Skip to comments.Christmas: Why is it important that God became Flesh?
Posted on 12/24/2001 8:05:12 AM PST by xzins
The Bible says, "The Word Became Flesh".....God became flesh, human. The incarnation.
Why is this important to the average joe? Any opinions, reflections, stories are welcome.
He assumes our form for no other reason than to be the atoning Sacrifice for the sin of the world, the Lamb of God. Not for angels or spirits did He do this. Nor did He become a giraffe or dog. Whatever righteousness one may lack, it is found in Him. What ever punishment we deserve was born by Him. And He lives and rules eternally for the good of all, even our enemies.
Truly remarkable, and good reason to rejoice depsite the temporary woes of this life.
From what I can read in the Bible, Heaven exists (the Bible states that it does), but when we die we do not go directly to Heaven. We must all be judged first (Judgement Day), hence the Revelations scripture of raising the sleeping (dead) to be judged before the living and that Heaven is rebuilt.
Some believe that when we die, everyone sleeps until the final judgment, and then at that point those who are in Christ go to heaven.
Many believe that those who are in Christ go immediately to heaven upon their death--that's what I believe. There are a couple of proof texts that come to mind. One is Paul's statement regarding whether or not it is better to be alive and here on earth or present with the Lord (if someone has a Bible and knows the passage, you could clean up my paraphrase 'cause it's really awful). The other proof text that really convinces me is Jesus' declaration to the thief on the cross when he says, "Today you shall be with me in paradise."
Thanks for saying that. I woke up this morning with a situation in my head concerning a nasty neighbor who has caused me incredible grief over the past several years with his antics. Dunno why it popped into my head since thankfully nothing has happened in several weeks but it did, and I started the day angry and frustrated over how someone could be so obtuse.
Your simple statement has given me a new perspective. I think I'll pray for that nasty old neighbor. God works in many ways.
God has complete metaphysical control of the indebtedness incurred in sin -- something which cannot happen with mere human justice. Perhaps a more understandable analogy would be that of a business in good financial condition which takes ownership of a second business which is heavily in the red, then it pays off the second business's debts.
There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.
One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused." That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!" So she and the children left, and he stayed home.
A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then another thump. He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet. When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn't go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed. The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It's warm and safe; surely they could pend the night and wait out the storm.
So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn't seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away.
He went into the house and came with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread crumbs trail leading to the barn. They still didn't catch on. Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe. "Why don't they follow me?!" he exclaimed. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?" He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human. "If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud. Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. He then released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn--and one by one the other geese followed it to safety.
He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: "If only I were a goose, then I could save them!" Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God want to be like us? That's ridiculous!" Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese--blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. That was then meaning of Christmas, he realized.
As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought. Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come. Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer:"Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!"
Sorry about the length...
I Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
I Corinthians 7:23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.
Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
And a similar idea here.... I Peter 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
I have my share of grievances and angers over some of the slights and harm others have done to me, and thinking of His request always reminds me that those who sin against us usually have no understanding that they are hurting us.
And, I am always afraid that I have done the same or worse to others without understanding the impact of my words or actions.
So, when I say the Lord's Prayer, I concentrate very hard on how much I need to forgive others if I want to be forgiven.
What gave him the right to purchase me? Was it some kind of old law of the universe that God had established? Sort of like, "if you give your life for someone, then they belong to you?"
God wants a close relationship with man, John 3:16
Our sin separates us from God, Isa. 59:2
Justice requires that our sins be paid for, Rom. 5:23
God provided a sacrifice to pay for our sins, 1 John 4:10
Jesus Died on the Cross voluntarily
Jesus had the choice, Matt. 26:53, 54
He was sinless, 1 Pet. 2:22
Jesus had the power, John 19:11
Jesus had the will, Matt. 26:39
pleased not Himself, Rom 15:3
He loved us, Eph 5:2
for you you have nothing to offer that isn't God's already, Luke 17:10
the Father wants a close relationship so He paid your cost, John 3:16
so that you could choose to be close to Him, James 4:8
He still doesn't force you to, Mark 16:16
The Jews had to make many specific sacrifices to God. Jesus serves as our sacrifice.
To make this an object lesson, We'll give xzins a dollar bill.
Say we all went out to a restaurant to eat. We all eat til we're stuffed but xzins eats nothing.
Then the waiter delivers the bill. We're broke.
Only "xzins" has any money. Who will pay the bill?
xzins's the only one with money.
Who should pay the bill? We should. But we can't.
If xzins pays, is that fair? No. Is it merciful of him? Yes!
Jesus paid our bill for us. We could never have enough to pay for our sins.
Should we be grateful? Yes!
The right to purchase comes from His role in Creation:
13 For he [God] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
It's not a universal application, because Jesus is BOTH man AND God together in one person. So the rights and privileges that he has come from his standing as God, whereas his representation of man before God comes from his human nature.
Also, the Father has given us to the Son to be redeemed, as the following passages talk about:
38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.
39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
40 For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
It gave me "Goose Bumps"
God made it very simple for us...man has tried to make our salvation hard.
The sacrifice is that Christ already had the benefits and glory of being God. God has no need of man for anything, He could have simply let man be destroyed by his own wickedness and sin. Yet instead, he chose to show His mercy through Jesus. And Jesus' sacrifice was one not just of dying, though that was horrific in and of itself, but his sacrifice was also in taking on the sin of the world--all that ugliness and wickedness that God hates, he put upon Himself. It was a spiritual sacrifice, not just a physical one.
The glorification that came later was a result of that sacrifice, but that doesn't mean the sacrifice wasn't a sacrifice. For example, if a parent "sacrifices" by working long and hard hours, foregoing certain material blessings, in order for their child to go to college and have a better life, it doesn't undo the sacrifice if his peers then praise him for those sacrifices and it doesn't undo the sacrifice if the child then provides great benefits for the parent.
The glory that came to Christ in response to that sacrifice vindicated the sacrifice, and proved that the sacrifice was acceptable to God.
If you're a Christian (accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior) at the moment of your death you are in Heaven with Him.
You just don't have your physical flesh & bone (resurrected) body yet
It's put a huge smile on my face!!! :)