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Incarnation

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
December 15, 2021 12:01 am

Incarnation

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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December 15, 2021 12:01 am

What we celebrate at Christmas is not merely the birth of a baby but the incarnation of God Himself. Today, R.C. Sproul discusses this significant moment in redemptive history.

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The Bible tells us that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. This was not represent a struggle within the Godhead itself, but rather an eternal agreement.

The sun is sent by the father and the son is absolutely delighted to be sent and to carry out the mission that the father has given to him affected Jesus came into the world. Is it a mystery to us were familiar with the story. Unfortunately though it may become a bit commonplace for us. But the idea of the perfect holy God choosing to become like us and allowing his creatures to torture and killing well that's nothing short of astonishing today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul explains the wonders of the incarnation. Today were going to start a and were going to focus in this series on the work of Christ. Now in theology we make a distinction between the person Christ and the work of Christ, for various reasons, but even though that distinction is important to make.

We must never let it become a separation because the person of Christ is intimately connected to his work, and we understand his work largely in part from the perspective of who would was who was doing that work. And yet at the same time. Conversely, the work of Jesus reveals to us a great deal about who we years so is person and his work may be distinguished, but never separated, not when we start an examination of the work of Jesus. Usually, people want to start with his birth, his virgin birth, and yet were not going to start at that point in this particular lecture series.

Instead, the work of Jesus.

I believe begins much earlier than his birth. In fact, it begins in eternity past and what we call in theology.

The covenant of redemption, but we hear the word covenant a lot in the Bible we think about the covenant of creation. We think about the covenant of works. The covenant of grace we think about the covenant God makes with Abraham, with no with David and even the new covenant that we call the New Testament but many people on at all familiar with what we consider to be the very first covenant or the covenant of redemption and that covenant is not a covenant that God makes with human doing. Rather, the covenant of redemption refers to up act or an agreement that takes place in eternity within the Godhead we distinguish the persons of the Godhead as the father the son and the Holy Spirit. And we know when we look at the Old Testament record of creation that the entire Trinity the whole Godhead is actively involved in bringing the universe into being.

But not only is creation a Trinitarian work but redemption is also a Trinitarian work.

The father is the one who initiates the concept of redeeming a creation that he knows will be fallen and so it is the father who designs the plan of redemption. It is the son who was given the assignment by the father to accomplish that redemption. And of course it is the work of the Holy Spirit to apply that work of redemption to us, but we have to understand that this does not represent a struggle within the Godhead itself, but rather an eternal agreement.

The sun is sent by the father and the son is absolutely delighted to be sent and to carry out the mission that the father has given to him during his earthly sojourn.

Jesus made a comment on one occasion where he said no one a sentence into heaven except he who has descended from heaven and so with respect to the ministry of Jesus in this world.

It begins with the dissension as distinguished from the ascension that the dissension has to do with his leaving his situation in glory with the father and the spirit and coming to this world by way of incarnation when the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Romans at the very beginning of the epistle where he identifies himself as an apostle, who's been called of God and set apart for the gospel of God, which he says was announced by the Old Testament prophets and it regards Jesus who is born of the seed of David and so when Paul announces the gospel and the work of Christ throughout the book of Romans. He begins in the very first chapter with a reference to Jesus as having been born of a woman from the scene of David according to the flesh, and when we speak of Jesus flesh that brings us immediately to the concept of incarnation what we celebrated Christmas is not so much the birth of the baby is important or that is what was so significant about the birth of that particular baby is that in this birth we have the incarnation of God himself and incarnation means a coming in the flesh. We know how John begins his gospel in the beginning was the word and the Word was with God and the word was God. So in that very complicated introductory statement he distinguishes between the word and God and then the next breath identifies the to the Word was with God and the Word was God.

