The Incarnation

Pastor Tom Ascol continues his series on the Advent with a message on Galatians 4:4-5 entitled “The Incarnation.” In the text we are told “God sent forth his Son.” Often, however, the centrality of God in the Christmas story is forgotten as we concentrate on the baby, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men, angels, and so forth. Yet God is the One behind the whole event. Perhaps we would be wise to ask about the what, when, how, and why of God’s involvement in the Incarnation.

The birth of Jesus Christ was the birth of God’s own Son. The language indicates Christ’s pre-existence: “God sent forth His Son.” Jesus’ arrival on Earth was not the beginning of His existence. John 1:1 and 8:56-58 both remind the reader Jesus always was. Being the “only begotten” rather than indicating a starting point differentiates Jesus from others identified as son’s of God such as Adam, Israel and believers. Nonetheless, Jesus’ birth was the beginning of a divine mission. Jesus’ birth had been prophesied (for example, Isa 7:14, 9:6; Micah 5:2) and was significant before it occurred and before Christ had finished His work. This is in contrast to the birthdays of the famous which become significant only after their accomplishments are recognized. The birth of this baby, Jesus Christ, was the inauguration of God’s eternal plan of salvation.

The answer to the question “When” is not so much chronological (roughly 2000 years ago) as it is theological. The “fullness of time” speaks to God having worked through the ages. Christ came at the opportune time in history providentially created by the Father. The world was prepared politically by the establishment of Roman law, transportation and civilization. It was prepared culturally by Greek language and philosophy. Finally, the dispersion of the Jews had prepared the world religiously. The world was ready; “fullness of time” had come.

God performed the Incarnation in a manner answering the question “How” miraculously. “Born of a woman” affirms Jesus’ humanity which coupled with Jesus’ deity as expressed by being the Son shows the fullness of Christ, the one and only god-man, fully God and fully man. God entered completely into the human condition. Jesus was born under the Law and all the moral obligations that had. Jesus alone was to fulfill the Law’s obligations in perfect obedience to God’ will. This enabled Him to answer the final question: “Why did Jesus come?”

God sent His Son to redeem sinners. Only a sinless one, perfectly obedient was worthy to provide a way of salvation. Short of impossible perfection, men are in a hopeless state with no chance of earning favor with a perfect God. Yet Jesus’ substitutionary death did just that. He provided a way to a relationship with a loving God. He offers opportunity for sinners to become sons.

Pastor concluded by asking everyone if they had received the adoption as sons offered by God. He invited anyone to respond to God’s offer quoting John 1:12, “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God.” That offer stands today. Oh, do not hesitate to call upon God for salvation.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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