“By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God …” 1 John 4:2. “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” 2 John 7.
Nowadays it is very common that even people who call themselves believers deny that Christ has come in the flesh. They say He had a flesh like an angel, like Adam before the fall, a divine flesh, etc. All of these theories deny that Christ has come in the flesh.
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:14-15.
Not a different kind of flesh
If Christ’s flesh was like that of Adam before the fall, the devil could not have been destroyed by death, because death and the devil were unknown to Adam. Adam did not fear death, so that fear could not have kept him in bondage and in need of liberation.
Christ did not take upon Himself the nature of an angel. “For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2:16-18.
Before the fall, did Adam suffer when he was tempted? No, he gave in to the temptation. A person who sins does not suffer when he is tempted; he chooses to sin rather than to suffer. (Job 36:21) Christ suffered when He was tempted; He resisted the lusts in His own flesh. Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lusts and enticed. (James 1:14)
Some people say that Christ did not have a flesh with lusts that could draw and entice Him. If He did not have lusts, then He did not have flesh and blood like ours. And if He did not have flesh and blood like ours, then He could not have been tempted like we are, nor can He be a High Priest for us with understanding and compassion for us in our temptations.
Denying that Christ came in the flesh is nullifying His work
Jesus had to be made like His brethren in all things. What are His brothers like? What kind of flesh do they have? Do they have the flesh of angels? Did the angels need to be liberated from bondage because of fear of death? No, but the seed of Abraham needed to be liberated.
Why, then, do people not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? There is only one reason: They are enemies of the cross of Christ and enemies of being made like Him in His flesh and in His death. (Philippians 3:10,18)
This is precisely where the spirit of antichrist works. People do not confess that Christ has come in the flesh. As a result, they nullify the entire work of Christ—His sufferings, His death and His high priestly ministry. This is the prevailing spirit today, even in the so-called independent assemblies.
Why Jesus can free us from the power of death
“What the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh …” Romans 8:3.
God condemned sin in the flesh. In whose flesh was sin condemned? Was it in Jones’ or Brown’s or Johnson’s flesh? No, it was in Christ’s flesh.
Christ reigned over sin in the flesh because He always subjected His will to God’s will. “Not My will, but Yours, be done.” Thus, He destroyed that which made the flesh powerless, the thing that made the law impossible.
What is a person like according to the flesh? Does he rule over sin? No, sin rules over him. Who is the ruler: he who rules, or he who is ruled over? Of course, it is he who rules. Now Christ has ruled over sin in the flesh, because God sent Him on account of sin. (Romans 8.3) That is precisely why He can free us from the power of death and the devil, so that the demands of the law can be fulfilled in us who walk according to the Spirit.
Christ rules over sin in the flesh, over death and over all the power of the devil. This is the fruit of Christ coming in the flesh. For us who believe, these mysteries of Christ are a rich source of comfort and liberation from everything by which we were formerly imprisoned.
This article is translated from Norwegian, and is an edited version of an article that was first published in BCC’s periodical “Skjulte Skatter” (“Hidden Treasures”) in May 1915
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