You Christians believe that God has become man. But why would God come into this world in the likeness of men?
Why would God come in the world as a man?
What’s the point?
This is a very important issue. It is the heart of the Christian faith. Yes, God revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, but the reason for His coming as a man is much deeper than that. To learn more, we must return to the initial creation, to the beginning of all things. We need to understand what happened in the Garden of Eden.
How it all began?
All that God created in this world was good and perfect. There was enough to eat and drink for all living beings. It is in this blessed and pleasant setting that Adam and Eve, the first man and the first woman, lived. God told them that as long as they lived obediently, they would live forever but, in case of disobedience, they would surely die.
God wanted them to be his friends, to take care of the earth and all that it contains. God had given them a precious gift: free will. He did not create them as robots or machines that love him and obey him automatically. No, love is a free choice. This gift of free will is one of the main differences between men and animals. This means that men and women can voluntarily choose between true and false, good and evil. They can choose to love each other or not, to do what God wants or to do as they please, to live for God or to exist for themselves.
In the case of Adam and Eve, they deliberately chose to disobey God. They preferred to have pleasure their way, rather than to please and enjoy God, their Creator.
Why did they do it? What was wrong?
Evil has for its father the devil, who is also called the Evil One. Although we all believe in the existence of evil today, belief in the existence of the devil is clearly in decline. The devil is now a cartoon character and an object of fun, a harmless monster with horns and a forked tail!
The Bible exhorts us to take the devil seriously. Far from being a comic character on TV, the devil was a glorious angel in heaven. His name was Lucifer, who means “light bearer.” Later, he became proud and jealous to the point of wanting to be promoted to be equal to God. It was because of this that he was banished from God’s immediate presence and since then he has been doing everything he can to divert men and women from God.
It was the devil, commonly called Satan, (which means: Deceiver,) who tempted the first man and the first woman to do evil and led them to disobey God.
Sin and evil have therefore entered into our world and at the same time have spread to all humanity.
I(n the beginning
At the beginning, Adam and Eve walked in loving and close with God. Once they had rebelled against the restriction God placed on them, sin became a barrier between them and their Creator. A chasm now separated them from God. This is what we call “spiritual death”. It was because Adam was already spiritually dead, that he also died physically many years later.
As a result of what has happened in the Garden of Eden, we are all now separated from God. The Prophet David wrote, “Behold, I was born in iniquity, and my mother conceived me in sin” (Zabur, Psalm 51: 7). God is holy and we are sinners, so we are separated from him. “But it is your crimes that put a separation between you and your God; It is your sins that hide his face from you “(Isaiah 59: 2).
When people prefer to listen to the devil’s lies, they will only follow their evil and self-centred path. This explains all the crimes, evil and suffering that are spreading in this world. That is why so much evil, so many broken relationships, so much selfishness and greed exists. By nature, we are all self-centred rather than God centred. “There is no distinction. For all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God “(The Injil, Romans 3:23). We are all affected by this disease, which does not affect us alone, but affects all those with whom we come into contact: our children. The Bible calls this spiritual disease: sin. That’s what’s wrong with this world, and it concerns you, as well as me.
So, by nature we are separated from God. Every one of us is a sinner in his heart. Even if it sometimes happens that someone has a form of external goodness or religion, he does not escape the sins he commits with impure motives, words or thoughts.
What is the solution?
Is there a way out? Many are trying to fill this void (between God and them) by their own efforts. Some think that they can approach God by being good or religious. They hope that their good works will counterbalance their sins and give them access to paradise. But this is futile, for no one is perfect. It is not even that their efforts have “almost but not yet” reached God, no! The reality is that they have failed miserably with regard to His demands. We will never reach its standards by our own efforts. No matter how righteous we seek to appear, we are condemned by the Word of God which says in the Injil: “Whoever keeps all law, but sins against one commandment, become guilty of all” (James 2:10). Our sins will never be forgiven if we rely on our own righteousness. The gulf that separates us from God is too deep and unbridgeable.
