Years ago, I read a small book by Rubel Shelly and Randy Harris entitled “The Second Incarnation of Christ.” It opened my eyes to new ways of understanding the nature of the church.
First, a little refresher. The incarnation of Christ simply means “God became flesh” or “God in the flesh.” In other words, when Jesus arrived in Bethlehem, that was no ordinary baby in the manger – it was God himself. Jesus was the living, breathing manifestation of God.
When we talk about the church being the second incarnation of Christ, we mean that the church is the body of Christ. We are the physical manifestation of Jesus to the world. We become his hands and feet. Unlike the first incarnation, however, the second incarnation is far from perfect.
I wonder how our attitude towards “the church” would change if we saw it as the second incarnation of Christ. Would we be so quick to belittle other churches? Or, would we see them as parts of the body of Christ that are doing their best to incarnate His message in their community?
How would our strategies change if we understood our church to be the second incarnation of Christ? Would we be so programmatically driven?
Something to think about.