In light of the Christmas season that is still upon us, I’ve been reflecting on the reality of Christ coming into this world. As the Christmas hymn goes, “Joy to the World, the Lord is come!” He has come. He has come into the world. He has come into our lives. And He has become a human to bear our sin. But what does it mean that Jesus has come? Christ became a human. He came down from Heaven to dwell with us. This has major implications for us! Bonhoeffer says this:
“While we endeavor to grow out of our humanity and to leave our human nature behind us, God becomes human and we must recognize that God wants us also to become human – really human. Whereas we distinguish between the godly and the godless, the good and the evil, the noble and the common, God loves real human beings without distinction.”
The irony is that we try to perfect ourselves; we try to clean up our lives and “become a better person,” and yet that’s exactly what the incarnation of Christ means for us. He has become man, entered into our world, and served us by our side.
While we try to avoid our human nature, the very depth of depravity that defines us, Christ lived in that humanity and conquered it. Instead of living a life in sinful nature, he lived perfectly and wholly dependent on God. He is our example in that. By becoming man, he demonstrated to us in the most thorough and loving way what that looks like. He leads by supreme example. Through his life on earth, he demonstrated a perfect life: perfect love and perfect sacrifice.
Jesus coming into the world means that we don’t have to clean up our lives or free ourselves from our own human nature. By entering into our world, Christ defeats all human ambition. “For that’s just it: it is God himself, the Lord and Creator of all things, who is so small here, who enters into the plainness of the world, who meets us in the helplessness and defenselessness of a child, and wants to be with us. And he does this in order to show us where he is and who he is, and in order from this place to judge and devalue and dethrone all human ambition.”
Christ’s incarnation means everything to us. He lowered himself by entering into humanity. He lived and died in order to reveal himself to us, and to save us from our eternal separation from Himself and our Heavenly Father.
When God’s Son took on flesh, he truly and bodily took on, out of pure grace, our being, our nature, and ourselves. This was the eternal counsel of the triune God. Now we are in him. Where he is, there we are too, in the incarnation, on the cross, and in his resurrection. We belong to him because we are in him. That is why the Scriptures call us the Body of Christ.