Incarnational Ministry

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Thanks, Phil, for passing on those comments about the incarnation and impassibility, and Derek for those excellent quotes.  Too often, impassibility is taken to mean that God feels nothing -- those quotes were quite the antidote.

In support of Phil's comments, it strikes me that when the writer of Hebrews speaks of God "feeling our pain" it is in light of the incarnation and not in terms of his eternal divine state: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15).

However, even when we categorize divine acts in terms of either revelation or redemption, we should always remember that redemption reveals.  In that regard, we would not want to suggest that the coming of Jesus Christ tells us nothing we didn't already know about God.  Or, to put it differently, it magnifies things we might already have known about God.  We already knew that God loved the world, but now we know that God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. Especially, while the cross does not reveal new categories of knowledge about God, what it reveals is singular and irreplaceable.

Lastly, this discussion reminds me why I am always troubled when people talk about performing "incarnational ministry."  They mean that Christians actually get out among the people and do good -- amen to that.  But the incarnation is something more -- a true union of God and man -- and we would do our Lord more honor, in my view, by ascribing incarnation only to Him.
Posted October 18, 2006 @ 12:46 PM by Rick Phillips

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