The question remains: What is the solution? One day, in the quiet of one afternoon, I sat down when my attention was drawn to a horde of ants climbing up and down a wall. They tried to carry a grain of wheat to the top of the wall, but without success. The grain of wheat was too heavy for them and the pressure of gravity too great. I felt sorry for them and wondered, how could I lend a hand to these poor ants? If I stretched out my hand to seize the seed, it may be that I crush some of them or that terrified by my embarrassing presence, they would simply try to save themselves from me. I then told myself that the best way to help them would be to become an ant like them, while keeping my physical strength as a man. In this way I could help them without frightening them.
We are kind of like those ants. We can never reach God through our own efforts or our good works. The weight of our sins is too great, stronger than our efforts. Sin weighs heavily on our shoulders. God, however, had pity on us, he came as a man, like us in every way except He didn’t have a sinful nature and He never sinned. He came in order to free us from the tyranny of sin. He came as a man, but lived without sin. That is what makes us different from Him. We are all sinners. He alone is sinless.
Who else could restore the broken relationship between God and Mankind?
Who is able to restore broken communion between God and man? Truly, the only one who can fill this void is none other than the One who is both God and man, namely Jesus Christ.
My sins are not that bad!
Some may think their own sins are too bad, certainly not as bad as others. Let me tell you what happened to one of my friends named Oliver, who lives in France. He told me how he ended up in jail for the simple fact that he had not paid a parking ticket from the parking lot where he left his car. I asked him the following question: “Why did not you take the ticket and pay for it?” “But it was just a parking ticket It didn’t seem so important,” he told me. Then he explained to me how the police knocked on his door at 4 pm and took him in a van, headed for the court. Once before the judge, Oliver said to him: “Your honour, I have a thousand francs to pay the price of the ticket and pay the fees of my defense.” To his surprise, he was told by the judge:” Mr. Argaud, you can keep your money. I’m sending you to prison! “Oliver could not believe it!
His big mistake was to have trivialized his mistake thinking that it was a “simple ticket”. How wrong he was! If he had thought of the power of the judges (who could decide to send him to prison), he would have put things right before he was taken to the court.
Most of us know that we have broken the law of God: the Ten Commandments. Yet we say to ourselves: it is not so serious. Let me ask you a few questions: Have you ever lied? “Yes, but they were just little lies, excuses, exaggerations, nothing gross or odious “would you tell me. Have you ever stolen anything? And you answer: “Yes, just a few little items”. Do you realize what you are saying and doing? You are trivializing your crimes and following the example of Oliver, You are deceiving yourself by false reasoning. By the way, it’s as if you say you do not have any “sin” at all. The Bible declares: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” The truth is this: if you lied, you are a liar and if you have stolen something (no matter the nature and value of the stolen object), you are a thief. In this case, you need to hear what the judge tells you: “… all liars, shall have their share shall the lake burning with fire” (Revelation 21: 8). All liars will go to hell and no thief will enter heaven (1 Corinthians 6: 9). Remember this now. Jesus said, “But I tell you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in her heart” (Matthew 5:28). Have you ever looked in this way, at a man or woman and seen them only as an object for sexual fantasy? If so, according to God, You have committed adultery. Have you ever used the name of God to curse or express disdain? If you did, then you took the Holy Name of God in vain. This is called “blasphemy” and is reprehensible in the eyes of God. If you have been honest enough with yourself to admit that you have violated these holy commandments of God, admit at the same time that you are a thief, a liar, a blasphemer, and an adulterer in your heart. And if God did you justice on the Day of Judgment, you will be judged guilty and thrown into hell. Think about it for a while! If you die instantly, it’s hell… and forever. What then?
How can I put it right?
