In the Flesh

Jerry Sittser

READ : 1 John 4:1-6

Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. (v. 2)

Gnostic religions were just emerging when John wrote his first letter. In essence, Gnosticism taught that the whole material world is evil, that only the spiritual is good. Trapped inside the prison of the body, the human soul could find release only by learning “secret” knowledge. Such knowledge would allow the soul to escape the body and return to its divine source in the heavens. Gnostics believed that Jesus was not truly human, and that Jesus did not have a real body. He only borrowed one long enough to impart his secret teaching to an elite circle of insiders; he then abandoned that body to return to his heavenly home.

John rejects this anti-Christian philosophy. Jesus became a real person because he wants to redeem everything. The creation is not a mistake; our bodies are not evil. The world is fallen; but it will not remain that way forever. Christ came to make all things well and whole again. Some day the entire created order will be repaired and renewed.

We were created through Christ. We are redeemed through Christ. Every part of us, including our bodies, belongs to him.


Thank you, God, that you created us and that you sent Jesus to save us—body, mind, and soul. We are yours, and we offer ourselves to you as living sacrifices. Amen.