The truth of the incarnation sets Christianity apart from all other religions of the world (including Judaism and Islam). It is unique to Christianity to discover a God who takes the initiative in becoming flesh in order to redeem sinful human beings. As C. S. Lewis aptly put it, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.”1
The good news we offer is that we have more than Santa Claus, presents & lights.
What’s so important about Christmas?
To answer this question, we turn to several texts in 1 John where the author uses the words “appeared” or “manifested” to address the reasons for the incarnation.
1. Jesus came to take away sins.
And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. (1 John 3:5)
Sin is our biggest problem. Jesus came to solve that problem. The forgiveness of sin requires a sacrifice of blood (Heb. 9:22). Blood comes only from real flesh and blood creatures. If Jesus were only divine, or like an angel, He would not be flesh and blood. Only because He took on human flesh could He be the sacrifice to atone for our sins. Had Jesus not taken on human flesh, our sins would not be forgiven. Because Jesus did take on human flesh, lived a sinless life (Heb. 4:15) and offered His sinless life on the cross of Calvary, He provides forgiveness, atonement, salvation and eternal life for us (Rom. 5:1-21).
2. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.
…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)
Satan is our worst enemy. He deceives us into sin and wants to destroy us. Jesus’ arrival on planet Earth was a declaration of war on Satan. Satan thought the cross was the end of Jesus; instead, it was the downfall of Satan’s plan. “Destroy” does not mean ‘annihilate.’ It means ‘to render inoperative, to rob of power.’ Satan’s power has been reduced and his weapons have been impaired. He is still a mighty foe, but he is no match for the power of God. Satan is a defeated enemy. He may still win a few battles here and there, but he has already lost the war! Sentence has been pronounced on him, but it will be a while before the punishment is meted out.
3. Jesus came to show the love of God.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
God’s love is our best gift. Christ’s coming to earth was an expression of God’s love. How do we know God loves sinners? He sent His Son. God reached out to us by sending the Son He loves, and the Son died for our sins and rose to give us an eternal relationship with God. These verses provide 3 evidences that God truly loves us: 1- God initiated the relationship (He sent His Son). 2- God gave His best (His only begotten Son). 3- God met our deepest needs (sin & God’s wrath).
Praise God for sending His Son to be with us so that we could be with Him forever.