Impact

Why the Incarnation?

December 3, 2017, marks the beginning of the Advent Season in the church calendar. So, why did Jesus leave the glories of heaven to become a human being? Scripture reveals that Jesus’ incarnation occurred for a number of important reasons, not the least of which are the following:
 
From the first two Synoptic Gospels, we learn that Jesus came to earth, (1) to fulfill the Hebrew sacred writings (referred to as the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets; Matt 5:17); and, (2) to serve humankind, as well as give His life at Calvary to redeem the lost (Mark 10:45).
 
From the third Synoptic Gospel, we discover that Jesus’ incarnation enabled Him, (1) to declare the good news of salvation to the destitute, to announce freedom and forgiveness to the prisoners, to give sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim that the time had finally come for the Lord to rescue His people (Luke 4:18–19); (2) to herald the wonderful news about the arrival of God’s kingdom (v. 43); and, to search for and save those who were lost (Luke 19:10).
 
From the Fourth Gospel, we find out that the divine Word took on flesh, (1) to make redemption freely available to everyone (John 3:17); (2) to bring to completion the Father’s everlasting plan to redeem the lost (4:34); and, (3) to present eternal life to all who would receive it by faith (1:12; 6:33).
 
From Paul’s writings, we ascertain that Jesus, in becoming incarnate, (1) obeyed the Father to the point of sacrificing Himself on the altar of the cross (Phil 2:6–9); (2) became a sin offering to enable the reprobate, in union with Him, to be put right with God (2 Cor 5:21); and, (3) became the perfect, absolute enfleshment of divine wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption for repentant, believing sinners.
 
Finally, from Hebrews, we understand that Jesus, in taking on a feeble, frail, and finite human existence, did so, (1) to vanquish the devil and break the power he exercised over death (2:14); to free those who lived each day enslaved to the fear of dying (v. 15); and, (3) to serve as the believers’ merciful and faithful High Priest, along with making full and final atonement for their iniquities (2:17).
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Dan T. Lioy

Professor Dan Lioy (PhD, North-West University) holds several faculty appointments. He is the Senior Research Manager at South African Theological Seminary (in South Africa). Also, he is a professor of biblical theology at the Institute of Lutheran Theology (in South Dakota). Moreover, he is a dissertation advisor in the Leadership and Global Perspectives DMIN program at Portland Seminary (part of George Fox University in Oregon). Finally, he is a professor in the School of Continuing Theological Studies at North-West University (in South Africa). Professor Lioy is active in local church ministry, being dual rostered with the Evangelical Church Alliance and the North American Lutheran Church. He is widely published, including a number of academic monographs, peer-reviewed journal articles, and church resource products.