Why did God Become a Man? Part III- To Make us His Children

magiWhy did God become a man? So far we have seen that God became a man so that he might share in our suffering and die our death. But what was the purpose of all of this suffering and dying? On this extremely cold Epiphany, I want to post the final part in this series asserting that God became a man so that he might make us his children. This was the purpose of God from before time began.

“Aren’t we all the children of God already?” Some might ask. The answer is partly “yes,” and partly, “no.” By his role as creator, provider, and sustainer of all that is, including humanity, God is the “Father” of creation by his very nature. Therefore, everyone owes him love and adoration as “Father.” But because of man’s fallen condition in sin, we are alienated, separated from God and from his blessings.

In Ephesians 2, the Apostle Paul makes clear that, because of sin, man does not rest in a state of peace with God. Far from friends, let alone children of God, sin has made mankind enemies of God, rebels against his will, and children, not of his love, but of his wrath.

Apart from Christ, this aptly describes our relationship to God. We might say to ourselves, “I don’t hate God, I’m not an enemy of God;” but apart from the righteous blood of Jesus Christ, our sins are like a foul stench and a filthy garment in the presence of holy God. Our sin is nothing less than outright rebellion against the holy Law of God.

But, if you’ll notice, Paul is speaking in past tense, “you were dead,” “you once walked,” “you were children of wrath.” Thank God the passage does not end there. Paul continues saying that for those whose faith is in Jesus Christ, they have been adopted out of that state of wrath and death and have been grafted into the very family of God. That great exchange that takes place is because of nothing more than the grace of God. No goodness of our own causes God to make us want him as his children; it is merely his love, mercy and grace given to us in Jesus Christ.

We somehow take offense when called, “sinners deserving of God’s righteous wrath.” For some reason, we think we deserve more, our human dignity demands what we might call “fairness.” We tend to put offense in the wrong place. We get offended when we think about a holy God putting men into Hell, we say “that’s not fair,” “a loving God would never do that!” But have you ever stopped to think that we have our offense backwards? Isn’t it more scandalous that a holy God, a righteous and perfect judge, would let sinners go free, even sending his own Son to take their punishment for them? “‘Tis mercy all immense and free,” says Wesley, and we ought to echo “and praise my God, it found out me!”

When we weren’t seeking for him, when we had turned aside from him, when we were his enemies, rebels against him and his holy Law, his mercy, his love, his grace found us! Hallelujah, what a Savior!

I’ve continued to point us to Hebrews 2 for the answer to our question, “why did God become a man?” I want to point to that passage again in this final section. Verses 12-13 continue saying that the “ones being sanctified,” and the “sanctifier,” have “one source.” What in the world could that possibly mean? Well, who is the one who sanctifies? Who is our subject? None other than our Lord Jesus Christ. Then who are the ones being sanctified? Those whose faith is in Christ. And according to this verse, we both have “one source.” And what is that source? Think about John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he _______ his only begotten ______.” Surely you can fill in those blanks. God “gave,” his only “Son.” The Son is sent from the Father, he is from him; and according to this passage, we are now from him by our union with Christ. Our source and parentage is no longer the devil and wrath, but God himself. In fact, the author goes on to call us “brothers” of Christ because of our adoption through him to God the Father. What strange language that we should be called “brothers” of Christ; but how marvelous is that truth. We are brothers of Christ, the children of God, heirs of the Kingdom.

And what does this have to do with God becoming man? Everything.

In the incarnation, that is the act in which the immortal God became “carnal” or “fleshly;” he took on flesh. Christ perfectly unites, in himself, humanity and divinity. In the God-Man Jesus Christ, heaven and earth are brought together, united in his work, life, and ministry. So that line of Wesley’s carol, “God and sinners reconciled,” is only possible because the attributes of deity and humanity were perfectly reconciled in the person of Jesus Christ. No other formula is even possible. And because God, in Christ, became a human being, we might be raised to the very presence and throne of God, not merely as slaves, which would be fitting, but as children and co-heirs with Christ.

Apart from Christ, we are all without hope and are alienated from God, we are not his children, but we are children of wrath, children of the wrath that God will pour out on sin. We are enemies of God, rebels to his will and scoffers of his grace. But what grace has the Father lavished on us that we should be called his sons and daughters! Not because of any good works done by us in the flesh, not because of our love for him or our human will, but because of his glorious grace; simple, unmerited, unearned grace. How is this possible? In the birth of Christ, the birth of the very Son of God, very God of very God became very man of very man, wrapped himself in our flesh and humanity and descended to us in the form of a baby. In that instance and throughout his perfect life and ministry, Christ was reconciling God and man.

