incarnation. They help us form a framework for better understanding the person and work of Christ. They also help establish a foundation for exploring the thornier issues related to the Incarnation.

These truths are drawn from a number of sources, including the systematic theologies of Wayne Grudem, Charles Hodge, and Lewis Berkhof, and are summarized in God Among Sages by Kenneth Samples.

Ten Truths

1. Jesus Christ is one person possessing two distinct natures: a fully divine nature and a fully human nature. Thus, Jesus of Nazareth may rightly be called the God-Man.

2. Christ is the same person both before and after the Incarnation. As the writer of Hebrews notes, He is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). The difference is that before the Incarnation, Jesus had but one nature (divine). In the Incarnation, He added a human nature, one that exists together with the original divine nature, which did not and will not disappear.
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Look! The Lord Comes: The Prophecy of Enoch

The Missouri Baptist Convention has published a new resource called The Last Apologist: A Commentary on Jude for Defenders of the Christian Faith. The 275-page book is available in print and Kindle editions on Amazon, and in print from the MBC. But we also want to make each of the 16 chapters available online. This post features Chapter 13: Look! The Lord Comes: The Prophecy of Enoch.

Previously: The Doom of False Teachers

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And Enoch, in the seventh [generation] from Adam, prophesied about them:

Look! The lord comes

 with thousands of His holy ones

to execute judgment on all,

and to convict them

of all their ungodly deeds

that they have done

in an ungodly way,

and of all the harsh things

ungodly sinners

 have said against Him.

These people are discontented grumblers, walking according to their desires; their mouths utter arrogant words, flattering people for their own advantage. (Jude 14-16 HCSB)

Most people who profess belief in Jesus anticipate His return. But when and how – and even in what form– He comes back is a matter of considerable debate.

Muslims, for example, believe Jesus is returning one day to destroy the Dajjal (Antichrist); break the cross as a declaration against the notion he was ever crucified; kill the pig, thus making pork universally prohibited; and abolish the Jizyah tax on Christians and Jews, as these former unbelievers now universally embrace Islam.

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus (an exalted Michael the archangel) returned invisibly in 1914, began ruling as king over the whole earth, and now is preparing for his invisible “revelation” in the events of Armageddon and the beginning of the Millennium.

Baha’is teach that Baha’u’llah, a 19th century Iranian prophet, is both a manifestation of God and the second coming of Christ. In addition, he is the promised Holy Spirit, the Day of God, the Maiytrea (from Buddhism) and the Krishna (from Hinduism).

The Indian guru Paramahansa Yogananda offers a mystical interpretation of the Second Coming, in which it is understood as an inner experience that takes place within a person’s heart. The true Second Coming, he writes, is the resurrection within you of the Infinite Christ Consciousness.

Evangelical Christians hold a variety of views about the Second Coming.
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