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Why God Became Man, Part 1 - 6

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
August 13, 2023 7:00 pm

Why God Became Man, Part 1 - 6

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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August 13, 2023 7:00 pm

Why did God need to become a man-- Pastor Greg Barkman begins to explain the biblical reasons for the incarnation from these verses in Hebrews 2.


Well, I'm sure all of us are perfectly familiar with the truth that Jesus, who is God, became man.

But the question is, why exactly did he do that? And I think most Christians could answer that question correctly, though sadly, probably not all in this biblically illiterate age in which we live. But if you are asked, why did God become man, most Christians would probably answer correctly in order to die on the cross for the sins of his people, and that would be correct.

But though that is a correct answer, that is only a partial answer. And the last portion of Hebrews chapter 2 gives a number of reasons why the Son of God became a man. In fact, in verses 14 through 18, we will find six answers to that question, why did God become man? And looking at these carefully, and there's a little overlapping between some of them, and yet they're distinct in themselves and each full of truth. And looking at these more carefully will give us a fuller understanding of the gospel and a deeper appreciation for what Jesus Christ did on behalf of those who trust in him. Well, up until yesterday, I had planned to cover all six of these in my sermon this morning, but in my final preparation yesterday, I came to the conclusion that that's impossible to do correctly, and so we'll do three answers today as to why God became man, and Lord willing, the other three next week when we return together again on the Lord's day.

So, according to Hebrews 2 verses 14 and 15, why did God become man? And the answer is number one, to share our nature. Number two, to defeat Satan. And number three, to conquer the fear of death.

Number one, to share our nature. That's the first part of verse 14. In as much then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared in the same. As the children became flesh and blood, he came to share our nature. He came to become like his brethren. We read about that in verses 11 and 12, for both he who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare your name to my brethren.

In the midst of the assembly, I will sing praise to you. And so if he's going to be our brother, then he's got to become a man, for we are humanity. And therefore, he came to share the nature of those who were his brethren. Or in the most preceding reference, in verses 13, he came to become like his children.

Verse 13, the picture shifts a little bit from brothers to children when it says, And again, here am I and the children whom God has given me. In as much then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared in the same. So he became flesh and blood to become like his brethren. He became flesh and blood to become like his children. In other words, he became flesh and blood to create a bond of unity with his people, to become one of us that we might become one in him. So he came to share our nature. And notice what this portion that I am looking at for this particular point tells us in regard to his becoming man. First of all, and very obviously, we read that God's children are flesh and blood.

That is our condition, our nature. In as much then as the children, the children of God, have partaken of flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared in the same. He shared in the same. That is the familiar Greek word koinonia, which most of us recognize and generally is translated fellowship or communion. But it carries this idea of something in common, something we share.

And so we read he shared in the same. Because flesh and blood is one thing and maybe the most obvious thing that every member of the human race shares in common. It doesn't matter whether you're a man or a woman or a boy or a girl, doesn't matter whether you're black or white or yellow or red. It doesn't matter whether you're Asian or African or European or South American.

It doesn't matter whether you're rich or poor, whether you're educated or uneducated. Every one of us who are descendants from Adam and Eve share in this likeness. We all have this human nature which can be characterized by the description of flesh and blood. We are flesh and blood and therefore he became flesh and blood.

He partook of the same. And what unites us in Adam, I need to remind you, is far greater than our differences. We heard in the prayer this morning that there's a great effort by the enemy of truth to emphasize differences and distinctions, to divide people into various classes, to be at war and animosity with one another, to divide us by race, to divide us by class, to divide us by this and divide us by that. But the emphasis in scripture is that we who are human beings are all more united by being one in our flesh and blood. We all share the same human nature and there's far more that unites us than that which divides us. The dividing aspects are frankly superficial, but the nature, the human nature of flesh and blood is basic.

It's essential and we all share that alike. And since God's children are flesh and blood, then Christ, we read, partook of the same. He added something. We all share flesh and blood, but he did not share flesh and blood. His essential nature is totally different from our essential nature. He is eternal deity. He had no beginning. He is a spirit being.

