Incarnating the Truth

The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only [Son],
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (NIV)

That Jesus Christ, the Son of God, should choose to live here on earth among us is absolutely mind shattering. When Jesus became flesh and blood, when He moved into our neighbourhood, He demonstrated how truth cannot and should not be confined by time and space. The incarnation of Christ made truth more than religion, more than doctrine, more than knowledge. Through the birth of Christ propositional truth walked. It became an action. The truth that was previously at a distance came close. The truth that was previously invisible became visible.

The implications of Christ’s incarnation are enormous. Dag Hammarskjold said, “The truth is so simple that it is regarded as pretentious banality.” Commercialisation, among many factors, has reduced Christmas to just another celebration. Remembering Christ’s birth has become commonplace even among His most ardent followers. But we should never lose sight of the mystery and majesty of the incarnation. We should never allow truth to lack force or originality. God stepped down to earth and clothed Himself in swaddling clothes, a simple act, yet deeply profound. Let’s never forget that the incarnation was a one of a kind event – the Son of God became the Son of Man.

Truth cannot and should not be fragmented. Truth, as embodied in the person and work of Jesus Christ, must be all encompassing. There can be no compromising of truth. It should be all or nothing. Followers of Christ must walk steadfastly in His truth. There can be no swerving to the left or right. Truth must have a single focus and purpose; to imitate Christ’s love and faithfulness. To add or subtract from Christ is to deny the truth. To create Christ in any image other than how He revealed Himself through the Word is apostasy.

“He was made what we are that He might make us what He is Himself” Irenaeus. If the focus and purpose of truth is to imitate Christ then truth is relational. Truth holds fact, faith and feelings in dynamic tension. Truth that embraces abstractions about God to the exclusion of experiences of God is baffling at best. If the incarnation is given nothing more than intellectual assent, truth becomes disembodied. The central commitment of truth must always be emotional and intellectual. Any religious tradition that emphasises sense over senses or senses over sense has failed to grasp what is truly meant by the Word becoming flesh. Truth in the mind must intersect with truth in the heart. Men and women of truth know it’s not enough to love with words or tongue, actions count. To incarnate the truth you do something . . . you love others as Christ loved you.

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