Yesterday’s post began to scratch the surface on the incarnation – of God becoming flesh and dwelling among us. He did that to demonstrate his glory in a way we could comprehend – in grace and truth – and to go to the cross, taking our sins upon his sinless person.
But the incarnation is not just a piece of theology. It is a practical way for us to live, to manifest God to the world that we live in.
Jesus’ friend, John, wrote:
This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. I John 2:5-6
We are to be the physical, personal manifestations of God in our world. There are at least a couple of reasons for that. One is that we who are Christians have the Spirit of God dwelling inside of us. The other is that we are the Body of Christ to the world and each other.
And just as Jesus demonstrated the glory of God to the world through grace and truth, we are called to do the same.
But it does carry a cost
(Jesus), who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Jesus is not an assistant to God. Jesus is not the Joe Biden of heaven. Jesus has never been a junior partner to God but equal with the Almighty Father in every way, shape, and form. But he did not regard that position of equality a thing to be held on to.
It is almost impossible to grasp the impact of that statement. Jesus, who experienced the worship and adoration of the universe, voluntarily relaxed his grip on those privileges to put on human flesh, live a life of grace and truth, and die on a Roman cross.
Incarnation is costly. It was for Jesus. It will be for us. If we are to demonstrate grace and truth to those in our world who most need to experience them, we are going to have to lay some things aside.
Our positions. Our privileges. Our preferences. Our prerogatives. Our comfort. Our fear. Our selfishness. Our possessions.
We won’t best demonstrate the glory of God by doing church with our friends, who all think and act and believe like we do.
We will best incarnate the glory of God – his grace and truth – when we engage the world as Jesus did. Hugging the diseased body of a leper. Showing acceptance and love in the home of a despised tax collector. Gently calling to repentance a shamed adulteress.
Incarnation isn’t just theology. It is a practical way to live and serve others. It is to be our posture before the world.