He has no body, no form. He cannot be contained in any one place. He is omnipresent as well as omniscient and omnipotent and many other things that describe him as God. And so his essential nature is totally different from ours. He is God, but in order to become one with us, he added something to his deity, namely our humanity, and he took upon himself flesh and blood. He added human nature to his eternal divine nature, experiencing therefore all of the elements of human life from birth to development and growth and hunger and thirst and weariness and pain and sorrow and grief and ultimately death and other things we could add. He experienced all of these things that we as flesh and blood experience in this world, and he took upon him human nature not simply to offer his life as a sacrifice upon the cross. Well, that certainly was a primary element of his becoming flesh and blood, but he became flesh and blood to experience the human condition from the beginning as conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary to the very end where he was buried in a tomb, the only difference being he, unlike any of us, never experienced sin. He was not born with a fallen human nature like we have all been since Adam fell, nor did he ever sin like we have all done in seconding Adam's choice as quickly and as often as we possibly can, but except for that element of sin, he became flesh and blood. He became human nature. He became one with us so that he might be like unto his brethren. He became flesh and blood to be like his people in every way except sin. And please understand that this addition of his humanity is now a permanent acquisition, and this is one of the truths that always has boggled my mind. It wouldn't seem terribly, what should I say, mysterious and unlikely that he would take upon him human nature for a short duration of time to accomplish his purpose and to die laying down his human life upon the cross and then to shed, as it were, the skin of his human nature and go back to the same condition he was in before he was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary as eternal spirit God. But when he acquired human nature, he acquired that forever and forever.

Amen. Until he was born of a virgin, he was the spirit God, but thereafter he has become eternally the God-man. A hundred percent God, a hundred percent man, and he always now bears that human nature along with his divine nature. And so he didn't take that upon himself temporarily only to lay it down in death and then to lay it aside, but he took it as a permanent acquisition so that he could relate to his people not just in time but also in eternity. Because as we learned earlier in this chapter, he is our captain. Remember verse 10? In bringing many sons to glory to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings, a word which can be translated at least a dozen or more different ways, but to become our forerunner, our leader, our pioneer, not only in forging the way of salvation as he went to the cross and rose from the grave, but in glorious heavenly ascension and eternal glorification, he shows us the future of our salvation, not only to cleanse our sins now, but to show us what he has made of us in this wonderful salvation which will result in our sinlessness and in the second coming our resurrection with a glorious body like his resurrected body, and we will be like him in his nature, his human nature, glorified nature through all eternity. And he shows us what that is like, and he took upon himself that in order to be the captain, the forerunner, the pioneer of our salvation. To me that's mind-boggling. I don't know about you, but to me that's mind-boggling. I used to wonder if in taking upon him humanity that somehow now made him forever limited in his deity, and that was a child he taught.

I remember asking my mother about that when I was a grade school boy. I don't remember her answer, but I have studied the Bible and studied good theology long enough to be very certain that no, he did not lay aside any prerogatives of his deity. He is still omnipresent. He is still everything he was before he took upon him humanity. His humanity doesn't limit him in any way, and yet it does make him forever visible and physical, and so when we get to heaven, I don't know that we'll ever see God the Father on his throne, but I know we will see a man in heaven, and his name is Jesus, and he will be upon the throne, and we will see him, and we'll be like him, the Bible tells us, when we see him as he is. Isn't that astonishing?

It is. So, reason number one, why God became man, he came to share our nature. Reason number two, in the last part of verse 14, he came to defeat Satan. In as much then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared them the same, that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil. Here we are plainly told that Satan has the power of death. I don't know if I would have picked that up elsewhere in the Bible or not.

No other particular clear statement like this comes to my mind, but here it is. Satan has the power of death. Obviously that was granted to him in some way. He does not have ultimate power of anything. He still remains Jehovah's unwilling servant, but Satan has been vested with the power of death.

