"God Was Manifest In The Flesh"     

I Timothy 3:16


     Here is a mystery without controversy in the church of God. I am aware of the fact that no point of gospel doctrine is more controversial in the religious world than the incarnation of Christ. Yet, in the church of God, among true believers, there is no controversy at all on this point. "God was manifest in the flesh!"

     The greatest mystery in all the world is the mystery of the incarnation. It was a miraculous, supernatural work of God. And that which is supernatural cannot be explained by laws of nature any more than that which is spiritual can be explained by laws of physics. Here is a matter that can only be received and understood by faith.

     When Paul says, "God was manifest in the flesh," he means for us to understand that God the Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, who in the covenant of grace had assumed the responsibility of saving his people from their sins, became a man so that he might accomplish that great work (Matt. 1:21; Heb. 10:5-10).

     The Son of God assumed mortal, human flesh. Though he laid aside his manifest glory as God for a time, he never ceased to be God over all, blessed forever, infinite, eternal, immutable, and incomprehensible. All the fulness of God dwelt in him, and still does (Col. 2:9). Yet, he became a real man, exactly like us, but with one great exception - He had no sin! (John 1:14, 18; Heb. 4:15; I John 1:1-3).

     It was necessary that our Redeemer be a man. Man has sinned and man must suffer for sin. But the sufferings of a mere man would have been of no redemptive value to us. If someone is to redeem and save by the merits of his sufferings and death, he must be God as well as man. Because Jesus Christ is a man, he was able to suffer for us. Because he is God, he was able to satisfy God's offended justice for his people. The sufferings of the God-man unto death were vicarious sufferings of infinite, perpetual value. Christ's death as the God-man is of infinite merit to God for the satisfaction of his justice. Because God was manifest in the flesh and put to death in the flesh, God can now be just and the Justifier of all who believe.



Don Fortner