On this final day of the Christmas season, Christians have traditionally commemorated a day called “Epiphany.” Very early on in Christian history, this was the one and only commemoration of the first events in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, from his birth to his baptism in the Jordan. Western Christianity has come to associate this day, January 6 with the arrival of the Magi to worship the Christ-child and to offer him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It has been called “Epiphany,” because for the Magi (and all gentiles) it was just that, a sudden manifestation and realization of God. Think of it, God, in his grace, drawing pagan gentiles to come and worship the incarnate Son of God. For those whose faith is in Christ, this is our story. We were once lost, separated from God, and alienated from the promises of Israel. But a “light has shown” on us. God has pulled us from darkness and into his very own Kingdom, not merely as servants, but as children.

God became a man that night in Bethlehem to share in our suffering and to die our death so that he might make us his very own children. The light of God is Jesus Christ, “he is the radiance of the Father’s glory” (Heb. 1:1), and the fullest revelation of God. Look to him, trust him, and believe in him. Receive his light and flee from the darkness. If you will but only turn to Christ and repent of your sin, God will receive you back, not merely as a gracious Master and King, but as a loving Father.

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6 thoughts on “Why did God Become a Man? Part III- To Make us His Children

  1. You yourself say “The Son is sent from the Father”, but why do you not accept that Jesus is from Him, the Only One God. Why do you ignore the many sayings of God and of Christ Jesus about their relationship? Why do you make Jesus into the God?

    1. Ah Arianism, how nice to see you again. The New Testament record clearly depicts Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the “Son of Man.” His identity as both God and man is what enables him to be the only mediator between God and man, it is central to his identity. On your own site you say, “Accepting Christ Jesus to be the son of God, and not ‘god the son‘ we do give the full value to that Nazarene man who gave his life at the stake for the sins of many.” Yet, this statement is self-contradictory, for a mere “Nazarene man,” no matter how exalted, could never give his life at the stake for the “sins of many.” He could only pay for his own sins. Even then, as a finite creature, he must suffer the infinite judgement of Almighty God for his own sins. If we do not have a God-man as our mediator and High Priest before the Father, we are still in our sins. The Word, Jesus Christ was “with God,” and “was God,” and “became flesh” (Jn. 1:1;14). Now, I realize that your heretical forbearers had some alternate translations, but alas, this was due to their ignorance of New Testament Greek; there is no argument as to how this passage is to be translated. So yes, Jesus was “sent” from the Father yet himself shares in the essence and substance of deity with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God who is blessed forever.

      1. So you do not believe that there could be any man willing to give his life for somebody else?
        You also do not believe the God of love would not mind to accept the offering of one of His creations fro the whitewashing of sins of others, but would prefer to have lambs and other animals being killed for the sins of others?

        You mention the apostle John his gospel, which he composed as the Torah beginning with the Bereshit or the Genesis of the New World. The Word is not a person but a Speaking. The Speaking of God by which is also referred to the speaking in the Garden of Eden, where God provided a solution for the sins of mankind by promising a person who would be able to save the human race. That promised man is Jesus and as such Jesus was the Speaking or the Word of God become flesh and blood.

        In case Jesus is God, why did He wait such a long time before putting up such a charade by doing if He was tempted (because The God can not be tempted) and faking His death (because God can not die), and doing if He was no Spirit though He Himself says more than once He is Spirit whilst when playing Jesus He (Jehovah) then fakes the wounds and does not tell the truth by saying the people can see at his wounds that he is no spirit. … so is God a Spirit or not or is Jesus Spirit or not or is Jesus man and no spirit?

        Can you sent yourself? Though Jesus was sent (you say yourself) so how could God send Himself and sit next to Himself and hand over the Kingdom to Himself when he is already the owner and when He Himself is Jesus. though in scriptures is being say Jesus sit next to his Father to whom he shall hand over the Kingdom of God?

        But the most severe thing when Jesus is God is that This God of Love left the people wait so long before helping them out their misery and after His charade still keeps them suffering. Is that your picture of somebody Who loves His children? Why did He then not made an end to that one sin of Adam and Eve and made their children live in eternity and peace without suffering?

