What exactly is meant by Christ coming in the flesh in 1 John 4:2 and 2 John 1:7?

The concept of Christ coming in the flesh is one of the most important and central beliefs of Christianity. It is mentioned in several places in the Bible, including 1 John 4:2 and 2 John 1:7. In these passages, the phrase "Christ coming in the flesh" refers to the belief that Jesus Christ was a real human being who lived on earth and died for our sins. In this blog post, we will explore the meaning of Christ coming in the flesh and its significance for Christians.

Firstly, it is important to understand the historical context in which these passages were written. During the early years of Christianity, there were many false teachers who denied that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh. These individuals believed that Jesus was a spiritual being who only appeared to be human. This belief, known as Gnosticism, was a major threat to the early Christian church.

In response to this, the apostle John wrote his letters to encourage and strengthen the faith of believers. In 1 John 4:2, he writes, "This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God." Similarly, in 2 John 1:7, he warns against false teachers who deny the humanity of Jesus: "I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist."

The phrase "Christ coming in the flesh" is a powerful declaration of the Christian belief that Jesus was fully human and fully divine. Jesus was not just a spiritual being who appeared to be human, but a real flesh-and-blood person who experienced all the joys and sorrows of human life. This belief is known as the incarnation, and it is one of the foundational doctrines of Christianity.

The significance of Christ coming in the flesh is multifaceted. Firstly, it shows us that God understands and empathizes with the human experience. Jesus experienced hunger, thirst, pain, and sorrow, just like we do. He was tempted in every way, yet he did not sin (Hebrews 4:15). This means that Jesus can relate to our struggles and is able to help us when we are in need.

Secondly, the incarnation shows us the incredible love and grace of God. Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins and to reconcile us to God. He willingly took on human form and endured the cross so that we could be forgiven and have eternal life. As John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Finally, the concept of Christ coming in the flesh reminds us of our own humanity and the importance of treating others with love and respect. If God could humble himself and take on human form, then we should also be willing to serve and love others, even if it means sacrificing our own comfort and desires.

Subscribe to Bible Analysis

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson