Posted by: chuckbumgardner | December 22, 2008

Calvin on the incarnation

We see, at the same time, what sort of beginning the life of the Son of God had, and in what cradle he was placed. Such was his condition at his birth, because he had taken upon him our flesh for this purpose, that he might “empty himself” (Phil 2:7) on our account. When he was thrown into a stable, and placed in a manger, and a lodging refused him among men, it was that heaven might be opened to us, not as a temporary lodging, but as our eternal country and inheritance, and that angels might receive us into their abode.

John Calvin on Luke 2:7.

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Responses

  1. Thank you for your quotes.

    Thomas Watson has some good thoughts on the incarnation:

    As Christ being clothed with our flesh makes the human nature appear lovely to God, so he makes the divine nature appear lovely to man. The pure Godhead is terrible to behold, we could not see it and live; but Christ clothing himself with our flesh, makes the divine nature more amiable and delightful to us. We need not be afraid to look upon God through Christ’s human nature. It was a custom of old among shepherds to clothe themselves with sheepskins, to be more pleasing to the sheep; so Christ clothed himself with our flesh, that the divine nature may be more pleasing to us. The human nature is a glass, through which we may see the love and wisdom and glory of God clearly represented to us. Through the lantern of Christ’s humanity we may behold the light of the Deity. Christ being incarnate makes the sight of the Deity not formidable, but delightful to us. [Thomas Watson, Body of Divinity, 194.]

    Among the several wonders of the loadstone it is not the least, that it will not draw gold or pearl, but despising these, it draws the iron to it, one of the most inferior metals: thus Christ leaves angels, those noble spirits, the gold and the pearl, and comes to poor sinful man, and draws him into his embraces. [Thomas Watson, Body of Divinity, 196.]

    Why he came. That he might take our flesh, and redeem us; that he might instate us into a kingdom. He was poor, that he might make us rich (2 Cor. 8:9). He was born of a virgin, that we might be born of God. He took our flesh, that he might give us his Spirit. He lay in the manger that we might lie in paradise. He came down from heaven, that he might bring us to heaven. And what was all this but love? If our hearts be not rocks, this love of Christ should affect us. Behold love that passeth knowledge! Eph. 3:19. [Thomas Watson, Body of Divinity, 196.]

    Behold here a sacred riddle or paradox–‘God manifest in the flesh.’ That man should be made in God’s image was a wonder, but that God should be made in man’s image is a greater wonder. That the Ancient of Days should be born, that he who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle; Qui tonitruat in caelis, clamat in cunabulis; qui regit sidera, sugit ubera; that he who rules the stars should suck the breast; that a virgin should conceive; that Christ should be made of a woman, and of that woman which himself made; that the branch should bear the vine; that the mother should be younger than the child she bare, and the child in the womb bigger than the mother; that the human nature should not be God, yet one with God; this was not only mirum but miraculum. Christ taking flesh is a mystery we shall never fully understand till we come to heaven, when our light shall be clear, as well as our love perfect. [Thomas Watson, Body of Divinity, 198.]

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