Wednesday, December 02, 2015
Christmas Letter 2015
December 2, 2015
Dear Members and Friends of Second Reformed Church,
As we journey through the Advent season to Christmas, may we remember these words found in the letter of Philippians (2:5-11, ESV):
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,”
Paul commands us to have the same mind as Christ, we Christ gives us if we are in Him. If we are in Christ, if we have received the historical Gospel – the life and work of Jesus – then we have been given the mind of Christ – even as our sin nature continues to fight against what we already have in Christ.
Thus, so have this mind! Fight against the sin nature by the power of God the Holy Spirit – with us – as we join together as Christ’s body – hearing the Word of God read and preached the receiving the Sacraments. God gives us His Grace that we would be able to do all those things He commands us to do and empowers us to do. Sin is rebelling against what God has commanded and made us able to do and be – it is a tearing away from the Image we are being conformed to in Jesus Christ.
“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
Hear this Christmas history: God the Son Who was and is and is to come, God without end, chose in the Counsel of the Holy Trinity – the One God Almighty – to become for us and all we who believe in Him and what He has done – our salvation. And He did so, not by becoming any less than God – He is forever God if He is God! – but He “emptied” Himself in taking human flesh, becoming the Man, Christ Jesus, becoming a servant of God, while remaining God Himself – this is the mystery…
God, the Immortal, Almighty Spirit, took on human flesh and became a real human being, He entered the womb of the Virgin Mary, and God grew in her womb and was born – His creation giving birth to her Creator.
Have this mind – the willingness to be all that God has made us and called us to be to His Glory and for our joy – even if we should take on what we are to become what we must be to accomplish the purpose of God. Let us bow down! The dirt on His feet was too holy for them to desire to touch.
God has accomplished the incomprehensible for us and for our salvation to His Glory – and He says, “Be like Me. Have my Mind. Infinity put on finitude: I know what it is to need to be fed at the breast of my mother; I know what it is to live under My Father’s Law. It is finished.”
“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
To save us, the Mind of God said that God must be Man, for only a human can take the place of a human, and the only Man Who can accomplish this work is God become Man and still God. One Person, two natures, two wills, one obedience that led Him to keep all of the Law and receive for His Holy Obedience, the full Wrath of God no the cross for all of the sins of all we who will believe in Him savingly.
And so it is finished! God has saved His people, and we can respond in joyful, fruitful, hopeful living – Glory to God in the highest!
And so God physically raised Jesus, the God-Man from the dead and exalted Him – He was taken back into Heaven, and now a real human being sits on the throne of God for our sake and to the incomprehensible Glory of God.
Jesus is our Prophet – having carried out the work of salvation in history – the Gospel. He is our Priest – fulfilling all sacrifices through Himself – one shedding of blood over and throughout time and space. He is our King – Sovereign God over all of Creation.
A baby was born in Bethlehem – He is our God and Savior.
In His Service,
Rev. Dr. Peter A. Butler, Jr.