John 1:14 And the Logos became flesh and tabernacled among us
This verse speaks of event of the Incarnation. Yet, it also speaks of the continual indwelling of the Word within believers. This is bolstered by many references to keeping Jesus’ word(s). Keeping Jesus’ words is connected with the Father and Son making their dwelling place in the believer (John 14:23). A disciple, and thus one who is truly free, is one who continues in Jesus’ word (8:32). Jesus’ word(s) continues to come to believers through the Holy Spirit (14:26).
We must also consider the linguistic argument. More literally, 1:14 may be translated: “And the Logos became flesh and tabernacled in us.” In the Johannine writings, the preposition “in” with a first person pronoun often speaks of “union.” This reading of 1:14 in the sense of a Word-believer unity seems possible.
Thus, the Word not only was made flesh, but the Word continues to dwell in believers. In some sense, the Word is continually embodied in those who are children of God. Believers, continually living in the grace of God, become a living representative of the living Word that dwells within them.
@JohnDave: This is an interesting take on the matter. One theological question comes to mind: What makes the incarnation of the Logos in Christ distinct from the Logos’ continued “incarnation” in those who have the Father and Son in them by the Spirit?
@Brian: The incarnation of the Logos in Christ is the very person Himself incarnated into His own physical human body. The continued “incarnation” includes the Holy Spirit and so the aspect of the incarnation of the Logos is more spiritually oriented. It is still the Logos Himself who is incarnated in His people but it is an incarnation of a more spiritual nature compared to His own incarnation that was focused on His very own physical body. I’m having some difficulty conveying this distinction clearly, but I hope you can pick out the main idea of what I’m saying.
@JohnDave: It makes sense, though I wonder if using the word “incarnation” can be misleading. Maybe we should speak of the Logos being incarnate in Jesus and indwelling his people by the Spirit?
@Brian: That’s fair. I think “indwelling” works best. What do you think about the term “embodiment” (like in my last paragraph above)?
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