How can we set things right between us and the Law of God. Maybe religion will help? Absolutely not! There are millions of people in this world who have not yet grasped the magnitude and seriousness of sin. They are in the dark about the Sovereign Judge. They do not imagine for a moment that they will end up in hell for sins that they think are nothing and insignificant. Perhaps they realise they will have to face God after death, but they say that their good religious works (as in the case of Oliver and his 1000 francs) will open the way for them whatever the difficulty in the face. And as long as they continue to minimize the weight of their sin, they deceive themselves thinking they will get away with it cheaply because of their religious observances. Such a position is as futile as that of a man who was rowing against a current in a raging river. His boat was caught in a very powerful stream of water which carried him at full speed towards a waterfall scattered with rocks sticking out 45 metres below. From a distance, a passer-by saw him in his desperate struggle and vain efforts. Minute after minute, he approached the furious falls which would plunge him into death. The passerby ran to his vehicle, grabbed a rope and threw it at him. When he got hold of it, he cried out, “Grab the rope, I will draw you to the shore.” But, the man who came to his aid could not believe his eyes. The man in danger in the waters ignored the rope and persisted in continuing his fight against the current until he disappeared over the edge and fell to his death.
God has thrown a rope to us
You see, God in person has thrown us a life-saver in Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can deliver us from death and hell. But in order for it to be so, we must give up our own efforts and grasp the hand that is held out to us. Once we abandon our religious “struggle” and put our faith in Jesus, we have peace with God. The Bible declares: “For by grace you are saved by faith. And this does not come from you, it is the gift of God. It is not by works, so that no man may boast. ” (Ephesians 2: 8-9).
How can we be saved?
Let me give you another illustration. It indicates why religion cannot save anyone. Suppose that one day you decide to go to the pool and you jump into the water. There you find yourself in trouble, and about to drown you. You are dying and can not do anything to save you because you can not swim.
Desperate and helpless in the face of the situation, you shout desperately for help. Someone hears you and gives you some advice: “Keep on trying to get out.Come on, buddy, you can do it!” This is weird. Who would do that to someone who is drowning?
A second person arrives on the scene and plunges into the waters. They swim in your direction and says, “Look! Do what I’m doing. You’ll soon learn to keep your head above water.Copy my example and you’ll soon get out.” It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? This is not the time to take swimming lessons. The reality is that a man on the verge of drowning is absolutely incapable of learning anything.
Then a third person comes . This one plunges in, tells you to stop struggling and trying to save yourself. It seems counter-intuitive. But, once you stop flapping around they get hold of you and uses their life saving skills to bring you safely from the water. You might fight against the idea, but the lifeguard is moved by loving concern and determination to save you.
Which of these three has earned his gratitude? The third, certainly. Religion is represented by the first two people. By nature, we are drowning in our sins. We are in trouble because of our separation from God. Religion tells us: “Save yourself. Do this and that and you will get saved. Do not do this and that and you will be saved.”
Some religious gurus are taken as an example, and to be saved, their followers are asked to imitate their lifestyle. It’s like the second person who dived in the water, but was only showing how to swim. Religion, therefore, can not save us. We are desperate. The Bible says that we can not save ourselves.
We need a saviour, not a teacher or another prophet
We need someone to dive into the deep waters of our lives, to seize us in order to save us from our sins. We do not need a teacher, a prophet, we need a Saviour. This is exactly what God has provided. God says, “I know your situation, I know that you are separated from me. I know that you are headed for disaster. I know that you can not get out of the problem. I also know that to give you rules, laws and commandments can not save you, for you can not and will not obey it. You are incapable of accomplishing them. But now I come to you to extract you from the power of sin.”
In this way, God came into this world in the person of Jesus Christ. “Christ also once suffered for sins, just for the unjust, to bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18). When Jesus died on the cross, he died as a perfect substitute for us. He has taken upon Himself the punishment which our sins deserve. He bridged the gap that separated us from God. It is not at all wise to reject God’s plan of salvation.
What do you think of the man who drowned and refused to be helped? The person who accepts to be saved by Christ, that is, by believing in his death and resurrection, receives the forgiveness of his sins and God gives him a place in paradise. God forgives , once and for all, the charges against him.
I am too bad for God to be interested in me!
