As important and comforting as it is to understand that Jesus took our fallen nature when He came into our world, there is another aspect of the Incarnation that we must study if we are to correctly understand how He lived while taking human form. Jesus really was different from us in several ways, and we must understand these differences if we are to have a balanced picture of the Incarnation. Modern errors in the study of the Incarnation have usually been the result of overemphasizing either the ways in which Christ was like us or the ways in which He was different from us.
Where did Christ come from?
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:...and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
(A) ______ Jesus began in Bethlehem.
(B) ______ Jesus is the everlasting Father.
(C) ______ Jesus had a beginning at some point.
This amazing text tells us that it is appropriate for us to call Jesus the everlasting Father. While we cannot understand this fully, it tells us that Jesus existed from all eternity just as the Father did. This is the most significant difference between Jesus and human beings.
What did Jesus decide before He was born?
"Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:...Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God." Hebrews 10:5-7
(A) ______ Jesus decided to do God's will.
(B) ______ Jesus decided to be born in a human body.
(C) ______ Jesus decided to stay in heaven.
Two correct answers
This text is quoted from Psalm 40:8, which is a prophecy of Jesus becoming part of the human family. Before He began His life on earth He chose to be obedient to the Father. The decision we make when we are converted or born again, Jesus made before He was born. Therefore He was born under the controlling power of the Holy Spirit. His will was surrendered to God from His birth, while our will is surrendered to God only at the new birth.
Who did Jesus choose for His mother?
"And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS." Luke 1:31
____ True ____ False Before He was conceived, Jesus knew who His mother was.
The angel was sent to let Mary know that she would be the earthly mother of Jesus. Since this happened before Jesus was conceived in her womb, it is obvious that Jesus was part of the heavenly planning process which resulted in the virgin birth. Jesus had the remarkable privilege of choosing His earthly parents!
Who took the place of an earthly father for Jesus?
"And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee." Luke 1:35
(A) ______ Joseph was Jesus' father.
(B) ______ An angel was Jesus' father.
(C) ______ The Holy Ghost took the place of a father for Jesus.
No human being has ever had the Holy Spirit for a father. The truth of the virgin birth is one of the most amazing facts of Scripture, which we can believe, although we can never understand it.
What was the result of this miracle conception?
"Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Luke 1:35
True____ False____ Jesus was born holy.
This is the most remarkable difference between Jesus and human beings. No human being is born holy, although we are born innocent of guilt. Jesus was holy from His first entrance into the world, and He remained holy for the rest of His life.
Did Jesus ever sin?
"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Corinthians 5:21
True____ False____ Jesus never sinned.
Since we know that "all have sinned," (Romans 3:23) this is another obvious difference between Jesus and human beings. From His birth to His death, Jesus never yielded once to the temptations of Satan or to the promptings of His fallen nature.
Conclusion: While we will never be able to explain fully the workings of the Incarnation, we are able to ascertain some basic facts. Jesus' birth was clearly different from all others born into this world. Perhaps the most significant difference for the purposes of our study was that Jesus chose obedience to God before He was born, and thus He was born under the controlling power of the Holy Spirit. For us, all of this cannot happen until we are converted and choose to surrender our lives to God.
The practical result of this difference for Christ was that He did not develop the same sinful habits as a young child which all of us develop as children. His character was not warped toward disobedience and rebellion by sinful habit patterns developed at a very young age. Although His nature was the same as our nature, with all the same potential for disobedience which is in our nature, His character was pure and holy from birth. Once He was able to choose for Himself, He always chose to keep His character surrendered to God..
Does all of this give Jesus an unfair advantage over us? Not really. I can have the same controlling power of the Holy Spirit and the same victory over sin when I choose to surrender my life to God. I can have Jesus' connection with God and His character by the process of the new birth. This is all God asks of me. I am not asked to live a sinless life from birth to death, as Jesus was. I am only asked to believe in Jesus, to be born again of the Holy Spirit, and to make Jesus the Lord of my life and all that I do.
However, if Jesus did not inherit the same nature that I do, that does give Jesus an unfair advantage over me. No matter what choices I make, I cannot change my fallen nature. No matter how fully I surrender to God, I cannot have the sinless nature that Adam had. If Jesus' perfect obedience was based on the fact that He had an unfallen nature, then He had an advantage which I can never have. If perfect obedience is restricted to those with unfallen natures, then I can never obey perfectly. One of Satan's major arguments was that God's law was unfair for fallen human beings, because they could never obey it. The only way Jesus could disprove this lie of Satan was to take fallen nature and obey God's law in that fallen nature.
As a result of our study thus far, we can conclude that since Jesus' obedience to God was based on the Holy Spirit's control of His life, then I can also choose that control for my life, and I can come to live a life of total obedience to God. I can have the same "advantage" that Jesus had!