GOD WITH US
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23 NKJV)
The Incarnation of God was undoubtedly a glorious turning point in the history of mankind on the earth. Things never remained the same again on earth ever since God manifested in the flesh, in the person of Jesus Christ, to dwell among us.
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The Advent of Jesus permanently changed the course of history and the destiny of mankind!
The coming of Jesus Christ into the world opened a new and exciting chapter in God’s dealings with mankind. By His death on the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ had completely abolished in His flesh the enmity between God and men.
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Therefore, when Jesus was born, a multitude of the heavenly host praised God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14 NKJV).
God created us in His image and after His likeness primarily for an intimate and loving relationship and fellowship with Him. Man enjoyed a loving and intimate relationship and fellowship with God until the advent of sin (Gen. 3:8-9).
The disobedience of the first man (Adam) created enmity and separation between God and the entire human race (Isa. 59:1-2, Rom. 5:12, 19).
It was not that God rejected and detested man after his fall, but having become corrupt through sin; man could no longer approach God with confidence, or stand in God’s holy presence without any guilt, fear, shame, or condemnation.
After the disobedience of Adam God still came down into the Garden of Eden looking for him and asking, “Where are you?” But sadly, Adam could no longer stand in God’s holy presence and enjoy a loving fellowship with God as before.
So Adam said, “Hearing your voice in the garden I was full of fear, because I was without clothing: and I kept myself from your eyes.” (Gen. 3:10 BBE).
The sin nature we all inherited from Adam through the natural birth is totally incompatible with God’s holy nature and incapable of standing in God’s holy presence without any guilt, fear, shame, or condemnation (Hab. 1:13).
Therefore, no man in the flesh, with a sin nature, can boldly stand in God’s awesome presence.
God said to Moses when he pleaded passionately with God to see His full glory, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” (Exo. 33:20 NKJV).
Although sin made us unfit to stand boldly in God’s presence and enjoy loving and intimate relationship with God without any sense of fear, guilt or condemnation, yet God would not give up on us, for He loved us greatly and delighted in having a loving and intimate relationship with us (Prov. 8:31).
Therefore, about 2000 years ago, God took the initiative to abolish once and for all the enmity, hostility, barrier, or separation that sin has created and established between the holy God and sinful men.
The price for our full reconciliation to God is too huge and infinitely beyond what we could pay. No good work, religious rites, or animal sacrifices can remove the sin-barrier between the holy God and sinful men.
The sacrificial system established under the Law was not intended to take away sins and thus remove the sin-barrier between God and men.
The Scripture testifies, “But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” (Heb. 10:3-4 NKJV).
Because of His infinite love for us, God took it upon Himself to pay the huge price for our reconciliation to Himself.
First, God had to empty Himself of His divine attributes and condescended to coming into the world in the likeness of our sinful flesh.
Paul writes, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.” (Rom. 8:3 NKJV).
Second, besides God emptying Himself of His glory as God and condescending Himself to come into the world in the likeness of men, God also surrendered Himself to be despised, reproached, persecuted, rejected, betrayed, beaten, and then crucified on the cross as a mere detestable criminal by sinful and fallen men He had come to redeem and reconcile to Himself.
What a loving and humble God!
Paul testifies that Christ “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philip. 2:7-8 NKJV).
What a sacrificial and selfless love!
This is why Peter admonishes us to follow Christ’s example or steps.
1 Peter 2:
21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed. (NKJV).
Before God paid the huge price for our redemption and reconciliation on the cross, He lived and walked among us for over thirty years (Matt. 1:23).
While the Lord Jesus Christ (God who manifested in the flesh) was on earth, He did not distance Himself from human experiences. He tasted and experienced hunger, tiredness, betrayal, abandonment, loneliness, injustice, sorrow and all human sufferings.
The Scripture said of Christ, “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
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” (Isa. 53:3 NKJV).
Beloved, don’t let the devil deceive you into thinking that God does not fully know, feel or understand what you are going through. God surely do! For He once lived in the flesh among wicked men in this fallen evil world.
Even when you have no words to express your pain, sorrow, or anguish; be assured that God knows and understands, for He had experienced it before.
The Scripture assures, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” (Heb. 2:18 NKJV).
No matter what you are going through this season remember that Christ is with you right in the midst of it. When you put your whole trust in Christ and fix your eyes on Him, He will give you all the aid, succor, relief, comfort, and strength you need.
What a joy, encouragement, comfort and strength you will experience in the midst of your suffering, trial, tribulation or persecution when you truly know and believe that God knows exactly what you are going through, having gone through similar experience Himself when He came down to dwell among us in the flesh as Christ Jesus.
God knows experientially what it means to suffer, to weep, to be in need, to be hungry, thirsty, sorrowful, maligned, reviled, insulted, betrayed, persecuted, rejected, and forsaken.
This is why the Lord Jesus Christ is called “Immanuel,” which is translated “God with us.” (Matt. 1:23). God has truly been with us in all our human weaknesses, temptations, sufferings, or experiences.
The Lord Jesus Christ knows all our human weaknesses, sufferings and experiences for He had once lived in our weak and mortal body and in our fallen and evil world.
The Scripture assures, “For we have not a high priest who is not able to be touched by the feelings of our feeble flesh; but we have one who has been tested in all points as we ourselves are tested, but without sin. Then let us come near to the seat of grace without fear, so that mercy may be given to us, and we may get grace for our help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:15-16 BBE).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You for condescending to come in the likeness of weak and sinful men into this fallen world, so that you could redeem and reconcile me to Yourself. My Dear Holy Spirit, remind me always of this infinite, sacrificial and selfless love that God has for me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.