“Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:34-35)
At the very beginning of the Christmas story the critical presence of the Holy Spirit is established. By Him, was the child conceived within the virgin Mary. He was not born of the seed of a man, but of the Spirit of God.
Even at the beginning of Genesis, when God promised that Christ would come, He spoke of “the seed” of the woman (Genesis 3:15). It was not the seed of a man that would be the source of the Son of God made flesh; it would be the Holy Spirit using the woman’s body to bring forth the Holy One of God.
In this way, Christ would not have the sinful nature of Adam handed down through the seed of Adam. Which all other men, born of the union between a man and a woman, possess. This would be a unique man — the Son of Man. The same One who, along with the Spirit of God, created all things that are made.
Touched by All That We Experience
A critical component of the Incarnation is that Christ would, by necessity, face all the temptations and inner struggles of life that you and I face. All the terrible emotions or motions of sin that rage against every man that has ever walked upon this earth.
The difference is that the Lord never gave in to them. Like all of the rest of us have.
So, the question follows, “How He was able to resist those sins?”
This is truly a mystery. It is what the Bible calls, “the mystery of godliness”. (I Timothy 3:16)
There is an answer to be found here of how the Lord did this. An answer that offers hope to all who receive it.
Many religions teach that the Lord Jesus resisted all these temptations and lived a perfectly sinless life by His own will power. Or that by His own holiness and purity He resisted and overcame all the temptations of the flesh.
As if He possessed a special power of His own that enabled Him to do this. Something that He retained in His identity as fully God and fully man.
As if He had a leg up or handi-cap that man does not have. Or a special will-power that was enabled Him to overcome all that He faced.
But this is not the case.
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
Consider the implications of the following verse.
“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:13-14)
Now what is this? What does this mean?
It means that the Lord offered Himself without spot to God, at the Cross, by the ministry and power of the Holy Spirit. It was also the Spirit within Him that enabled Him, while made in the likeness of sinful flesh, to live an earthly life that was holy and without blemish.
Which is in harmony with the teaching from Philippians that “he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:7-8).
To me, this says something about the Lord setting aside a power that He had as God — as the Son of Man. He made Himself totally dependent on the Father in order to live a perfect life by the Holy Spirit.
To live the life He needed to live in order to qualify as the perfect offering for our sins.
This was not simply the Lord showing man that God could live a perfect life. It wasn’t simply God demonstrating to man, in yet another way, that man was just a stinking sinner. Sort of a doubling-down on man’s wickedness.
If that is what the Lord did, it would have simply served to crush us.
It would have simply added another condemnation of us by combining the written Law with the inner convicting of our conscience with the demonstration of how God was able to do the things that He had commanded man to do.
As if, to throw our miserable sinfulness in our face. Which is what so many people mistakenly believe God’s purpose and nature is
So then, what is the reason for the Lord’s dependence on the Spirit? Was not Christ good enough, in Himself, to live the life He needed to live down here? Why was the ministry of the Spirit of God even necessary for Christ to offer Himself on the Cross?
The answer will amaze you.
Tune in next time to unwrap this wonderful Pre-Christmas present the Lord has left for us behind the tree!
To Be Continued . . .