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E.J Waggoner-God Manifest in the Flesh

E.J Waggoner-God Manifest in the Flesh

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Published by: DANTZIE on Mar 30, 2009
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God Manifest in the Flesh
 E. J. Waggoner01 When the apostle, in his introduction to the epistleto the Romans, speaks of the Gospel of God concerning hisSon Jesus Christ our Lord, he says of Christ that "he wasmade of the seed of David according to the flesh." In thisexpression, besides the statement of the genealogy of Christ, there lies not only a great theological truth, but amost comforting thought for poor, frail, erring mortals.02 When Christ was here on earth, "God was manifestin the flesh." 1 Tim. 3:16. "God was in Christ, reconcilingthe world unto himself." 2 Cor. 5:19. Christ was God; itwas by him that the worlds were made, and it was the wordof his power that preserved all things. Heb. 1:3. He hadequal glory with the father before the world was (John17:5); "for it pleased the Father that in him should all thefullness dwell." Col. 1:19. In him dwelt "all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." Col. 2:9. Yet he was man at the sametime. John puts the matter very forcibly and plainly whenhe says: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word waswith God, and the Word was God." "And the Word wasmade flesh and dwelt among us." John 1:1, 14.03 No words could more plainly show that Christ wasboth God and man. Originally only divine, he took uponhimself human nature, and passed among men as only acommon mortal, except at those times when his divinityflashed through, as on the occasion of the cleansing of thetemple, or when his burning words of simple truth forcedeven his enemies to confess that "never man spake like thisman."04 The humiliation which Christ took upon himself isthe best expresses by Paul to the Philippians: "Have themind in you which was also in Christ Jesus; who beingoriginally in the form of God, counted it not a thing to begrasped [that is, to be clung to] to be on an equality with
God, but emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, becoming in the likeness of men; and being foundin fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becomingobedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross." Phil.2:5-8, Revised Version, marginal reading.05 The above rendering makes it much more plain thanit is in the common version. The idea is that although Christwas in the form of God, being "the brightness of his glory,and the express image of his person" (Hebrews 1:3), havingall the attributes of God, being the ruler of the universe, andthe one all heaven delights to honor, he did not think thatany of these things were to be desired so long as men werelost and without strength. He could not enjoy his glorywhile man was an outcast, without hope. So he emptiedhimself, divested himself of all his riches and glory, andtook upon himself the nature of man in order that he mightredeem him. It was necessary that he should assume thenature of man, in order that he might suffer death, as theapostle says to the Hebrews that he "was made a little lowerthan the angels for the suffering of death." Hebrews 2:9.06 It is impossible for us to understand how this couldbe, and it is worse than useless for us to speculate about it.All we can do is to accept the facts as they are presented inthe Bible. Other Scriptures that we will quote bring closerto us the fact of the humanity of Christ, and what it meansfor us. We have already read that "the Word was madeflesh," and now we will read to what Paul says as to thenature of that flesh. "For what the Law could not do, in thatit was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son inthe likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin inthe flesh; that the righteousness of the law might befulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after thespirit." Romans 8:3, 4.07 A little thought will be sufficient to show anybodythat if Christ took upon himself the likeness of man, inorder that he might suffer death, it must have been sinfulman that he was made like, for it is only sin that causesdeath. Death could have no power over a sinless man, as
Adam was in Eden; and it could not have had any powerover Christ if the Lord had not laid upon him the iniquity of us all. Moreover, the fact that Christ took upon himself theflesh, not of a sinless being, but of sinful man, that is, thatthe flesh which he assumed had all the weaknesses andsinful tendencies to which fallen human nature is subject, isshown by the very words upon which this article is basedHe was "made of the seed of David according to the flesh."David had all the passions of human nature. He says of himself, 'Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin didmy mother conceive me." Ps. 51:5.08 A brief glance at the ancestry and posterity of Davidwill show that the line from which Christ sprung, as to hishuman nature, was such as would tend to concentrate allthe weaknesses of humanity. Go back to Jacob, we find thatbefore he was converted he had the most unlovelydisposition, selfish, crafty, deceitful. His sons partook of the same nature, and Pharez, one of the ancestors of Christ(Matt. 1:3; Gen. 38), was born of a harlot. Rahab, anunenlightened heathen, became as ancestor of Christ. Theweakness and idolatry of Solomon are proverbial. Of Rehoboam, Abijah, Jehoram, Ahaz, Manasseh, Ammon,and other kings of Judah, the record is about the same.They sinned and made the people sin. Some of them hadone redeeming trait in their characters, being worse than theheathen around them. It was from such an ancestry thatChrist came. Although his mother was a pure and godlywoman, as could be expected, no one could doubt that thehuman nature of Christ must have been more subject toinfirmities of the flesh than it would have been if he hadbeen born before the race had so greatly deterioratedphysically and morally. This was not accidental, but was anecessary part of the great plan of human redemption, asthe following will show:—09 "For verily he took not on himself the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. [TheSyriac version has it, "For he did not assume a nature fromangels, but he assumed a nature from the seed of Abraham.]

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