The Mystery of Godliness

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Isa. 9:6, ESV). A theology of the incarnation (the divine taking on human flesh) can be gleaned from this prophecy. The birth of the Son of God speaks of deity taking on humanity. In simple terms, God became man in the birth of Jesus. Paul wrote, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16, NKJV).

How did this happen? It happened through the miracle of the virgin birth.

As a Catholic boy, I memorized and recited every word in the so-called Apostles’ Creed. “I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.” Indeed, Jesus was born of the virgin, Mary. Jesus was virgin-born. It means that He had a human mother but no human father.

The Bible says that we are all born into sin (Rom. 3). We are born with a sinful nature in us. But Jesus was not born with a sinful nature. The sinful nature of Adam was not passed on through Joseph, for Joseph was not his biological father. The sinful nature of Adam was not passed on through Mary, for she conceived in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thus, Jesus maintained His sinlessness, while putting on humanness. As a human being, Jesus was tempted like us. But as a divine person, He was without sin (Heb. 4:15).

Great is the mystery of godliness!

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