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>Living Faith: Life in the Kingdom

The Incarnation—The View from the Other Side

Every year, as many Christians choose to celebrate Christmas with manger scenes and more, my mind goes to the view from the “other side”—and what Calvin Miller termed “the Great Reduction.”

We, the human race, only witnessed Jesus arrival; heaven witnessed His departure—the long journey down, a journey that took Him from the halls of heaven, descending down the dark steps of humanity into the dungeon of death on the cross.

This is the story Philippians 2 tells, without the familiar props of praising angels, stunned shepherds and seeking wise men: “He was like God in every way, but he did not think that his being equal with God was something to use for his own benefit. Instead, he gave up everything, even his place with God. He accepted the role of a servant, appearing in human form. During his life as a man, he humbled himself by being fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death—death on a cross.”

So, in this season, pause to consider what it might mean to you to follow this pattern of Christ. Or, as Paul said, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

May we truly be formed into His likeness!

—Arlin Weaver

1 comment(s)

Below is a copy of a writing expressing some thoughts. These can be added to the good thoughts by Arlin. God Bless



Indeed, Jesus was from eternity past. The fact that Jesus is God’s Son certainly does not mean that He in any way had an origin. Jesus is an eternal being. The three persons of the trinity are of the same essence, of the same nature. A father and son share the same nature and characteristics. When Jesus said that God was his Father, He was claiming to be equal with God, and the Jews of his day correctly understood the meaning of His words.

The roles/function of each person of the Trinity is seen in scripture as unique to each. A brother shared with me his thoughts. He suggests this about the Trinity: “The Father is the source of all things, the Holy Spirit is the energizer of all things, and the Word (Son) is the revealer of all things.” The Son is the Father revealed – the express image of His person. Yes, great is the mystery of God and someday we will be discovering Him for all eternity. While in this world, we are not able as much as we try to fit God into a tidy and defined analysis and explanation (box). Yet, God wants to be known – primarily relationally. Also to be realizing and discovering more and more, His glory.

What does Philippians chapter 2 have to say to us? Jesus is equal to God. Being equal to the Father was not robbing or taking something away from God. It also was not something Jesus held onto tightly. Jesus voluntarily emptied Himself of His God equalness for the sake of becoming one of us, becoming 100% man (human). Jesus in His coming to earth and becoming the same as one of us (incarnation), remained God, 100% God. He never lost His deity. But to come and be one of us, He voluntarily and temporarily set aside the free independent exercise of some of His divine attributes. Jesus surrendered this as a volunteer; and because He did it as a volunteer, He could take back His divine prerogatives at any time he chose. It seems Jesus was alluding to this truth when he told his disciples in the Garden at the time of His arrest that he could call twelve legions (72,000) angels to deliver Him.

We know that Jesus while on this earth did not act independently of the Father. He received His instructions from the Father and said, “I do nothing on my own.” Jesus as a human gave us an example of how we should relate to Him and the Father. Jesus prayed much, spending significant private time with the Father. Why did he pray? Was it not for one thing that He was dependent on the Father while he was in the flesh? And then for each day’s events, He followed and did what the Father wanted. And in the process He revealed the Father’s will and character. Is this at least in part what it means when it says He learned obedience? The Father’s will did lead Jesus eventually to a death on the cross. Jesus learned all that obedience to the Father while he suffered in the days of his flesh living on a fallen corrupt earth – as a man.

At the Father’s direction, Jesus did miracles – things only God could do; He knew someone’s thoughts, etc. But we must remember the humanness of Jesus. He experienced everyday living as we do, with the suffering, trials that come with living in a world that is cursed and has as its ruler, the prince of the air, the Devil. He was tempted in points as we are, yet without sin. He didn’t exempt Himself from the normal discomforts of life in this world. Thus, Jesus experienced experientially all that we go through and is now in that sense “perfected” as it speaks of Jesus in Hebrews 5:9; becoming perfectly qualified to be our advocate, our high priest, our mediator, our kinsman redeemer, our elder brother. And indeed he can aid and help, having mercy and compassion on us knowing firsthand what it is like to be human. He trail blazed the way. He is our pioneer. We have a faithful and great high priest in Jesus Christ who is interceding for us in heaven. And so let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. HALLELUJAH!

In Philippians 2, we are called to have the same mind Jesus had. He was totally empty of selfish ambition or conceit. Jesus had the good of others in mind and not His own. Always. Wow, that is what I need and want to grow in. Jesus is the supreme example of humility – the context of this scripture. Maybe we ought to get more concerned about having the mind of Christ than trying to figure out those things we do not understand. Christ is not only our Savior but he is also our example - HE SAYS FOLLOW ME. NOW WHAT PART OF THAT DO WE NOT UNDERSTAND? Oh Lord, cause us to grow in your likeness in 2013 and beyond!

It’s all about Him,

Linford Bontrager, Goshen, IN

Posted by Linford Bontrager on Fri 25 Jan 2013, 19:28pm

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