I originally gave this message at the Regen gathering on January 25, 2009 in our "What Christians Believe" series. (If you like, read why I'm posting these old sermons now.)
For those who may be interested in the formal formulation of the incarnation, here is the text of the Definition of Chalcedon, from the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD. This has been the standard of orthodoxy since that time:
Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us. (Source, including the original Greek wording)
One of the difficulties that I felt in preparing this message was in not being able to adequately express the glory and mystery and greatness of God that the Incarnation demonstrates. I can only pray that God will take the words of Scripture and press them into our hearts through the Holy Spirit so that we will embrace Jesus as Lord and Christ with all that we are.
The other difficulty that I felt was in not being able to draw out all of the implications of the incarnation for us as believers in Christ. The three implications that I highlight in the message are the following:
- We can worship Jesus
- We can know God
- We can live a new life
What do you think? What are some other implications of the incarnation for the way we think or live?