One of the most important parts of the story of Christ is the incarnation. God takes on flesh and moves into the neighborhood. Jesus invests himself in the story of the world in order to restore the world to the way it was. Hugh Halter writes in his new book Flesh, “The incarnation is a story of passion. God longed for everything to be back the way it was, and therefore He sent His Son Jesus to remedy the cycle of sin so that everything could be made new!” For most Christians, however, the importance of the incarnation ends with the ascension of Jesus. He was here in flesh, died, rose again, and then left. End of incarnation. Halter, however, writes Flesh to help us understand the lasting importance of Jesus’ incarnation into the world. The fact that Jesus came into the world and lived a human life has lasting significance not only terms of salvation, but also means a great deal for us still living a human life in this world. Not only does Jesus come to remedy the cycle of sin, but he comes to show us what it means to be human. Halter writes that Jesus did not only come to die, but he came to live. Many of us view, “Jesus through His death on the cross instead of His life in the neighborhood.”
The point of Flesh is that, like Jesus, we need to live incarnationally in the lives of the people around us. Jesus came and was present in people’s lives, and as his disciples we need to do the same thing. Frequently we stress being more like God, when in fact God made a point to be like us. We speak poorly of humanity even though God made us good in the first place and came to restore us to the way we were made. While we shouldn’t forget that Jesus is God, we need to remember his humanity. Halter writes, “He came to show you how to live fully human in the way that He did and in a way that you will truly love. But for you to get this, you have to let Jesus be truly human too.” Jesus sets the example of humanity and sends us to do the same.
There’s so much about this book that I love and so much that challenged me. I was challenged by the way that Jesus lived, the way he offers grace to everyone he meets, and how I fail to offer grace even though I am a beneficiary of that grace. Jesus had every right to come into the world and condemn it, but instead he comes and dwells with us and makes friends with the sinners and outcasts. I pray that I will begin to embody the grace that the gospel of Jesus Christ offers.
I hope that you read this book and are challenged as well. Whether you read this book or not, I challenge you to answer this question: How can you embody the grace the Jesus showed in the gospels?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from David C. Cook through netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”