THE MEANING of GOD WAS IN CHRIST
Having endeavored to consider the inspiring fact of the Incarnation, without attempting to fathom the infinite mystery, it is now competent to ask what the purpose of the Incarnation was. The question may immediately be answered in the brief statement of Paul, “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself." (2 Cor. 5:19) All the fullness of this declaration cannot be comprehended until the final movements in the mission of Jesus have been considered, those namely of His passion, and resurrection, and ascension. It is by these that God reconciles the world to Himself in Christ. The first fact however, rendering these possible of accomplishment, is that of the Incarnation, and in it there is the great first movement towards the reconciling of man to God.
By Incarnation God has revealed Himself anew to the intelligence of man, in such way as to appeal to his emotion, and call for the submission of his will. All this however could only be completed by the completion of the work of Incarnation, for it was only through the death of Jesus that the PERFECT REVELATION OF GOD came to the intelligence, as it was only through that death that a reconciliation could be accomplished, which should have as its foundation fact, the forgiveness of sin, and the communication of a new life principle. All this is most clearly contained within the word of the apostle, who in writing to the Colossians declares that they “being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works” were “now . . . reconciled in the body of His flesh through death.” (Col. 1:21-22) Thus the reconciling work is only completed through the death of Jesus, but that final work is made possible in the fact of “the body of His flesh." That is to say that INCARNATION PREPARES FOR ATONEMENT. The current article concerns that of the revelation God has given man of Himself in the Person of the Christ.
In previous articles it has been shown that man distanced from God by sin became ignorant of Him, and unlike Him. In spite of this fact, the capacity, and indeed the necessity for God remains, even though man has lost his knowledge of Him, his love for Him, and his likeness to Him. It has been seen, moreover, that the only conception of God that man has, is what he finds within himself, and in attempting to think of God, he has consciously or unconsciously always projected his own personality into immensity. This would have been a true thing for him to do, had man remained true to the Divine ideal, for he was created in the image of God. Seeing that the shadow had become blurred, and the image defaced, in the projection of himself man has emphasized the defects, and intensified the ruin. To correct that, God became incarnate, stooped to the level of man's power to comprehend Him, gave him a perfect Man in order that the lines projected from the perfect Personality into immensity might be true lines, and so reveal correctly the facts concerning Himself.
The current article is an attempt to examine that broad statement, first by noticing how the Incarnation has corrected false ideas; and secondly, by examining the Incarnation as the fulfillment of all that was highest in the thinking of the past, and the beginning of a new understanding.