The doctrine of incarnation is an essential bedrock of Christian spirituality. It states that in the historic person of Jesus of Nazareth, there was a true union of the divine and the human (John 1:14). The implication of belief, in the words of Irenaeus (c 130-200) is that: ‘‘The Word of God did become what we are, that He might bring us to be what He is Himself.’’ And so, the true knowledge of God, who became like us, is not reserved for some special group of initiates.
It also implies that our material existence is not a result of sin, nor are we trapped in the material body. Salvation, therefore, is not an escape of the spirit from the material body. Our human body itself is destined for redemption.
The incarnation of God in Jesus Christ also reveals that the nature of God can be shared and communicated.
The end and purpose of human life is our participation in the life of God. Our relationship with God is not that of slaves to a distant, cold dictatorial tyrant, but one of love and intimacy.
The nature and goal of human life is to affirm that God in Christ, truly assumed human bodily nature, thus raising humanity into divine life. The incarnation preserved a positive understanding of the world and of material, bodily existence.
Our human destiny to share in God’s life is not the result of human will power or our good works, but is the work of God’s grace and the work of the Spirit of God in our life.
It’s because “God is love” (1 John 4:8) that He incarnated in the person of Jesus Christ. What should our response be to God’s love? As John states, if any one says, “‘I love God,’“ yet hates his brother, he is a liar” (vv. 19). A fitting response then is to love one another!