John 1:1, 14 recounts the Christmas story in two verses. God became man and dwelt among us. Theologians call this the incarnation of Christ. The word “incarnate” means “in the flesh.” Jesus is God in the flesh! The doctrine of incarnation distinguishes the Christian faith from any other religion. In no other religion is it claimed that God became man. When Jesus decided to become human, when he decided to add humanity to his divinity, he considered his equality with God something he would not grasp so tightly as to let it hinder his full incarnation. Consequently, he took on the form of a humble servant— here to serve humanity (Philippians 2:6-7). Why would God write the Christmas story this way? One of the deepest biblical answers is that it was “fitting.” In other words, it was consistent with God’s wise purposes for humanity. Hebrews 2:10 says that in achieving our salvation through Christ’s sufferings, God acted “fittingly.” Through his suffering, Jesus became the perfect Savior. It was fitting that he suffered. In fact, the Bible indicates that God must act in accord with his perfect and wise nature. That means that he must do what is fitting. He is self-compelled to do so.
Hebrews 2:14-15 gives us four reasons why it was fitting that Jesus came into this world on that first Christmas as a helpless human baby: “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death he might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”
Reason #1: Jesus became human because we are human. God desired to have a family of human children in which his eternal Son is one of them, yet supreme over them (Romans 8:29, Hebrews 2: 11, 17). It was fitting for Jesus to become human because we are human. In God’s eyes, it is logical and congruent and beautiful!
Reason #2: Jesus became human in order to die (Hebrews 2:14). God, by his very nature, cannot die. But the God-Man, Jesus Christ, could die. How can this be? Jesus has two natures: (1) a divine nature which cannot die, and (2) a human nature that can die. One person, two natures. On the cross, Jesus’ human nature died. His divine nature did not, because it cannot. It is immortal. It was his divine nature which brought back to life his human nature, in the resurrection. It was “fitting” that Jesus die on the cross. To make that possible, he became human. In the incarnation, a mortal-human nature was joined to Jesus, preexistent, immortal-divine nature.
Reason #3: Jesus became human that by dying, he might destroy the one who has power of death, that is, the devil. Jesus did not come to wipe the devil out of existence, but to abolish his ability to make death damning. The devil damns people to hell with one weapon: unforgiven sin. If he can accuse us in God’s court successfully and get a guilty verdict, we are condemned. As a result of Jesus’ death on the cross, God “cancelled the record of debt that stood against us” (Colossians 2:14-15). It was nailed to the cross. In doing so, he disarmed the rulers and authorities” — that is, the devil and his cohorts. Satan was disarmed in that the weapon of successful accusation was taken out of his hand. It was gloriously fitting that he be destroyed in this way.
Reason #4: Jesus became human to deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. As a result of what Jesus has done for us on the cross, when God’s children look into the dark face of death, they say, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). We no longer have to fear what lies on the other side of death. We know what lies ahead because Jesus has told us. A great family reunion awaits us in heaven. Our dead human bodies will be replaced with eternal resurrection bodies. We will be resurrected to a life of purpose and meaning and service to the King of the Universe! Many non-Christians today fear that on the other side of death lies nothing. That erroneous conviction is enslaving. If death ends our existence, you might as well live it up while you are alive. You might as well live to satisfy your own selfish motives, and many people do. This worldview leads us to behave in ways that ignore God’s purpose and plan for humanity and causes us to live in bondage to our own selfishness. Satan loves that. Furthermore, this shortsighted thinking condemns us to judgment, because we have not looked to Jesus as our Savior. We have missed the meaning of Christmas.
When God first pondered how to write the story of the universe, he made his choices according to how all things “fit” into a design that would best reveal his love, grace, wisdom and mercy. Christmas happened because it was “fitting.” It was wise and beautiful in God’s eyes. On this Christmas Eve and in the coming year, make it your aim to see the wisdom of God’s way of salvation, in sending Jesus to die for us, that we might be delivered from fear and bondage.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- If you have not yet received God’s Christmas gift to you, stop waiting. The Bible says, “Today is the Day of Salvation.” If you would like to know God personally, contact us here (connect.tcc.org) Scroll down to the Ministry Information Request section and mark the first or second checkbox. We look forward to helping!
- If you have received God’s gift—but have walked away from God— it’s time to come back home. God is waiting.
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)