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2 Corinthians
5:16-21

 
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 
(ESV)
No Incarnation Code
Pentecost Monday
16 May 2016
As amazing as it may seem to us, one of the first heresies to which the early church responded in the first and second centuries of our era was the heresy that Christ only appeared to be human, but wasn't really God in the flesh. The arrival of a divine being under the guise of a human (or animal) appearance is a common scene of the mythology of the classical period, both Roman and Greek. But the ancient world had no framework in which to place the mind-boggling contention of the early Christians that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us," as expressed by St. John the Apostle (Jn 1:14). The ancient heretics attempted to interpret the coming of the Son of God in terms reminiscent of Zeus, in which he takes the form of a swan to beget children, Castor and Pollux, and then returns to the heights of Olympus without sharing in our humanity.
 
The New Testament is decisively clear that Christ the Messiah does not come as a mere appearance of a man, nor as a divine ghost, but as the Son of God who bears human flesh of the Virgin Mary. Many modern New Testament scholars actually interpret the New Testament as though it is simply a Christian rewriting of the myths of the ancient classical period, as though all religions are basically the same and based in elaborate mythologies. However, the New Testament is a decisive protest against this very interpretation of itself, for its teaching stands and falls on the basic fact of Christ's enfleshment of Mary. He is not a mere appearance of a man who is God, He is the God-Man. The framework in which the DaVinci Code is written basically accepts ancient Greek mythology rather than the Christian revelation that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. Therefore, it is a competing and false religion.
 
This teaching that God was in Christ is not just wrangling over meaningless philosophical categories or uselessly deep theology. This doctrine of the incarnation is at the center of the Christian religion because it is about the forgiveness of sins. St. Athanasius was right when he said, "What Christ did not assume, He did not redeem." Christ takes our flesh to bear our sin and to die a real, human death like ours on the cross of Calvary. A God who only appears to be human, only appears to give salvation. So this battle over ancient heresies which was renewed because of the DaVinci lunacy is at the very center of what it means to have a God who was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself not counting our sins against us (2Co 5:21). There is no "incarnation code" in the New Testament; only the Word made flesh for us sinners.

 

Martin Luther

"St. John says of Christ: 'He became flesh' (Jn 1:14). He does so to point out its weakness and its mortality. For Christ took on the human nature, which was mortal and subject to the terrible wrath and judgment of God because of the sins of the human race. And this anger was felt by the weak and mortal flesh of Christ.
 
"With that word 'flesh' the Evangelist wanted to indicate this inexpressible humiliation. Isaiah says: 'when his soul (that is, His life) makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days' (Is 53:10). And St. Paul writes to the Galatians:  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Gal 3:13).
 
"But we are not to assume that the Evangelist used the word 'flesh' lightly. Human reason cannot comprehend the magnitude of God's anger over sin. Therefore it does not fathom Paul's full meaning when he says that God had made Christ a sin and curse for our sakes (2Co 5:21; Gal 3:13). But our dear Lord was fully aware of this; He felt and endured the great and terrible wrath of God so that 'His sweat became like great drops of blood' and an angel from heaven appeared to strengthen Him (Lk 22:43-44)."

Martin Luther, 
Sermons on the Gospel of St. John, 1.14
 
Prayer
O God, our heavenly Father, You have given us Your own Son born in human flesh, that bearing our flesh He might also bear our sins. Grant that we might faithfully confess and tenaciously hold on to the true faith that Christ, the God-Man, has become sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Amen.
 
For Mary Lewis, that the Lord Jesus Christ would strengthen her and build her up in body and soul
 
For all those who are writing exams as the school year comes to a close, that they might use the gifts that God has given them to their fullest ability
 
For those who are caught in the web of lies that Satan has spun through the entertainment industrial complex, that they might see the light of the world in Christ and share with us the true faith
Art: DYCK, Anthony van  Pentecost (1618-1620)

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