“We have, in these verses, the story of a birth—the birth of the incarnate Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Every birth of a living child is a marvelous event. It brings into the world a soul that will never die. But never since the world began was a birth so marvelous as the birth of Christ. In itself it was a miracle: ‘God was manifested in the flesh.” (2 Tim. iii:16.) The blessings it brought into the world were unspeakable—it opened to man the door of everlasting life.” (J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Vol. 2, p. 49).
“The infinite became the finite, the eternal and supratemporal entered time and became subject to its conditions, the immutable became the mutable, the invisible became the visible, the Creator became the created, the sustainer of all became dependent, the Almighty infirm. All is summed up in the proposition, God became man.” (“The Person of Christ,” Collected Writings of John Murray, Vol. 2, p.132).
The 101 Bible Study looks at Luke 2:1–20 in the light of Isaiah 9:1–7.
“[H]istory has awaited the arrival of this Son, because no prior son had put or had even been able to put an end to the law’s condemning curse. . . . This Son-sending, as the New Testament underscores, happens according to divine orchestration: God appointed the right timing of his birth, life, death resurrection, and exaltation (cf. Rom. 5:6).” (David B. Gardner, Sons in the Son: The Riches and Reach of Adoption in Christ, pages 91−92.).
“[W]e are not looking for a teacher and example. We are looking for a Saviour. And a purely human, a merely natural, as distinguished from a supernatural, Christ can never be our Savior. . . . We have such a Saviour presented to us in the Gospels, a Saviour who is not merely man but God. The really difficult thing is to believe that such a Saviour really entered into this world. It is a very blessed thing, but it is certainly not a trivial thing. It is not one of those trivial things that are so easy to believe because they occur every day. It is certainly not a thing that can be believed without a mighty revolution in all a man’s thinking and all a man’s life.” (J. Gresham Machen, The Christian Faith in the Modern World, p. 190).
“Any one who reads the New Testament with the humility of believing devotion and therefore with the reverence begotten of faith must be overcome again and again with the mystery that surrounds the person and work of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As understanding expands and as reverent inquiry seeks to push further and deeper there grows upon the believer the marvel of the Saviour’s person and work.” (“The Redeemer of God’s Elect,” Collected Writings of John Murray, Vol. 1, p. 30).
Quotes used in the Reflection on Galatians 4:4-5 for Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC
“As Christ reveals the Father in virtue of a most direct and an uninterrupted vision of Him, and not in result of isolated communications, so Moses, though to a lower degree, stands nearer to God, and is more in all that he speaks and does the mouthpiece of God than any subsequent prophet.” (Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology, p. 120).
“Yahweh’s self-proclamation sets out in brilliant focus the the character of the covenant-making and -keeping God. As in covenant making, the suzerain would, as a rule, introduce himself. Yahweh does this in a beautiful, unforgettable manner as he begins to reconfirm his covenant with the people who had been involved in idolatrous worship.” (Gerard Van Groningen, From Creation to Consummation, p. 372).
Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.
“In coming to the world He came forth in such a sense from the Father that He did not leave the Father behind; and . . . on leaving the world, He goes to the Father in such a sense that He does not actually forsake the world. For He came forth from the Father because He is of the Father; and He came into the world, in showing to the world His bodily form, which He had received of the Virgin. He left the world by a bodily withdrawal, He proceeded to the Father by His ascension as man, but He forsook not the world in the ruling activity of His presence.”
(St. Augustine, Homilies on the Gospel of John at John 16:28)
This evening’s Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church focuses on the last part of John 16. The prepositions used in John 16:28 are important!
The hymn, “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” includes the line, “lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb.” J. Gresham Machen comments on the incarnation:
“The eternal Son of God, He through whom the universe was made, did not despise the virgin’s womb! What a wonder is there! It is not strange that it has always given offence to the natural man. But in that wonder we find God’s redeeming love, and in that babe who lay in Mary’s womb we find our Saviour who thus became man to die for our sins and bring us into peace with God.” (The Virgin Birth of Christ, p. 394).
Calvin explains these simple but profound words from the angel to Joseph: “Call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
“Christ saves, he delivers us from sins. This deliverance consists of two parts. Having made a complete atonement, he brings us a free pardon, which delivers us from condemnation to death, and reconciles us to God. Again, by the sanctifying influences of his Spirit, he frees us from the tyranny of Satan, that we may live ‘unto righteousness,’ (2 Peter 2:24).” (John Calvin, Commentary on the Gospels at Matthew 1:21).
The 101 Bible Study meets Friday, December 16, at 6:30 p.m., in a home in the Astoria area. We will look at what God revealed to Joseph in a dream.
At first glance this may not seem to be relevant to the theme of the incarnation–but on reflection, it has everything to do with why God became man in Jesus Christ. I am listening to a lecture by Dr. Richard Gaffin (Doctrine of Salvation, # 24, which you can find here): “The downside of sin is not only its consequences, but sin itself is an act of deprivation. For me to sin is to deprive myself of the enjoyment of God.”