The Incarnate Word Part II

by Mike Ratliff

And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:30-32 ESV)

Spiritual blindness is the result of darkness of the heart not being subject to the light of life that comes from the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Those in this darkness are ruled by their unbelief. They may consider themselves to actually be quite knowledgeable about Christianity or “Jesus” or religion, but they do not possess saving faith because they are unregenerate. They are still of the “opinion” that the sound doctrine of the atonement for the sins of those whom God saves is just another incomprehensible religious thing that elevates a “mythical God, and a mythical Jesus” way out of proportion to the actual mission of Jesus, et cetera. Men such as Bart Ehrman who wrote Misquoting Jesus would be one of these. Of course, his thesis has been soundly rejected by all sound Bible scholars, that is, those who are diligent in the soundness of their approach to interpreting Scripture. On the other hand, there are some whose unbelief has only been made darker and deeper by their acceptance of Ehrman’s fallacy and others like his. 

I heard from that emergent person again whose handle is “enlightened.” I did not post his or her comment. Instead, I waited to share it with anyone until I talked with my daughter today after she called to wish me a happy birthday. I read her the whole comment including the person’s “handle.” She is a lot like me, but is a bit more merciful. Her response to things is very quick and precise as the Spirit uses that catalog of Bible knowledge He has built up in her to address both those things of the light and those things of the darkness. I read the following comment to her just to verify if the impetus from God about this sort of thing that I was receiving was the same as it was with her. I did not tell her my anything about my own response to this before I shared it with her. Her response to the comment(s) was exactly like mine. Here is the text from “enlightened” who attempted to comment on my post The Incarnate Word.

“your interpretation of the word is mired with your own creative injection where the specific passage did not address …specifically. the bible, incidentally,did not refer to that WORD as the written word. for the word to become flesh, it can also mean “fleshing out” a command or an idea.

the other point you should reflect practically or ensure your interpretation is  rationally grounded so it can be tested or proven/substantiated is to think of yourself working in a millitary organization.

whose word is god to you if you are a private may provide the a necessary clue to your understanding perhaps?

lastly, you did not address the issue of being human and or humanity as “filthy” that needs redemption.

what is wrong with being…human?”

The first error this person makes is in the first paragraph where he has obviously been listening to someone like Bart Ehrman whose biblical exegetical skills are quite questionable. This is in reference to John 1:14, which I did not exegete in last night’s article, but I will in this one. Here is v14:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 ESV)

14και ο λογος σαρξ εγενετο και εσκηνωσεν εν ημιν και εθεασαμεθα την δοξαν αυτου δοξαν ως μονογενους παρα πατρος πληρης χαριτος και αληθειας (John 1:14 WHNU)

The reference is to the first four words in this verse. The ESV renders them as, “And the Word became flesh.” The word-for-word interpretation of the Greek words here would be, “And the Word flesh was made.” This is an incredibly profound statement so it should not surprise us that the enemies of the truth would attack it. The word translated as flesh here is σαρξ while the verb in this statement is εγενετο, which refers to the process of becoming or forming something. However, εγενετο is in aorist tense and middle voice, which refers to punctiliar, non-continuous action by the subject as acting upon himself or concerning himself. Therefore, taking what we learned in last night’s post about the Word, ο λογος, being God and becoming one of us, but full of grace and truth, we see that the direct, literal interpretation of the text in context with the rest of John 1 is the correct rendering. Think about “enlightened’s” insistance that this is referring to the ‘fleshing out of an idea,’ et cetera. That would not even fit the context of the passage let alone the rest of John 1. Also, the word John used here that is translated as flesh is not a verb. Instead, σαρξ in this usage is a predicate nominative and adjective, which are those parts of a sentence that makes an assertion about the subject. It is also anarthrous, which refers to a word or group of words which appear without a definite article. In Greek, there is no indefinite article, such as “a” or “an,” but there are definite articles that are translated that way into English. When the anarthrous form is used it is most often intended to point out the quality of something. Lastly, σαρξ is a noun. With these three grammatical “categories” in play for this word we should really take a close look at it. What is σαρξ?