Have you ever thought that you are just too bad for God to care? By observing the stars and considering how great and vast this universe is, we can not help but see, even in a small way, how great God is. We may wonder, “Is it possible that God who created these millions of stars and who keeps them all in places can notice someone as insignificant as me, care about me and listen to my prayers? Surely, we might think, God is too great to take an interest in the individual life of me with all these millions of men and women on earth?”
Let us consider for a moment how Jesus took people into account and cared for them. Was He too high and mighty to be interested in the joys and griefs of ordinary men and women, and young people? Not at all! On the contrary, we see a Jesus who loves and has sympathy for the people he meets. He wanted to give health, happiness and salvation to them.
Thousands of people came to him in search of relief: rich and poor, young and old, men and women, our countrymen and foreigners. He did not drive anyone away. He made the promise that he would not refuse anyone who comes to him (John 6:37). Jesus, is called the friend of sinners! We have all offended God. God could have destroyed sinners like us. We deserve that. But once we get come to Christ, who is the perfect image of God, we will be so surprised to find that he doesn’t hate or despise us. Instead of condemning or avoiding sinners, Jesus often went to their, ate with them and was kind to them. It was also because of this attitude that he was severely criticized by the religious leaders of his time. They called Him the friend of sinners as an insult, as if He was contaminated and wrong to be with them. True, He never got involved with their sinful attitudes, pleasures and actions, but He met with them to talk with them and to seek to bless them.
Jesus: the friend of sinners – and their doctor!
Jesus replied to the insults by saying that it was the sinners who were sick, and that He was their doctor. Just as a doctor does not seek to kill his sick man, but to care for him, so God does not want the sinner to perish, but to be saved. He came to seek and save that which was wandering and dying because of sin. Does Jesus have time for a sinner like me? If you still doubt God’s interest in your person, let me tell you about some of the first people Jesus appeared after his resurrection from the dead.
Has Jesus any interest in you?
The first person Jesus appeared after his resurrection from the dead was “a less than nothing.” Her name is Mary Magdalene. She had been possessed by demons. It goes without saying that in this condition, she lived the worst of lives.
She was a Nobody, but Jesus accepted her? Why? Because Jesus has time for people like her.
Later that day, Jesus appeared to a Loser, a fisherman. It was one of his disciples who has denied him three times in one night, despite having sworn before heaven and earth not to do so.
Jesus, however, pardoned this young man saddened by his denial. Jesus Christ gives time to the losers.
The same day, he appeared to two distressed people, probably a husband and wife. They walked, confused about the events that had taken place in recent days. How could they loved so much be crucified? They had heard a few snippets of information that He had risen from the dead, which confused them even more.
As they walked and talked, Jesus came and walked with them. Why? Jesus gives time to those who are confused.
There is also the account of the 10 disciples who because of the fear that they had Jews were in a house. The doors and windows were closed and bolted. Jesus did not need to open the door. He simply stood in the middle of them in spite of the closed door.
Why did he come to them? Because He gives time to the fearful.
Then there is the one who did not want to believe that Jesus had really risen from the dead. His attitude was ‘seeing is believing.’ But Jesus appeared and said, ‘No! Believing is seeing!’ What was Jesus’ reaction to him? Did He say: “I’m finished with you”? Not at all!
Instead Jesus came to meet him because Jesus gives time to the skeptics.
Then we have the case of a cynic. A man who lived in the same family home as Jesus in Nazareth. In fact, it is his half-brother: James, the younger brother of Jesus. During all those years, he did not believe a word of what Jesus was telling him. His only comment on what was happening was that Jesus was out His mind.
Nevertheless, Jesus also appeared to him at his resurrection and brought him to the faith, because Jesus granted time to the cynics.
There was also a man who had not met Jesus before that time. This happened later. He fiercely opposed Christianity to the point of being ready to exterminate Christians wherever he could find them. You know what the attitude of Jesus was to his enemies? While this man was on a special mission to Damascus in order to kill as many Christians as possible, Jesus came to meet him in the midst of his shameful mission and said to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” In this way this man became a believer, an apostle, and a preacher of the message he had previously sought to destroy.
He was brought to faith because Jesus granted time even to his enemies.