      2. Thanks for your comments again, heretical as they are. I’m afraid the answer will also be quite long.

        In your first question, I’m afraid you’ve posed a false syllogism. “If a man can be willing to give his life for somebody else then Jesus (being a mere man) could have done the same in the atonement.” That’s your basic premise. The answer to your first question is of course yes; a man can be willing to give his life for somebody else. The answer to your second question, however, is no. These two are not dependent on one another. Men may give their lives for other men in the sense of personal sacrifice even to the point of death, but this is not equal to perfect atonement before God. A sinful man may only die for his own sins, he must suffer God’s wrath against his own rebellion, he cannot absorb God’s infinite wrath for another single person, let alone all of the God’s elect. But Jesus, being the perfect God-man did just that. Because of his perfect, sinless life and the infinite characteristics of his divine nature, Christ was able to absorb the full wrath of God for his people. “Lambs and other animals,” never took away the sins of anyone, it was the faith and obedience placed in those acts that brought mercy to the Old Testament saints, faith in God’s promises, the exact same faith whereby we are saved today.

        As to your second paragraph concerning the nature of the “logos” of John 1, you’ve somehow incorporated a subject that is not there. You’ve inserted “speaking” as a sort of participle which could stand as an alternate subject to “the Word.” The text does not say that some substantive “speaking” became flesh, but that the “Word (who was with God and was God)” “became flesh and dwelt among us.” You are right to see Jesus as the Creator God spoken of in Genesis 1, Paul’s words to the Colossians, and John’s words right here in the disputed text. God spoke the universe and all that is into creation and the Son, “the Word,” was the very instrument through which all was created. Might we also add that the Spirit was there “hovering over the face of the deep.” The activity of the Trinity so obviously present from the very beginning.

        Your third objection is understandable given your misunderstanding of the Trinity and the divine+human nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, we see that “God cannot be tempted,” from the Apostle James’ letter, but we see numerous times in the Old Testament where God was indeed “tempted,” or “tested,” by Israel. There seems to be a contradiction. We must somehow define terms so as to avoid such a seeming contradiction. When faced with a delicious cake, one may say, “I am tempted to eat the whole thing!” This somehow implies a leaning toward, an inclination toward being able and considering eating the whole thing. But, someone on a diet can also be “tempted” with the cake, who, with utter resolve and focus, refuses the cake unmoved by the smell and appearance of it. It seems that we might be able to reason that no, God cannot be tempted in as much as we would understand that word to include an inclination or a willingness to sin that is nevertheless restrained by the will. But we can see God as being “tempted” in as much as it relates to being tested or provoked. That being said, the temptation of Christ in the wilderness must be seen as a mirror of Adam, a proving ground, if you will, for the second and last Adam, Jesus Christ. In the wilderness, Jesus was tempted not necessarily to sin (save the final temptation), but merely to provide food for himself apart from God’s will, call on God’s saving power apart from God’s will and to accept his Kingdom and reward apart from God’s will. In the last one, Christ is faced with the option of actually bowing before Satan, which he nevertheless rejects. Without getting too deep, we must understand that the Son, Christ, was “in the form of God,” according to Paul in Philippians 2 yet “did not consider that equality a thing to be grasped,” a thing to be held onto for “he became nothing… he emptied himself.” This emptying has been the source of great debate for a long time. It is clear that Jesus could not have simply emptied himself of all divinity. Some have suggested that Christ, in the incarnation did limit his access to those qualities of Godhood while in human form. That last option carries the good portion of the weight for the answer to this “emptying.” When the Son took on flesh and became a man in Jesus Christ, it must be understood that God did not vacate heaven nor did God cease to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. At the same time, we see Jesus becomes hungry and thirsty, he suffers and dies. All of these are aspects of the human nature. We could say that he was tempted according to the flesh and that he died according to the flesh. While we speak of God “dying,” on the cross, we must understand that to be God on Christ as the divine nature can obviously not die. The perfect God-man Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of his people, but the infinite divine nature of God himself did not die. There was no mutation in the Trinity and no change int he substance of God’s nature. Jesus, because of his utter perfection according to his nature as the Son, was able to bear the awesome and infinite wrath of God on the cross where he truly and really died in his flesh, perfectly bearing the just condemnation of God saying, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

        Your fourth objection seems to imply that Trinitarians are modalists or Sabellians. Though we do believe that God is one God, we believe that he exists eternally and simultaneously as three distinct, unconfused, and unmixed persons, namely, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Modalism holds that there is but one person that acts or manifests himself at different times as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and that these three do not constitute three simultaneously, but three individually and at different times. Therefore there is no “handing the kingdom over to himself,” or “sending himself,” associated with biblical and historical Trinitarianism.

        Your last question seems less about the question and more like one posed by an Atheist who is mad at God for suffering and death. Please expound on the last question and I’d be happy to respond. Happy to have this conversation always.

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