What does it mean that Jesus is God incarnate? What does incarnate mean?

To be incarnate is to have a fleshly body. It is defined as: "embodied in flesh; given a bodily, especially a human, form." Jesus was God incarnate, in that He was God in the flesh: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). Jesus was fully man and fully God simultaneously. This is a mystery that requires faith to believe, but it must be confessed and believed in order to be in Christ (John 14:11; 1 John 4:2; 2 John 1:7).

During His life, Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah, starting with the virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:26–38; Matthew 1:18). Jesus exists eternally (John 1:1–3; John 8:58); He performed miracles (Matthew 9:24–25); He forgave sins (Matthew 9:6); and He resurrected from the dead (Luke 24:36–39). These elements of Jesus' life further prove that Jesus, the person, was indeed God in the flesh. Jesus is above angels and angels are commanded to worship Him (Hebrews 1:4–6).

Jesus lived a normal human life in every aspect except one: He did it without sinning (Hebrews 4:15). He was born through a natural birth (Luke 2:4–7), raised by human parents according to their customs (2:41–42), and He learned and grew as a normal person (Luke 2:52). He had physical needs (John 4:6) and regular human emotions (Matthew 26:38). When He was crucified, He physically died (Luke 23:46) before being physically resurrected on the third day (Luke 24:39).

By taking on human form, Christ humbled Himself. He was still God, but His position shifted; He no longer had the glory and benefits of heaven. He came to serve us and: "emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:7–8). As the infinite God, Jesus was fully God the entire time He was on earth (Hebrews 13:8; Revelation 1:8). The fact that Jesus is God at all times enables us and all living things to keep on living, for He is our source of life (Acts 17:28).


Related Truth:

What is the incarnation of Christ and why is the incarnation important?

Why does it matter that Jesus is God in the flesh?

Can the incarnation be reconciled with the immutability of God?

What is the theological concept of the hypostatic union?

What is the significance of the humanity of Jesus?


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