To understand the meaning of Christmas we need to understand what really took place. God came to earth in the form of man. Jesus Christ being both fully God and fully man dwelt with us to bring us into a relationship with God. By the help of Basic Theology by Charles Ryrie we are going to unpack this miraculous event. We will get into the meaning of incarnation, the predictions of the incarnation, the means of incarnation and reasons for the incarnation.
The Meaning Of Incarnation
To first explain the true meaning of Christmas and the Incarnation of Christ we must see what incarnation means. Incarnation is the embodiment of God the Son in human flesh as Jesus Christ.
In John 1:14 John wrote the Word became flesh. Also in 1John 4:2 and 2 John 7 he wrote of Jesus coming in the flesh. Meaning the second person of the trinity took on Himself humanity. Christ did not posses humanity until his birth.
The Predictions Of The Incarnation
In Isaiah 9:6 we see the God-Man foretold. Isaiah tells us of a child who will be born whose name will be Mighty God. A child can only mean human form and Mighty God being his deity. We also see he will be called Eternal Father. Only God is Eternal.
In Isaiah 7:14 the name Immanuel reveals the same truth. Immanuel meaning God is with us or as Ryrie puts it in Basic Theology; the very presence of the virgin-born Child brings God to His People.
The Virgin Birth
In Isaiah 7:14 we also see the reference of the virgin birth. Isaiah tells us that God will give us a sign and a child will be born of a virgin.
Many liberals have debated about the word almah used to describe virgin. In Gen. 24:43 it is used to describe a young woman whose characteristics is virginity. In-fact there is no instance that can prove that it does not describe a virgin. The Septuagint translates it to parthenos in 2 of the seven occurrences including in Matthew 1:23 where Matthew talks about the virgin birth. Parthenos meaning a woman of marriageable age who has never had sexual intercourse.
The Means Of Incarnation
In Luke 1:34-35 after Mary is told she will conceive and in her womb bare a son she says how can this be for i am a virgin. The angel tells her the Holy Spirit will come upon her and the power of the Most High will overshadow her. She will be pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
Also we see in Matthew 1:16 when he is going through the genealogies of Christ to trace his lineage back to King David; Matthew is careful to state that Joseph was the husband of Mary but it was only by Mary that Jesus was born
Matthew uses “by whom” which is singular feminine showing that Jesus was born by Mary only and not by Mary and Joseph.
In The Moody Handbook of Theology it shows that there are two genealogies that the describe the incarnation. Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38. Both genealogies trace Jesus back to the throne of David.
Matthew describes Joseph’s lineage and that he is heir to the throne. Jesus is also an heir to the throne because he is the adoptive son of Joseph. In those times an heir made his claim through the father.
In Luke we see Jesus’ descent from Mary to Adam, connecting Christ with the predicted seed of the woman.
* It is important to note that not once did anyone dispute Jesus’ claim to be the Son of David. Many times he was called by others the Son of David. (Matthew 9:27, Matthew 12:23, Matthew 15:22, Matthew 20:30, Matthew 21:9, )
The Reasons For The Incarnation
One may often ask oneself why did God go through all this trouble? Why sis he do it this way? Why did he send His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh?
To Reveal God To Us
John 1:18 tells us that no one has seen the Father, but that Jesus has explained Him to us.
In John 14:7-11 Jesus tells us that anyone who knows Him knows the Father and has seen Him. He goes on to tell us that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him.
They are on and to know Jesus is to know God!
To Provide an Example For Our Lives
1 Peter 2:21 tells us that Christ suffered for us leaving us an example to follow in His footsteps.
1 John 2:5-6 tells us the one who keeps His word should also walk in the same manner as He walked.
To Provide An Effective Sacrifice For Sin
In Hebrews 10:1-10 we see that it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. We need an effective sacrifice. We have all been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ.
To Be Able To Fulfill The Davidic Covenant
Luke 1:31-33 Mary is told by the angel Gabriel that she will bare a son and the Lord will give Him the throne of His Father David. His kingdom will have no end.