What an immense power that is. But that should not surprise us, because we do read elsewhere in the Bible that Satan has been appointed the god of this world. He does have a certain amount of ruling authority in this present world.

And it shouldn't surprise us when we think that where he reigns is where sin now reigns. It's obvious that his reigning authority and his power of death are all traced back to Adam's fall in the garden. And there, when Adam sinned, he not only plunged his posterity into sin, but he somehow ceded the authority of this world's rulership and the power of death into the hands of the devil, of Satan. But as we know, Satan is a usurper and a destroyer. Satan engaged in some time in eternity past in war against God for the purpose of usurping God's position. He is the archenemy of God and has been allowed to go on in this position of enmity against God for these many millennium, for purposes of God's own will and choosing that we do not fully understand, for God clearly has the ability to stop him any moment that he wants him to stop. He has the power to chain him at any moment that he wants to end this reign of death and of sin.

But for now, God has allowed this to go on. And so Satan, who is busily engaging in warfare against God, I almost said defeating God, but of course he's not. He is endeavoring to defeat God, but he is the archenemy of God. And as such is the archenemy of man created in God's image. And so Satan has the power of death.

How? Well, as I've already mentioned, it was forfeited to him in Adam's fall. For the penalty of sin is death. Death is separation from God.

It is not just physical death, though that's a part of it, but it is separation from God. And because Satan rules the realms of sin, then he also rules the realms of death because death is the consequence of sin. And so Satan has the power of death.

But we read in Hebrews 2.14 that Christ rendered Satan powerless. He defeated Satan. That through death, he shared in the same in flesh and blood, that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death that is the devil. And so we learn that Christ partook of human nature. He added to his being flesh and blood. And as a human being now upon the earth, he resisted sin and temptation, never yielding to it once, and therefore triumphed over sin where our first father Adam fell. And then, qualifying himself as the only one of human nature, flesh and blood, who did not sin and did not have the sentence of death upon him, he therefore turned around and voluntarily gave himself to death, even the death of the cross. I've often imagined, I don't know that the Bible tells me this, but I've often imagined that when Christ hung upon the cross and expired and gave up his life and said to the Father and to Thy hands, I commit my spirit that Satan was gleefully celebrating and saying, I defeated him! I destroyed him!

I killed him! Never realizing that what he just did was gave Christ power over him, for Christ conquered death and defeated Satan in the process. In other words, Christ, in dying our death, rendered death powerless for his people.

Why? There is no more penalty where the penalty has been paid in full. Yes, I'm a sinner. And yes, the penalty of sin is death. And yes, therefore, I deserve to die. But if one who is qualified, and that's key to understand, one has to be qualified to be able to do this, but if one who is qualified takes upon himself my punishment and pays my debt, then there is no debt left for me to pay, and therefore there is no death left for me to die. It is finished.

The penalty is paid in full. The sting of death is gone because its cause is gone. It has been dealt with effectively and eternally by Jesus Christ's perfect life of righteousness and by his vicarious death upon the cross. No wonder Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 writes, O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, but deal with sin and there's no more sting.

The stinger has been pulled out of that beast. If sins are cleansed and cannot be held against us anymore, then death has been removed and cannot threaten us anymore. Now, as a side note, but I think a very important one at this point, I need to point out the inescapable necessity of understanding the doctrine of particular redemption. In other words, when Christ died on the cross, he died for his people because what was he doing? He was paying the price for their sins.

What was he doing? He was taking their death so that they would never die. Everyone for whom Christ did this is free from the penalty of death.

He can never die. He can never be condemned. For all for whom Christ died are no longer subject to death. And that's true of all who are in Christ. But those who are not in Christ have no sin bearer to bear away their sins. They have no substitute to pay the penalty for their sins. They are still guilty of sin and therefore they are headed toward the penalty of sin, which is death. It still looms over them for their sin still remains with them.

And if Christ had paid for their sins and died their death, then nobody would go to hell. Do you understand that? Some people have trouble with that. A lot of people have trouble with that. Many good people have trouble with that.

