Its time for preachers to consider their Christmas sermons. This implies its additionally a time to overlook a golden alternative. The golden alternative is to evangelise a wealthy theology of incarnation at Christmas. But, 12 months in and 12 months out, the possibility is missed.
Its unimaginable to say it, however explorations of the incarnation will be uncommon in our church buildings, even at Christmas. And when preachers do handle the subject, it could boil right down to the Abrupt, the Apologetic, or the Anselmian.
The Abrupt: God in pores and skin! I do know its bizarre, so lets briefly acknowledge the weirdness after which transfer on swiftly.
The Apologetic: Jesus reveals up in time and house, which implies we are able to confirm the gospel by way of historic strategies, and the New Testomony paperwork are very dependable.
The Anselmian: Because the outdated theologian, Anselm, reasoned: solely Godcanpay for sin and solely manshouldpay. So the God-man seems to reply a logical conundrum.
There may be a lot reality to those observations, however they arent the incarnations heartbeat. And sadly, some will actively dissuade preachers from going too close to that beating coronary heart.
Preach Three As
I wish to hear three totally different A’s this Christmas. I’d love for preachers to deliver out Athanasian, Atoning, and Abasing themes.
1. The Athanasian Incarnation
As Athanasius, the fourth-century theologian, proclaimed: Christ grew to become what we’re, that we would turn into what he’s. That is the marvelous alternate. He enters our life that we would enter his. Behold God the Son, who has turn into our Brother!
2. The Atoning Incarnation
“The One in Marys womb is to be called Savior. Here is God with us, come to make atonement. How does he do it? He becomes “at one” with us, taking all that’s ours. And he does this in an effort to take to himself even that dreaded enemy of sin on the cross. He’ll cease at nothing to be with us. Behold Immanuel!
3. The Abasing Incarnation
Look right down to the manger. He who was wealthy for our sakes grew to become poor (2 Cor. 8:9). Being in very nature God . . . he made himself nothing (Phil. 2:56). The Phrase grew to become flesh (John 1:14). See how low he stooped! Behold the glory of the little LORD Jesus!
Dont Shy Away
That is wealthy fare. Is it too wealthy for us? Typically I believe it’s.
We shrink back from theAthanasianincarnation as a result of we don’t wish to get into (or we don’t correctly perceive) the Trinitarian theology that is sensible of it. The God we preach isnt explicitly the Father of the Spirit-filled Son. Due to this fact we wrestle to talk of the Son changing into our Brother to make us Gods youngsters. We could prize the authorized framing of Anselm, however we are able to get caught within the courtroom. Athanasius would lead us to the household house. And the language of Son, Brother, and youngsters calls us house to that adopting love.
We shrink back from theatoningincarnation as a result of our theology of atonement is, rightly, about imputation. But we are able to think about, falsely, that imputation means at a distance. It doesnt. Christ iscountedas one in every of us as a result of hegrew to becomeone in every of usin each method but with out sin. We’re counted as one with Christ as a result of he united his deity to our humanityreally!
The mere reality of incarnation doesn’t make atonement occur. Easter continues to be essential. However Gods functions don’t start and finish with justification. God wishesglorificationa world laid maintain of, redeemed, and raised up into resurrection pleasure. Due to this fact the incarnationas nicely because the resurrectionis important. Christmas needs to be the time we level with keen entreaty: Look! God has proven as much as put issues proper. In changing into man, the Lord of all has taken the wheel of this world, switched on the GPS, and pressed Dwelling!
Christmas needs to be the time we level with keen entreaty: Look! God has proven as much as put issues proper. In changing into man, the Lord of all has taken the wheel of this world, switched on the GPS, and pressed Dwelling!
We shrink back from theabasingincarnation as a result of we default to a theology of glory. Martin Luther used that phrase within the Heidelberg Disputation as a derogatory time period. Its the alternative of a theology of the cross. A theology of glory is a few ladder to heaven, ascending to God by human power. A theology of the cross is about Gods descent to us in our utter helplessness.
With this in thoughts, Christmas really turns into a stark take a look at for the type of theologian we will likely be. Will we give attention to the stooping love of the incarnate God, or will weadmonish folks to not dwell an excessive amount of on the mangerafter all he didnt keep a child, he grew up. But, with Philippians 2 in thoughts, we would nicely say He didnt a lot develop up from the manger. Truly he stooped additional all the best way to the cross.
Luther understood the marvel of the abasing atonement. At Christmas 1527, he preached like this:
Cause and can would ascend and search above, however in the event you would have pleasure, bend your self right down to this place. There you can find that boy given for you who’s your Creator mendacity in a manger. I’ll stick with that boy as he sucks, is washed, and dies. . . . There is no such thing as a pleasure however on this boy. Take him away and also you face the Majesty which terrifies. . . . I do know of no God however this one within the manger.
Carl Jung as soon as associated a dialog between two rabbis. The primary requested why God now not appeared to indicate up: “The God of Sinai might once have thundered, but how can he be found today?” The second answered: There’s now not anybody who can bow low sufficient.
The rabbi (and Jung!) spoke higher than they knew. Christmas tells us that there’s One who has bowed low enoughall the best way to our gutter. For we who know ourselves to be misplaced in failure and frailty, we dont merely look as much as the Majesty who terrifies. In immeasurable grace, our eyes are additionally turned downward to Immanuelthe God of the gutter. There, within the feeding trough, is the God for us.