To Destroy The Works Of The Devil
In 1 John 3:7-8 we see that Christ came to Earth to destroy the works of the Devil. He came here where the Devil rules and defeated him on his own turf!
To Be Able To Be A Sympathetic High Priest
Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us that in Christ Jesus we have a High Priest who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. We see that he has been through every temptation that we can possibly go through but he did not sin. Therefore he can be sympathetic to us.
In Christ we have a High Priest that has been through everything we have gone through.
To Be Able To Be A Qualified Judge
In both John 5:22 & 27 we see that Christ will be our judge. He came in the form of man so that when judgement day comes we can not pull out any excuses for he has gone through everything we have and more.
I hope this has given you some light on the true meaning of Christmas and the Incarnation. For further study on Christ or theology check out both Basic Theology and The Moody Handbook of Theology I personally use both as topical reference points.
With painted eggs, baskets full of candy, bunnies everywhere, and a three to four-day weekend, it is easy to forget the true meaning of Easter. So lets take a look at John 20: 1-7 and see what happened that first Easter morning.
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? (more…)
Last post we took a look at Father God and now we are going to take a fresh perspective on Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It has taken almost 20 days to put this post together. I really feel I have been under attack by the Enemy lately in regards to the blog but we all know the battle is already won!
I wanted to take a fresh look at Christ and what he really means to us. I spent many late nights and early mornings in scripture and Jon Courson’s Application Commentary New Testament trying to get down on paper with some sort of justice who Christ is.
By no means will this be the end all post on our Lord and Savior but I pray that it will encourage you to dive into to scripture and find for yourselves just who Jesus is.
We are going to hit up 14 attributes of Christ the Son of the Living God!
1. Christ is God’s final Word.
Last post we took a look through scripture at who the Holy Spirit was. This week we are going to take a look at God the father, from here on out called Father God! He is the second part of the trinity being God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
I have never really looked at life, the cross or our relationship with God through the vantage point of the Father until I read He Loves Me. Wayne Jacobsen shows the character of Father God in a way I have never seen before.
I always viewed him as distant and wrathful. His book inspired me to me to dive into scripture and paint for my self a picture of Father God.I pray that this post will shed some light on his character.
Here are 17 bullet points highlighting who Father God really is.
1. Father God is relational. In the creation story (Gen. 1:26-27) we hear God say,” Let us make man in our image, to be like us.” This shows us that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit we all present. God has always been in a relationship, being Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The three-part trinity.
We were created out of a relationship for a relationship with God.
In John 14:20 Christ tells us again that he is in the Father and we are in him and Christ is in us.
During the fall the relationship that God created for fellowship was lost and it is in Christ that this relationship has been restored. (more…)
When I started this post I was going to write an article solely on the Holy Spirit. Now I feel lead to do another 3 part series this time on the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
In this post we are going to shed some light on the Spirit of God, in hopes that we have a better understanding of who He is.
Francis Chan has done just that in Forgotten God and that is where the basis of this post comes from. Well, that and writing Our Possessions in Christ. I advise you to read the book, it has really brought me to an understanding of the Spirit of God!
We will take a look at the Holy Spirit as a person, the Holy Spirit as God, the Holy Spirit as eternal and holy, the fact the Holy Spirit has his own mind and prays for us, the fact the Holy Spirit is emotional, the fact He has His own desires and wills, and that he is also omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. Let’s unpack these attributes together shall we? (more…)
In honor of Valentine’s Day I wanted to do a post on the history of it and see how it has grown into a $17 billion dollar a year industry.
Valentine’s day, a holiday on Feb. 14, started out honoring one or more Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. It is a day on which one expresses his or her love for another through cards, flowers, candies and now even clothes and jewelry. These gifts are commonly known as valentines.
Geoffrey Chaucer, in the High Middle Ages, helped to 1st associate it with romance.
The holiday’s roots are traced back to an ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration on Feb. 15. Pope Gelasius I, in 469 AD, established the festival as a Christian Feast on Feb. 14, making it Valentine’s Day.
There were several Christian martyrs named Valentine. The ones honored on Feb. 14 were Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni.
Valentine of Rome was martyred in 269 AD and was buried in Via Flaminia.