I had trouble with that at one time. Because there are not a lot of verses in the Bible that spell out in clear statements that Christ died only for the elect, only for his people. Though so many of them, it depends on what you're thinking when you read the statement. There are more statements than you might think. And one that I think is inescapable in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, but we will not go to that one now. But the whole, a full understanding of what took place in Christ's life and death renders it impossible that Christ did this for everyone and all the world without exception.

And this will help you understand that now. But Christ defeated Satan, rendered him powerless, took from him the weapon of death so that those who are in Christ shall never die. What a wonderful truth. But there's a third element as well in why God became man. Oh, wait a minute, I'm not done with Satan, to the defeat of Satan. Christ's death was an act of victory. Satan's power over God's people is now forever gone. Christ's triumph over Satan's kingdom guarantees his defeat. Satan no longer rules over death and destruction. Christ defeated Satan by entering his kingdom and submitting to his greatest weapon, death.

And he conquered death, rendering it null and void for his people. Satan no longer holds the world under his sway. Christ's kingdom has invaded Satan's kingdom. Christ's kingdom has triumphed over Satan's kingdom. And in time, Satan's defeat will be realized, manifested, and final.

It's just a matter of time. God's perfect time. And now we come to reason number three, why God became man. He became man in order to conquer the fear of death. Not only to conquer death, but the fear of death. And there are some of those for whom death has been conquered, who nevertheless have not yet fully conquered their fear of death.

And that needs to be addressed as well. And so we read in verse 15, and not only to destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, but beyond that, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Now this tells us something about humanity, about flesh and blood, about people in this world as fallen sons and daughters of Adam and therefore we are placed into Christ by faith. This tells us something about our fear, a universal fear, a great fear, that not everybody talks about, not everybody admits to, not everybody will acknowledge that they have this fear, but I'm confident from the words of scripture that everybody has it that is probably and undoubtedly is the greatest fear that sinners maintain throughout their lifetime. Fear of death. Because humanity is enslaved to death.

That's what verse 15 is telling us. Christ came to release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Humanity is enslaved to death. Sinners are in bondage to death because sinners are guilty of sin and sin's inescapable penalty is death. And therefore death is man's greatest fear. A lot of aspects to it. Death to many people is the great unknown.

What is on the other side? What will happen when I die? And that great unknown causes a measure of fear. But the prospect of just judgment also brings fear. You say, well, not everybody believes in that.

Well, not everybody admits they believe in that. We've been spending some time in Romans chapter one on Wednesday nights. But here's how Romans chapter one winds up. Who, speaking of all humanity, knowing the righteous judgment of God, knowing the righteous judgment of God. And he's talking about some who don't have a Bible and some who haven't heard of Christ and some who've never had the gospel preached unto them. But there are certain things that they know that God has placed within them and they know.

Who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things, the list of sins that precede this verse, are deserving of death, not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them. In other words, they steel themselves against this thought of death. They will not dwell upon it. They will not act upon it.

They will not concede to it. They will steel themselves against it like the writer of Invictus. I am the master of my faith.

I am the captain of my soul. But knowing all the while deep inside that that's not true. And they know that there's a judgment coming. And they know that those who commit the sins that are listed, they are deserving of condemnation.

They know that. They know that they have committed many of those sins and therefore they are guilty and deserving of condemnation. They know that there is promised a judgment day beyond the grave where a just and righteous God will judge every sinner whose sins have not been cleansed by the blood of Christ. And so the prospect of just judgment brings fear to sinners. The prospect of eternal death brings fear to sinners.

And denying these realities does not entirely dismiss them. People may act bold and arrogant and insist that they have no fear of dying. But I think on the basis of what scripture tells us we can be assured that every fallen son of Adam fears death. It's the great enemy. This stark reality of death drives enormous fear in men.

But here's the good news of Hebrews 2.15. Christ delivered his people from the bondage of fear and released those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Christ had delivered his people from the bondage of fear, specifically the fear of death, which was previously and rightfully our greatest fear. But if the greatest fear is now gone, what else is there to fear?

