The Sacrament of the Incarnation


Galatians 4:1-5


St. Ambrose was one of the early church fathers who lived and preached during the 4th cen.  In one of his works he said:  "we acknowledge the sacrament of the Incarnation."


In the truest sense of the word the incarnation is a sacrament in that the incarnation is the mystery of the divine incarnation.


These words have been used for centuries, but I wonder if we understanding their meaning?  Sacrament - incarnation


The sacrament describes that which is sacred - mystery.


So we have the sacred incarnation.  What is incarnation?


We sang a hymn this morning - Hark! The Herald angels sing - which says "veiled in flesh the God-head see;  Hail th'incarnate Deity"


When we use the word incarnate, what do we mean?


The incarnation of Christ refers to the humiliation of the 2nd person of the Trinity.    One theologian said the incarnation of Christ was the declension from the pristine glory that can only be explained by further isolated and temporary declensions.


The temporary humiliation of the Incarnation has for its result a higher glory than Christ possessed before He acquired the harmony of the two natures, that is the nature of God and the nature of man in one person forever. 


Our confession says that God and man "were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition or confusion.


I've already said enough to defend the sermon title - The Sacrament of the Incarnation - or to put it in simple 20th century English - the mystery of the Son of God taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul.


Every year about this time I find myself withdrawing from friends and family to have time to think.  We'd all do ourselves, our church and our society a favor if we'd take more time to think.  (refer to Watt's learning)


I'm challenged to think at every turn. 

1)     Stores filled with nativity settings

2)     Songs that refer to those metaphysical beings called angels

3)     Scenes that directly or indirectly refer to Jesus Christ

(i.e. the word Christmas is sufficient to remind me of Christ


It seems as if I can't get my mind off the proposition that God became man.


The Christmas season brings to my mind Bible verses that tax my rational capacity.


John 1:14 - And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the gory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.


1 Timothy 3:16 - God was manifested in the flesh


1 John 5:20 - We know the Son of God has come


Phil. 2:5ff - Let this mind be in your which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 


Galatians 4:4 - But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.


The very notion of singing  "Hail th'incarnate Deity" reminds me of my need to meditate on those verses that speak of God in the flesh.


It almost sounds contradictory.   One of the basic doctrines of Judaism and Christianity is the omnipresence of God.  How can God be in a body?


At the same time Scripture demands the perfect sacrifice to meet the demands of God's justice.


We must never forget that the 2nd person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ, took to himself a true body and a reasonable soul for our benefit.


God coming in the flesh was determined by considerations for our advantage.


And since the Incarnation is the greatest event of all times and all places, our knowledge and faith concerning the incarnation is essential to our very profession and life as Christians.


The word  of God informs us that God sent forth His Son in the fullness of time.  


We observe several things important to the knowing mind.

1)     Jesus came at the fullness of time.  The fullness of time means that God had filled time with the purpose of His divine will.   God promised a Savior to our first parents in the garden of Eden, and everything had been accomplished to bring that event into being.

2)     Our minds should be aware that God sent His Son.  This was not a sentimental gesture of God's concern for a mixed up world.  We must remember that there are three persons in the Trinity and all three participated in the incarnation.   For certain only the 2nd person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ took on flesh, but the Father had to send the Son for that purpose.  Also the 3rd person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, conceived the Son in the womb of the virgin. 

3)     Our minds should be apprised of the condition under which the Lord Jesus Christ came in the flesh.  Jesus was born under the Law, just like we were born under the law.  Literally we are said to be slaves of the law and Jesus came to set his people free from the bondage of Satan.


God became man with the purpose of delivering man from death.


I suppose you might say that the birth of Christ was the birth of our salvation.


It is rightly said that the only effective remedy after the Fall was the incarnation of Jesus Christ.


Your hope and my hope are what Christ has done on our behalf.


I hope you will spend some time meditating about the God/man who saved your soul.


Think of the profundity of your Savior having a divine nature and a human nature at the same time.


Just think, Christ humbled himself without decreasing his majesty.


Think of how our eternal God took a mortal body for your sake.


While you're thinking keep in mind that the mystery of the incarnation has nothing to do with magic.


God has given us an abundance of knowledge sufficient to believe that Jesus Christ is truly God.


The mysterious character of our Lord and savior should enhance our joy and gratitude as we worship in spirit and truth, in the church of the true and living God.


Blessed be the name of the Lord Jesus Christ who has abundantly revealed Himself to His people at Christmas and throughout the year.

Matthew 3:17, instead of the familiar words of the Voice from heaven, ‘Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee.’