Book Review: The Incarnation of God

In The Incarnation of God, John Clark and Marcus Johnson urge Christians to re-focus on the extravagant majesty and mystery of Christ as the incarnate living Word of God. In just under 240 pages, the authors pack a combination of intriguing insights and pastoral reflections to illustrate how a robust understanding of Christ as the eternal God-man is essential to a proper understanding of all aspects of life. Clark and Johnson lament how modern evangelicals have relegated Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection to be merely past events that confer us the benefits of salvation. On the contrary, the authors explain that Christ’s incarnation is not simply a means to remove our sins and gain eternal life. The motivation in sending the Son comes from the eternal love that bonds the Father, Son, and Spirit. That is, Christ’s ministry on earth and in heaven is to bring His people into the loving relationship of the Trinity.  Throughout the book, the authors use Scripture, historical confessions, and faithful scholars as foundations to remind readers that Christ is the Way, Truth, and Life by which we have access to the Triune Godhead. In addition, the authors focus on unity with Christ by the Spirit as key to embracing the mystery of the incarnation. Clark and Johnson warn that separating Christ and His work is a danger to a vibrant spiritual life.  If we are to be Christ’s witness to the world, we need to be united to Christ instead of merely clinging on to the work of Christ. In each chapter, the material proceeds from theological exposition to practical outworking of how a faithful, orthodox understanding of Christ’s incarnation is vital to the Christian life.

I would heartily recommend this book for Christians who have lost their initial awe and wonder of the gospel message that they first experienced upon conversion. I find that I am very prone to simply proclaim Christ’s work without proclaiming Christ Himself. It is tempting to hide behind big words such as “justification” and “sanctification” without telling others by whom we contrive the benefits of being justified and sanctified. I appreciate how the authors remind us that Christ, as both God and man, is still continually reconciling us to God while bringing God’s presence to us through the Spirit. The incarnation is not merely a historical event but the ever-present reality that God has revealed and continues to reveal Himself to us through His Son by the Holy Spirit.

In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a free review copy of this book from Crossway.

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