Truly. Now that doesn't mean we don't have any other fears, but we shouldn't have any other fears. If we will get a hold of this one so that we can truly by the truth of God's word and the work of God's Spirit in our heart banish from our minds all fear of death, then we should also surely be able to banish from our hearts all fear of other things.

If we can dismiss the greater, surely we can deal with the lesser. So if the greatest fear is gone, what else is there to fear? But we do seem determined sometimes to resurrect many fears. We've lived with fear so long we don't know how to live without it. And so we continue dredging up things to be fearful about. And Satan is certainly happy to help us in that mission. So he'll cause us to be fearful of our finances and not failing to trust God who promised to take care of us and meet all of our needs.

And he who feeds the sparrow said he would surely take care of all of his children. But we fear for our finances. We fear for our future. We fear for our health. We fear for our loved ones. We fear for disease.

COVID brought that out. You saw a lot of God's people acting unusually fearful and seeming to have trouble to get over that fear in order to just trust God. Now, we should all take reasonable precautions, but some people couldn't seem to find where the end of reasonable was and the beginning of unreasonable started and just continued to go on and on and on in fear. Fear of what? Fear of getting disease. Fear of what? Fear of dying.

But aren't you a Christian? God has dealt with the fear of death. Christ took care of that upon the cross for his people.

He defeated that. And the release of those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Christ delivered his people from the bondage of fear so that those who are trusting in Christ have no reason to fear. Our sin debt has been paid. The penalty for our sins has been satisfied by Christ.

He is the perfect sacrifice who died in the place of his people so that they have no sin debt remaining and therefore no judgment owed to the justice of God. They have instead eternal life that has been granted to them by their faith in Jesus Christ. And eternal life begins now and lasts forever.

It is eternal. What did Jesus say in John chapter 11 to Mary, or Martha I guess it was, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live. And then he said this, Believest thou this? Do you really believe that? Do you believe what I said?

Are you trusting me for this one? I said, I'm the resurrection and the life. If you're trusting in me, you have eternal life. There is no death. If you believe this, you will not fear death. You will not fear for the death of your loved ones, for Lazarus who lies in the grave. You will not fear if you believe this. There is no reason to fear if we trust the word of God.

And that's the important word. There is no reason to fear if we believe the word of God. If we believe what God has said and what Christ has done. So what should this teach us, this passage? It should cause us to understand and appreciate more of what Christ has done for his people. He took our flesh and blood.

What condescension. I'll never understand the fullness of that. He endured the sufferings and trials of humanity in a sin-cursed world. He became literally our blood brother. We talk about the kinship of blood relatives. Jesus became our blood relative.

He became our elder brother. We are related to him not only by the spiritual union of the new birth, but by the blood that he took upon him when he took our flesh and blood. And he did all this to bring us with himself into the family of God. He who is the eternal son of God chose, along with consultation with the Father and the Holy Spirit, chose to rescue a great host of fallen humanity out of their deserved condemnation and to elevate them to the place of sons of God, his brothers, his children, and to bring that great company of his brethren right into the presence of his Heavenly Father, and said, Here I am, O Heavenly Father, and the host of the children you have given to me. I have purchased them with my blood upon the cross, and here they are, my brethren, coming into your presence, they who are already in your family.

Do you understand what we say, what I say, what many say? When they say the gospel is not just for the unconverted, it's for the Christian too. When we say the gospel has so many dimensions to it, we'll never get through all of them. It's not just believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and you'll be saved, period.

Done and gone, go on to other things. Oh, no. I'm talking to you about the gospel today. It is rich. It is full. It is mind-boggling. It is staggering. It is wonderful.

It is life-sustaining. It will give us courage and hope and strength throughout this life. And so this should give us a better understanding and appreciation for what Christ has done for his people.