It is pronounced, “Sarx.” At the risk of getting overly technical here I would still like to simply give you the definition from one of my Greek Lexicons for σαρξ.

Σαρξ – Sarx; flesh, whether of men, beasts, fish, or birds (1 Cor 15:39); the human body (Acts 2:26, 31; 2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 2:15; 5:29; Col. 2:5). The expression in Jude 1:7, “going after strange flesh,” denotes unnatural sexual abominations (Rom. 1:27); man (Matt. 24:22;Luke 3:6; Acts 2:17; Rom. 3:20; 1 Cor 1:29; Gal. 2:20; 1 Pet. 1:24). In John 1:14 when it speaks of the Word becoming flesh, it means He became man (or took human nature upon Himself) and became subject to suffering and mortality (1 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 4:2,3). Also, the infirmity of human nature (Heb. 5:7); the corrupt nature of man subject to the filthy appetites and passions (John 3:6; Rom. 7:18; 8:6; Gal 5:13, 16, 17, 19, 24; 6:8); naturel relation or descent (Rom 1:3;9:3, 5; 11:14); fleshly and temporal advantages (2 Cor. 11:18); refers to the outward and carnal ordinances of the Mosaic Law (Gal. 3:3); the expression “flesh and blood” means either such inform bodies as we now have (1 Cor. 15:50) in regard to our present weak and corruptible state (Matt 16:17; Gal. 1:16; Eph. 6:12), or the corruptibility of our present body which will be replace with incorruptibility (1 Cor. 15:50). From The Complete Word Study New Testament”Lexical Aids to the New Testament” by Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D.

From this definition we see that sense in which our Lord Jesus Christ became flesh and the sense in which He didn’t. He took human nature upon Himself, however, according to John 1:14, He was full of grace and truth and, therefore, sinless. In contrast to that, the rest of this definition lays it out there very clearly that when we use σαρξ to refer to ourselves it is very different. We are born dead in trespesses and sins because we are in the σαρξ. The following passage describes this very clearly.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV)

Then in Romans 3:9-20 we have fouteen indictments against all people and this is why they must have a Saviour to be their kinsmen redeemer.

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.”, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:9-20 ESV)

There is not one person who has ever lived except Jesus Christ who can escape these indictments. In John 3 our Lord tells it like it is.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18 ESV)

Now, what is wrong with simply being human? Here it is. All outside of Christ are condemned already according to those indictments we looked at earlier. Who is not? Only those who believe in Jesus are not condemned. This belief is the receiving of Him as Lord and Saviour recognizing that we are not capable in and of ourselves of being righteous enough to escape the charges against us. Those who believe in Jesus and are saved are changed forever according to God’s plans, according to His will, according to His mercy, by His grace through the faith He gives to those whom He saves.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)

Now, as for me submitting my teachings from the Bible to the emergent conversation for their approval before I teach them to anyone, I have this to say. God gifted me as a Bible teacher. That is what I do. He has allowed me to be trained in several disciplines that help me do this, but it is through the leading of the Spirit that these lessons or devotions or teachings or whatever they are are developed. Those who are blessed by them are so by the Spirit taking the Word of God and applying it to their hearts. My job is to simply teach the truth according to the will of God. I am His δοῦλος (bond slave). He is my κύριος (Lord). You can continue to question and attack the clear truth from God’s Word all you want, but it changes nothing “enlightened.” You should consider changing your handle for you are not in the φῶς of our κύριος but the enemy τετυφλωκεν you so that you are in σκοτία.

Soli Deo Gloria!

6 thoughts on “The Incarnate Word Part II

  1. If the Word of God had not been made flesh, to live, die and rise again we would have no hope. We would all face the eternal wrath and damnation of God. No propitiation, no salvation.

    How then do they aspire to stand before Him? Do they think God would be impressed with their intellectual prowess? Nonsense and deception.

    Happy birthday, Mike. May the Lord bless you with continued good health so that He may minister through you to those of us who have been purchased by the blood of the Lamb and filled with the Holy Spirit.


  2. Thank you for this in depth teaching and for all the deeper meanings of the words. I am so blessed by all you write for us.
    Happy belated birthday!


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