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Jesus, God's Son

The Incarnation

Jesus Christ was not only truly man, but 'truly and properly God'. "He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made" (John 1:2-3). The character and being of God were fully present in the life of the man Jesus, who said, "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). The early Christians adopted the word 'Incarnation' to describe this truth. The word is not strictly a biblical term, but literally means 'embodiment' or 'in the flesh'. The doctrine of the Incarnation declares that our God became one of us, though without sin.

This truth is expressed in different ways by the New Testament writers. In the Gospel of John we read that "the Word became flesh and lived for a while among us" (John 1:14). In Philippians Paul expresses this truth when he describes Christ as "being in very nature God" and yet "taking the very nature of a servant" (Philippians 2:6-7). In Colossians Jesus is "the image of the invisible God" through whom "all things hold together" and through whom God provided reconciliation "through his blood, shed on the cross" (Colossians 1:15-20). In Hebrews Jesus Christ is referred to as "the radiance of God's glory and exact representation of his being" (Hebrews 1:3). A number of names and titles taken from the language of the Old Testament and from the first-century world are brought to the aid of those seeking to express in relevant language the inexpressible mystery of the fulness of God present in Jesus Christ.

The Virgin Birth

In the Gospels of Matthew and Luke we read about the conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:35). Like all human beings, Jesus was born of a woman, Mary, whose obedience to God opened the way for his outpouring of grace in the person of Jesus (Luke 1:35-38). But Jesus' person, life and character cannot be explained solely in terms of human heredity. God was at work in Jesus from the moment of conception. This conviction is bound up with his conception by the Holy Spirit and his birth to Mary, usually referred to as the doctrine of the Virgin Birth.

This illuminates our understanding of the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. It asserts his divinity as well as his advent in time as a man, made in the image of God. it reminds us that Jesus is both like us and unlike us.