Perusal* – Winter 2012, Reflections on the Incarnation…

(* perusal; to examine or consider with attention and in detail)

2 Corinthians 8: 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

It is Christmas again…a most wonderful time of the year!  Flat Creek completed our 6th annual “Living Nativity” this past weekend, Dec. 8-9.  Our Lord blessed with beautiful weather and two nights of almost bumper to bumper traffic.  Our count indicated 130 cars, more than 350 people, and the Gideon’s delivered more than 200 New Testaments.  Many thanks to everyone that worked to make the weekend possible, especially our Baptist Young Women.  Flat Creek’s Living Nativity is the brainchild of one young lady in particular, Afton Fisher and each year Afton adds new twists to make the Nativity accurately represent the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We have posted photos on the social scourge of the day – excuse me, the social craze of the day; Facebook @!/FCBVA/photos

Christmas is a time when people should reflect and be thankful for the great mystery of God with us, the Incarnation of the Son of God.  Jesus the Christ was supernaturally conceived of God’s Spirit to become a man, to walk among men, to teach men about true worship of His Father, to die as a man, rising to conquer death.  Consistent with the Trinity’s eschatology each seemingly minor prophecy was brought to pass beginning with the visit of Gabriel to Mary and ending on a mountain outside of Jerusalem as disciples watched Him ascend to the Father he loved so very much.  Jesus Christ, a man full of grace and truth, humbled Himself and became obedient to the death of crucifixion.

Our country has heard much this year in the name of fairness. The wealthy should be more patriotic with their financial blessings and pay additional taxes.  It seems in America today patriotism is compelled.  I’m not sure of the reasoning but do know human nature.  The rich because of sin attempt to squelch the poor and the poor envy the rich because of sin, all the while attempting to confiscate their wealth.  What is needed is grace and humility.  What is needed is Immanuel.

Grace defines our God!  My wife was talking with a dear lady this year about the lady’s trials and depression.  Robby mentioned that God’s grace is sufficient for us, especially our salvation.  The lady countered that grace was not enough, there is something needed from us.  If so, what might that be?

The nature of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is that it is unearned.  Not only is it unearned, it is undeserved.  And it is extravagant.  What may I bring to my Lord that improves on His grace?  Could I possibly impress upon Him my sincerity, when much of the time I am not sincere? Could it be my obedience all the while knowing that my sin nature tempts me to rebellion and I easily fall into sin?  Could it be my goodness or my justice?  No, I am like rich and poor, a sinner in dire straits and in need of a Savior’s grace.

The extravagant nature of the grace of our Lord Jesus is because of God’s abundance.  God’s wealth is undefined.  Paul attempts to define the undefinable by declaring that Christ condescended into poverty for our sakes.  There are stories of wealthy people losing all in the stock market or some other nefarious misadventure.  But none compares with the reversal of fortune God the Son chose.  He was not compelled or forced or threatened.  The only completely free Person in the Universe decided to humble Himself into poverty, and bear my sin’s curse, satisfying the righteous demands of His Father and bringing me into their family!  What wealth is this!

Our Lord told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “…My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”   Grace defines the character of God and is altogether sufficient for our most pressing need - the forgiveness of our sins.  Remember, we were sinners before we ever sinned.  God’s sufficient grace would not be possible without the Incarnation of God the Son.  We would be lost in sins forever.  This Christmas, thank Him for the sufficiency and efficiency of His grace incarnate in Christ Jesus that saves a wretched man in poverty to spiritual riches in the His heaven.

Merry Christmas and my prayer is that 2013 will be the best year for growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ to God’s glory.

Sola Deo Gloria!  Pastor Carey