It should give us a better appreciation for what Christ has done to defeat Satan. He underwent Satan's ultimate weapon, death, and conquered it. He removed the curse of death for his people. He robbed Satan of his domain.

He no longer has this unfettered rule over the entire world. He robbed Satan of his domain, of his kingdom, by removing many citizens out of Satan's kingdom into his kingdom. And by inaugurating a new and more powerful kingdom of life to conquer and replace Satan's kingdom of death.

A kingdom which is even now displacing Satan's kingdom. And that can be seen in the worldwide spread of the gospel. Pastor K in his series on Revelation made reference recently to different views of the millennium. And he talked a little bit about post-millennialism.

And what I'm saying right now would be a theme of post-millennialism, but I'm not a post-millennialist. But we need to make more of the fact that unseen, because that's the way God works. Quietly, because that's the way God works.

In a spiritual manner, because that's the way God works. The kingdom of Christ is ever growing, growing, growing as the gospel goes to the end of the world. And more and more people are believing the gospel. And more and more people out of every kindred, tongue, and tribe, and nation are coming to Christ. And as the word of God is being translated more and more into languages of the world that have never had it before. And we hear reports of people in far-flung places of the world where the gospel has never been preached, who are now firm followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's taking place all over the world, exactly like Jesus said.

Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. And that's what's going on right now all over the world. And Satan's kingdom is being robbed. It is being conquered.

It is being diminished. It is being overcome by the one who defeated death and Satan, and who rules over an eternal kingdom of light and life. And so I conclude by asking, do these blessings that I have described today apply to you? I could ask you, are you a cultural Christian or a born-again Christian? Many people are Christians because their parents were Christian, so of course they became a Christian.

But are you a true Christian? Many people, if you would ask them, are you a Christian, would say yes, I am a Christian. And then you ask them, where do you attend church?

And they might blurt out a reply. And then you ask them, who's the pastor of that church, and they don't know, because they haven't been there for so long. They have no interest in being in church, no interest in spiritual things, but they are quite certain that they are Christians.

I'm here to tell you, dear friend, that's a very dangerous position to be in. Nicodemus was a, I think we could say, a godly, religious Jew who was lost and on his way to hell. And Jesus said, unless you are born again, you will not see the kingdom of God. And I could say that to many people today who consider themselves to be Christians. You may call yourself a Christian, but unless you have been born again by the Spirit of God from above, you are going to die and go to hell. But if you are born again by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, true saving faith, then all of these blessings will be yours.

So are you a cultural Christian or are you a born again believer? Or another question, are you in bondage to sin or have you been freed from sin? Not that any Christian is sinless. There's no such thing as sinless perfection in this life. We do struggle with sin, but there's a difference between acknowledging it and fighting against it and continuing to war against it and not being comfortable with it and not being happy with it and just yielding to it and being happy with that. In other words, being in bondage to sin. If you're in bondage to sin, you're lost. And these blessings don't apply to you. Are you in bondage to sin or freed from sin?

Or this one, do you have a fear of dying or do you have no fear of death? And if these questions, any of them in any part trouble you and you're not sure because of these questions of your standing with God through Jesus Christ, you don't need to come to me. I'll be glad to talk to you and pray with you if you would like. You certainly aren't going to find salvation at the front of a church by kneeling at what is sometimes called an altar. That's not where it's found. Where is salvation found? In Christ.

In Christ alone. Where is he? He's wherever people call out to him in faith, in repentant faith. Where can you find him?

You can find him in your heart as you pray to him. Go to him. Do business with him. Acknowledge your need of him. Tell him you're sick of your sins and yet you're bound by them and you want to be released from them. You want to be cleansed from them. You want to be freed from the burden of sin. You want the life that only he can give. Call out to him in that way and he says, He who comes to me, I will in no wise cast out.

Shall we bow? Father, take these truths. Use them to strengthen and encourage your people. Use them to convict of sin and guilt and condemnation those who need Christ. And by your Spirit, draw them to Christ in faith believing. We pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-15 15:15:50 / 2023-08-15 15:29:41 / 14

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