And then at the end of the prologue. He says, and the word became flesh and dwelt among us now in this, in Fleshman, if you will of Christ's appearing on this planet. It's not that God suddenly changes through a metamorphosis into a man so that the divine nature sort of passes out of existence or comes into a new form of flushing us know the incarnation is not so much a subtraction as it is an addition where the eternal second person of the Trinity takes upon himself a human nature and joins his divine nature to that human nature for the purpose of redemption.

Now I like to direct our attention this morning to a very important passage in Paul's letter to the Philippians in the second chapter were in chapter 2 of Philippians beginning at verse five we have these words let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in the appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted him and given him the name which is above every name, that the name of Jesus every knee should bow all of those in heaven of those on earth, and of those under the earth and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father know this passage that I just read is known in biblical circles as the commodity him. The idea being that the speculation is that this particular passage out of Paul's letter to the Philippians was a passage that was not composed by the apostle while he was writing the letter to the Philippians, but rather Paul was making use of a widely used very early Christian him. We don't know that for sure, but it's certainly possible, and that him celebrates the incarnation and it is called the commodity cam because of the prominent Greek word that is found within this passage, which is the Greek word, gnosis, which means literally and emptying and the focal point of this passage or him.

Whichever the case may be, is on the transition that Jesus underwent bike coming from his exalted state in heaven and becoming incarnate as a man in this world and the pattern that is found here in this passage is a pattern that we see frequently in the life of Jesus, which is a pattern of humiliation and exultation that is the say hey begins and exultation in glory in heaven, but he condescends to join us in our earthly predicament in order to redeem us and by entering into human flesh.

He undergoes a profound humiliation and throughout his lifetime. There seems to be a progression or regression where the humiliation moves deeper and darker and worse and worse as it reaches its nadir in the cross and then following the cross comes the resurrection and the exultation of Christ once again to glory. Now that progression or that pattern that I just mentioned from humiliation to exultation is not absolute. Several years ago I wrote a book entitled the glory of Christ, because I was fascinated how that during certain moments of Jesus earthly life in the very midst of the hidden this from his eternal identity in the very midst of the shroud of incarnation there would be little verse of glory that would break through as if the incarnation itself was incapable of totally submerging the glory of the second person of the Trinity. We see it.

For example, in the birth narratives of Jesus were we see so much of the literature, there speaks of the arduous journey that Mary and Joseph take in order to sign up for the tax in Bethlehem and they get there and there's no room in the end, and so Jesus is born and ignominious circumstances there in utter humiliation being wrapped in swaddling cloth and so on. But all the time. We have this picture of humiliation right outside in the fields of Bethlehem, the glory of God burst through and the angelic chorus begins the same glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and goodwill to men.

So this is one example. But the throughout the life of Jesus we see these episodes of glory that come through. Nevertheless, the basic pattern is one of humiliation to exultation again back in Romans one, Paul speaks of his being born of the scene of David according to the flesh but made known as the son of God through the resurrection. Not having said that, let's look once more at this him and analyze some of the aspects of it in Philippians 2 the way this is used as an exultation that the apostle was making the Christians that Christians ought to emulate the humility of their Savior elsewhere. The apostle tells us unless we are willing to identify with the humiliation of Jesus.

We will not be ever able to experience his exultation and even our very baptism has that do well sign then that baptism we are marked with the death of Jesus, but were also marked with the resurrection of Jesus to see that pattern humiliation and exultation will apostle using this says that Christ, who, being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. That's strange language there other translators rendered differently. They will say that he did not consider his equality with God a thing to be grasped. In other words that Jesus did not consider the glory that he enjoyed with the father and the spirit from all eternity as something to be tenaciously held onto jealously guarded but rather he was willing to lay it aside. He was willing to empty himself and make himself of no reputation in the 19th century liberal scholars propounded a doctrine called the canonic theory of the incarnation, and you may have heard at the idea being that when Jesus came to this earth. He laid aside his divine attributes so that the God man at least touching his deity no longer had the divine attributes of omniscience, omnipotence, and all the rest. But of course that would totally deny the very nature of God, who is immutable even in the incarnation, the divine nature does not lose his divine attributes he doesn't communicate them to the human side he doesn't deify the human nature, but in the mystery of the union between the divine and the human natures of Jesus the human nature is truly human. It's not omniscient is not omnipotent. If none of those things, but at the same time the divine nature remains fully and completely divine. BB Warfield, the great scholar Princeton and remarking on the cannot.