Valentine of Terni became bishop of Iteramna about 197 AD and was said to have been martyred under persecution of Emperor Aurelian. He was also buried in Via Flaminia.
There is talk of a 3rd Valentine who was martyred in Africa, but not much is known about him.
Not until the 14th century was St. Valentine’s Day associated with romance. (more…)
Last post we took a look at who we are in Christ. We saw that we are saints, a new creation, his workmanship, that we are being conformed to his image, ambassadors, kings & priests, the light of the world, the salt of the earth, chosen, and we are now the Temples of God filled by the Holy Spirit! If that doesn’t have you ready to take on the world nothing will!
In this last of a 3 part series, summing up the fundamentals of who we are, we are going to look at our possessions. That is to say what we have in Christ. These outlines come from Charles Stanley’s work. If you want to grow deeper in your walk I advise you to check him out!
Now that we are caught up lets see what we have in Christ!
1. We have every spiritual blessing! The NIV Bible dictionary defines spiritual as anything having to do with God and it defines blessings as happiness, praise, divine favor or heavenly reward.
This is to say that God has given us Godly happiness, divine favor, and heavenly reward!
If we look at Ephesians 1:3 Paul tells us that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.
2. We have inherited the Kingdom! In Galatians 3:29 Paul tells us we are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to his promise.
Well, what is the promise? (more…)
Last week we took a look at our position in Christ if you missed it is a must to go back and read! I believe its safe to say that not only knowing where we stand with God in Christ is important, but who we are in Christ is crucial to our walk! Do you truly know and proclaim the person you have become because of what He has done?
Charles Stanley has done a great job outlining who we are as people in Christ over the years. We are going to dissect 10 points through scripture to see exactly our person in Christ. That is to say who we are!
It is easy to get caught up in the world, especially when you are getting beat down and think that you are battling it alone. It is easy to forget what Christ has done for us. It is easy to get stuck in rut and feel like you have to charge your way through life. I pray this post reminds us all that our best friend has died for us and that through his resurrection we have also risen to new heights.
With out further a do lets remind ourselves who we are:
1. We are Saints! The NIV Bible dictionary/concordance defines a saint as one declared righteous by God! Think about that you are made right with God by God. Due to the work on the cross by Christ we are now able to approach the throne of God. In Christ we are all saints!
Understanding our position in Christ is crucial to our walk and freedom. Ever since I was a child I struggled with insecurity. I always felt out of place and unsure of where I belonged. Have you ever felt out of place with friends, family work, or just in life in general?
I am sure we all have!
Knowing our position in Christ can and will put an end to all these feelings. You see God wants us to move away from a place of feelings and start proclaiming fundamental truths about who we are!
These truths really came to life for me when a good friend let me listen to How the Truth Can Set You Free by Charles Stanley. I felt like he was describing me when he spoke on inferiority and insecurity. The truth is knowing our position in Christ will eliminate all these and more!
I wrote about this a while back in A Look At Who We Are In Christ Jesus.
If you are like me and are hungry for the freedom of who we are in Christ then pay attention and start claiming these fundamental truths for yourself! (more…)
A while ago I prayed a very dangerous prayer. I mean dangerous in the sense that if you really aren’t ready for it, prayerfully God will not answer it. But if you earnestly seek it and ask Him you will forever be changed.
“Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours.”
Simple yet it’s inherently profound.
When He does answer it you begin to see the world around you in such a way that you nearly walk around crying. You are able to see the brokeness in everyone around you. You see His lost sheep nearly everywhere you turn.
However, you are also able to see those that love Him. Discerning between an act of kindness and an act out of devotion to the Father is much tougher.
Today, as I sat in a restaurant I saw a gentleman who was obviously not all there mentally. One of the workers showed him such kindness and compassion, as to assist him as well as offer him food. Then as she walked back to the counter to prepare his meal, a mailman gave her some money and said get him whatever he wants.
This was beautiful to see, just as I was sitting here wondering about the world. Ben was his name and he was very grateful for the food. As he was sitting there eating, a lady who was leaving gave him some money and said use this to eat a good meal. (more…)