“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 …” 1 John 4:2 (NIV). “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.” 2 John 7 (NIV).
It is very normal in our times that even people who call themselves believers do not believe that Christ has come in the flesh, that is, that He had a human nature just like us. They say He had a nature like an angel, like Adam before the fall, a godly nature, etc. All of these theories say that Christ did not come in the flesh, that He did not have a human nature just like us.
“Since the children, as he calls them, are people of flesh and blood, Jesus himself became like them and shared their human nature. He did this so that through his death he might destroy the Devil, who has the power over death, and in this way set free those who were slaves all their lives because of their fear of death.” Hebrews 2:14-15 (GNB).
Not a different kind of nature
If Jesus had the same nature as Adam had before the fall, the devil could not have been destroyed by death, because before the fall Adam did not know what death or the devil were. Adam was not afraid of death, so he could not have been a slave of fear and in need to be set free.
Jesus did not have the nature of an angel. “For it is clear that it is not the angels that he helps. Instead, he helps the descendants [children and future generations] of Abraham. This means that he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, in order to be their faithful and merciful High Priest in his service to God, so that the people's sins would be forgiven. And now he can help those who are tempted, because he himself was tempted and suffered.” Hebrews 2:16-18 (GNB).
Before the fall, did Adam suffer when he was tempted? No, he just gave in to the temptation. A person who sins does not suffer when he is tempted; he chooses to sin rather than to suffer. Job 36:21. Christ suffered when He was tempted; He said no to the sinful desires in His own human nature. Each one is tempted by his own desires that drag him off and trap him. James 1:14.
Some people say that Jesus did not have a human nature with sinful desires that could drag Him off and trap Him. If He did not have sinful desires, then He did not have flesh and blood like ours. And if He did not have flesh and blood like ours, then He could not have been tempted like we are, nor can He be a High Priest for us with understanding and sympathy for us in our temptations.
Denying that Christ has come in the flesh is to make His work in vain
Jesus had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way. What are His brothers and sisters like? What kind of nature do they have? Do they have the nature of angels? Did the angels need to be set free because of their fear of death? No, but the children of Abraham and all the next generations needed to be set free.
Why then don’t people want to believe that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, that He had a nature just like us? There is only one reason: They don’t want to take up their cross and suffer like Him and take part in His death. (Philippians 3:10,18.)
This is exactly where the spirit of the Antichrist works. People do not believe that Jesus has come in the flesh, that He had a human nature just like us. As a result, they make all of His work to be in vain—His sufferings, His death and His ministry as high priest. This is the spirit that rules today in the churches and religious groups.
Why Jesus can free us from the power of death
“For what the law, weakened by the flesh, was powerless to do, this God has done: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for the sake of sin, he condemned sin in the flesh …” Romans 8:3 (NABRE).
God condemned sin in the flesh, He sentenced it to death. In whose flesh was sin condemned? Was it in people’s flesh? No, it was in Jesus’ flesh.
Jesus ruled over the sin in the flesh, the sin in His own nature, because He always gave up His own will to do God’s will. “Not My will, but Yours, be done.” In this way He destroyed that which made human nature powerless, the sin in the flesh, the thing that made it impossible to keep the law.
What is a person like according to his human nature? Does he rule over sin? No, sin rules over him. Who is the ruler: he who rules, or he who is ruled over? Of course, it is he who rules. Now Jesus has ruled over sin in the flesh, in the human nature, because God sent Him for the sake of sin. (Romans 8:3.) That is exactly why He can free us from the power of death and the devil, so that we, who walk in obedience to the Spirit, can keep God’s laws.
Jesus rules over sin in the human nature, over death and over all the power of the devil. This is the result of Jesus coming in the flesh. For us who believe, these mysteries of Christ are a rich source of comfort and it sets us free from everything of which we were previously slaves.