A theory of his day, said the only can gnosis that that theory proves is the can gnosis of the brains of the theologians who were propagating that they've emptied themselves of their common sense, but in any case, what is empty his glory privilege exultation.

Jesus, in the incarnation makes himself of no reputation.

He allows his own divine exalted standing to be subjected to human hostility and human criticism and denial.

He took the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. This is an amazing thing that he doesn't just come as a man, he comes a slight he comes in a station that carries with it no exultation, no dignity, only in dignity and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient even to the point of death, the shameful death of the cross. Now having given us that brief summary of the humiliation of Jesus in the incarnation, the next word that follows from it is vitally important to us.

Therefore, or wherefore half God highly exalted him. Remember when Jesus was in the upper room the night before his execution. The night that he established the Lord's supper and he went through that lengthy prayer.

The high priestly prayer that is called remember one of the things that Jesus asks for in that prayer. He asked the father to restore to him the glory that he had with the father from the beginning is that I've I've done my mission of innovating now.

Father, glorify your son, the glory that he had with you from the foundation of the world and this is exactly what God does with Jesus at the completion of his work.

There is an end point to his indignity. There is a completion to his humiliation that starts so starkly with his birth, therefore, hath God highly exalted him and given to him a name that is above every name known other series that we've done we've looked carefully at the names and titles that are used for Jesus in the New Testament, which are rich indeed, and inspiring to us so often, when Christians read this passage, they assume that what is being said here is that the name that is above every name is the name Jesus. That's not the text to say what the text is saying is that God has highly exalted him to such a degree that the name of Jesus. When you hear the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue should confess what that he is Lord, to the glory of God the father, the name that is above every name, is that title that belongs only to God that title out of my that refers to God as the song from one that is the title that is revealed, that belongs to Christ because of his humiliation, because of his perfect obedience in the role of a slave God moves heaven and earth to exalt his son gives him the name that is above every name, so that when you hear the name of Jesus here impulsively to be in your knee and confess that he is Lord, to the glory of God the father that at this point by exalting Christ. You are also exalting the father and so it comes full circle first exultation humiliation back to exultation.

This is where it starts and the work of Christ is given to him not to come down to die on Good Friday and then returned to heaven but through his entire lifetime is occupied with the mission that he agreed to perform with the father and the spirit that's Dr. RC Sproul with a message from his series. What did Jesus do this week on Renewing Your Mind were looking at the life of Jesus, examining the significance of his earthly ministry and studying the incarnation as we did today provides us with a glimpse into the amazing grace God showed in providing a savior for us. The series is 12 lessons that it covers the important events in Jesus life from his childhood to his temptation in the wilderness to the Last Supper and beyond. You'll see that what Christ did in those events is just as important as what he accomplished on the cross so request the two DVD set of what did Jesus do when you give a donation of any amount to look at your ministries. You can reach us by phone at 800-435-4343 or you can go online to Renewing Your Mind.org.

One thing that always concerns Dr. scroll was that so many Christians and churches seem to of lost their confidence in God's word.

It's tragic because it's through Scripture and only through Scripture that awakening to the truth of God comes in as we study these major events in Jesus life and ministry. It it becomes clear that our understanding of who he isn't what he did is a crucial part of faith in Christ. If, for example, he wasn't born of a virgin work transfigured were crucified or resurrected.

There is no salvation but were grateful for Dr. scroll's careful study in the series and will explore even more tomorrow as we hear another message from the series. RC will take a look at the significance of the songs we find in the gospel when Jesus was an infant. This Thursday on Renewing Your Mind


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