Christmas – Celebrating the Incarnation

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins

Ephesians 2:1

jesus-baptism

Jesus Christ, the Incarnation – all God and all man – submits to be Baptized.

There we are, “dead in our sins.”  God could have left us there, receiving our just punishment.  But, He, out of a love and mercy beyond our ability to comprehend, rather:

Who, being in very nature God,

did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing

by taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,

he humbled himself

by becoming obedient to death—

even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:6-8

But even this beloved passage from Philippians doesn’t cover the entire depth of God’s humbling of Himself by the Incarnation to save us.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus

1 Timothy 2:5

It is not without cause, therefore, that Paul, when he would set forth Christ as the Mediator, distinctly declares him to be man. There is, says he, “one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Tim. 2: 5). He might have called him God, or at least, omitting to call him God he might also have omitted to call him man; but because the Spirit, speaking by his mouth, knew our infirmity, he opportunely provides for it by the most appropriate remedy, setting the Son of God familiarly before us as one of ourselves. That no one, therefore, may feel perplexed where to seek the Mediator, or by what means to reach him, the Spirit, by calling him man, reminds us that he is near, nay, contiguous to us, inasmuch as he is our flesh. And, indeed, he intimates the same thing in another place, where he explains at greater length that he is not a high priest who “cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin,” (Heb. 4: 15).

John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion II.12.1

How to conceive of such a marvelous act of grace?

We see that our salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ (Acts 4: 12). We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else. If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is “of Him” (1 Cor. 1:30). …. If we seek strength it lies in His dominion; if purity, in His conception; if gentleness, it appears in His birth. For by His birth He was made like us in all respects (Heb. 2:17) that He might learn to feel our pain (cf. Heb. 5:2) … in short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in Him, let us drink our fill from this fountain, and from no other.

John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion II.16.19

Rejoice and be glad, for God is with us!

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