1 Timothy 3:16 God Was Manifest In The Flesh
Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Lexicon
Manifestation: (Or to make manifest) means to make known or to show forth
(Strong’s 5319- to render apparent). From G5318; to render apparent (literally or figuratively):
IN THE BIBLE: The word “manifest” is found used in various forms.
There is a big difference between being a manifestation of something (something that was made known) versus being an incarnation of something; something (i.e. an entity, a deity, a spirit, an angel, a god) that is able at will to change its normal physical state of existence and “appear as” something else (i.e. appearing as a human being, a burning bush, a donkey, etc.). (See: Incarnation vs. Omnipresence)
Note: A spirit taking on another form (as someone else or something else) is never going to ever literally be the actual object it is portraying (i.e., a Rock or a person) (See: What Is A Spirit?)
God is called God because he has inherent abilities that nothing or no one (humans) possesses. God appearing as a human (or dwelling within another human) is completely different than someone who is “totally human” (according to their definition and their attributes – See: Incarnation vs Indwelling). Humans can not “at will” change our normal physical state of existence and “appear as” something else other than what we are. The best we can do is pretend to be something else.
Although an incarnation is a type of manifestation, there is, however, a significant difference that exists between the two that must be understood. Many things can be considered the manifestation of something or someone. We are the manifestation of Christ, who was the manifestation of God. We who follow Christ are likewise the manifestation of God yet we are not the complete “physical substance” of God literally but rather God is made known (manifest) through us. We have plenty of examples showing the variety of ways the Bible uses this word manifest (Romans 1:19; 1 Corinthians 15:27; Galatians 5:19; 1 Peter 1:20-21; 1 John 3:9-10).
(2 Corinthians 4:10-14) “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest [but not in person literally] in our body. 11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest [but not in person literally] in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you. 13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that he [God] which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
However, if we say God actually incarnated himself and if it were true then by definition, God would not cease being God. The only change would be that of his appearance, God would have become material (visible). God became a visible God, a God that went around literally talking and walking with men in his fleshly state while he retained all of his other Godly attributes, he still had, “all knowledge” and “all power” and therefore by definition, he would not be “totally” human. The church is now forced to make the claim that God was either “playing a role” as Son or “acting as” a man (neither of which is what the Bible says) or we make Jesus a liar.
God Was Revealed
(1 Timothy 3:16) – And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest (God was revealed, Not Incarnated ) in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
God was manifest in the flesh, not incarnated in the flesh, in other words, God made himself evident (his will or Spirit) through the man Jesus Christ. Jesus became a conduit to God through obedience which allowed Jesus to work in direct alignment with God’s will, in his power, and with his authority. These were God-given attributes that Jesus received through obedience. God did not become Jesus rather he worked through Jesus (Acts 2:22); Jesus did not become God but allowed God’s Spirit to make God’s will, his word, and his plan, flow through his humanity (“the Father that dwelleth in me” – John 14:10) translating the will of God (a Spirit) into the acts/demonstration of Jesus (a man). Because of Jesus Christ’s obedience, God’s purpose was exemplified and demonstrated. God’s purpose was fulfilled, and man was redeemed.
God gave specific criteria for the sacrifice that would satisfy the redemption of man, the humanity of, not the deity of Jesus Christ, satisfied that criteria. If you dilute the humanity of Jesus Christ and the overcoming of his human nature by submitting his flesh to an Almighty God, his example of being a human man with the same challenges and temptations that we face, we lose the significance of the sacrifice. It becomes God circumventing the natural order he created and the criteria he ordained and applying a human tendency of the end justifies the means. If we take away the humanity of Christ, we dilute the sacrifice. Jesus becomes a Man/God that never overcame the same temptations we face as human beings because he would have had the advantage of being God and perfect without ever having had the free will choice to submit his flesh to the cross.
God did not choose to be sinless, he was never anything but sinless and cannot sin so that is not unusual, but for a man (Jesus) to choose to be sinless in obedience to his father, unlike Adam who did disobey, that is a phenomenal feat and is what gives a sinful mankind hope.
The Issue The Church Didn’t Explain To You:
Either Jesus COULD sin or Jesus COULD NOT sin; WHICH IS IT?
Note: (Having the “ability” to commit sin (or disobey God) is different than putting that ability you have into practice).
If Jesus was NOT capable of sinning he would indeed be totally GOD; or on the other hand
If Jesus was capable (had the ability) of committing sin he would be human (or not “totally” God), because all “real” humans are capable of committing a sin against (or disobeying) God.
It is this aspect of Jesus’ total obedience to God (John 8:29-30, Romans 5:19) that was remarkable. God’s plan, even before the foundation of the world, was for Jesus to be our savior and redeemer. (1 John 4:14-15; Galatians 4:4-8; 1 Peter 1:19-21)
If Jesus was “totally” God it would be impossible for God to sin because God has no one to whom he must obey, Jesus would have never “truly” overcome the world as our example of being sinless flesh BY SURRENDERED WILL TO ANOTHER.
God’s Spirit (divinity) indwelling the human body of Jesus (humanity) demonstrated two different types of spirits in one body. This is why Jesus said the words he spoke were not his, but that of his Father [God] (John 12:49-50; John 14:24)