Showing the state of our nation in the light of God’s Holy Word

CHRIST’S INCARNATION

From Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758)

Christ became incarnate or, which is the same thing, became man to put Himself in a capacity for working out our redemption. For though Christ as God was infinitely sufficient for the work, yet to His being in an immediate capacity for it, it was needful that He should not only be God, but man. If Christ had remained only in the divine nature, He would not have been in a capacity to have obtained our salvation; not from any imperfection of the divine nature, but by reason of its absolute and infinite perfection: for Christ, merely as God, was not capable either of that obedience or suffering that was needful.

The divine nature is not capable of suffering; for it is infinitely above all suffering. Neither is it capable of obedience to that law which was given to man. It is as impossible that One, who is only God, should obey the law that was given to man, as it is that He should suffer man’s punishment.

And it was necessary not only that Christ should take upon him a created nature, but that He should take upon Him our nature. It would not have sufficed for Christ to have become an angel, and to have obeyed and suffered in the angelic nature. But it was necessary that He should become a man, upon three accounts:

1. It was needful in order to answer the law, that the very nature to which the law was given, should obey it. Man’s law could not be answered but by being obeyed by man. God insisted upon it that the law, which He had given to man, should be honoured and fulfilled by the nature of man, otherwise the law could not be answered for men. The words, “Thou shalt not eat thereof,” etc., were spoken to the race of mankind, to the human nature; and therefore the human nature must fulfil them.

2. It was needful to answer the law that the nature that sinned should die. These words, “Thou shalt surely die,” respect the human nature. The same nature to which the command was given was that to which the threatening was directed.

3. God saw meet that the same world, which was the stage of man’s fall and ruin, should also be the stage of his redemption. We read often of His coming into the world to save sinners, and of God’s sending Him into the world for this purpose. It was needful that He should come into this sinful, miserable, undone world in order to restore and save it. For man’s recovery, it was needful that He should come down to man, to man’s proper habitation, and that He should tabernacle with us: “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”