(Kersten, Heidelberg Catechism, Vol.1. part 15)

The Incarnation of the Word

Lord's Day 14

Song of Zacharias st. 1
Read Isaiah 11
Psalter No. 241 st. 3, 4, 5
Psalter No. 261 st. 2
Psalter No. 166 st. 1, 2, 3


    The prophecies concerning the coming of Christ and His work of
redemption are many. To testify of these things God has sometimes
even used people who had no part in that redemption, yea were
enemies of it. Not only did the prophets called by God speak with
much joy and with exercises of faith by divine revelation of the
coming, the suffering, the death and the victory of the Mediator,
but besides them both Balaam and Caiaphas spoke of Him. They were
both instruments in God's hand.
    Balsam, the soothsayer, is the one bribed by Balak the king of
Moab, who in spite of God's warning went up to curse Israel. Even
when His ass testified against him and an angel with a drawn sword
put a stop to his going, Balaam continued, greedy for the honour and
presents offered him by Balak. Three times Balaam blessed the people
that had come from Egypt, and in that blessing he prophesied of the
coming of Christ saying, "There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and
a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of
Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth." Notwithstanding this
clear announcement of Zion's eternal King, Balaam taught Balak to
cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel by having a
lascivious feast for Baalpeor before their eyes. The people ate of
the sacrifices of the Moabites and bowed to their idols, so that the
wrath of the Lord was kindled against Israel. The Lord commanded the
heads of the people to be hanged, and Phinehas thrust his javelin
through a man of Israel and a Midianitish woman in a tent. "So the
plague was stayed from the children of Israel." How terrible the
abominable counsel of Balaam was in which he showed his hatred
against God and His people, is evident from the rebuke given to the
Church of Pergamos which was in many respects very faithful, "But I
have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that
hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling
block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto
idols, and to commit fornication." There is no doubt as to the
enmity of Balaam, and yet he prophesied about Christ.
    It was no different with Caiaphas who condemned the Lord Jesus
to death as a blasphemer, and had before that said in the Jewish
council, "Ye consider not that it is expedient for us that one man
should die for the people, and the whole nation perish not." Indeed,
Christ has died in the place of His people, so that people might be
saved. Hence these were remarkable words of Caiaphas, words that had
a significance which this enemy of the Nazarene did not understand.
However, "this spake he not of himself; but being high priest that
year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation, and not
for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one
the children of God that were scattered abroad." (John 11:50-52)
    Thus even enemies had to testify of the coming and the glory of
the promised Messiah to their own eternal condemnation. How much
more glorious then was the prophecy of them who were given the faith
to expect Jesus, as Isaiah, for instance, in the chapter that was
read to you. The rod from the stem of Jesse, and the branch out of
his roots is Christ, born of the poor and despised virgin Mary, who
was of the lineage of David, and whose name was written in the
records of Bethlehem; so that it would be confirmed from age to age
that the Savior born in Bethlehem is the true, promised Messiah,
conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary. Therefore,
based upon God's Word the church has always confessed this, and
accordingly the fourteenth Lord's Day for which I now ask your
attention speaks of the incarnation of the Son of God.
    Lord's Day 14
Q. 35: What is the meaning of these words "He was conceived by the
    Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary"?

A. That God's eternal Son, who is, and continueth true and eternal
    God, took upon him the very nature of man, of the flesh and

    blood of the Virgin Mary, by the operation of the Holy Ghost;
    that he might also be the true seed of David, like unto his
    brethren in all things, sin excepted.

Q. 36: What profit does thou receive by Christ's holy conception and

A. That he is our Mediator; and with His innocence and perfect
    holiness, covers in the sight of God, my sins, wherein I was
    conceived and brought forth.
    Thus we must discuss the incarnation of the Word, and concerning
this the instructor teaches us:
     I. of what the incarnation consists, and
    II. what its purpose was.
    In this fourteenth Lord's Day we have come to the discussion of
the state of Christ's humiliation. According to the correct speech
of our fathers, two matters draw our attention: in the first place
the humiliation of Christ itself; but then also that this
humiliation placed Christ in the state of guilt. The description of
that humiliation as a state shows that this deep humiliation came
upon Christ according to God's righteousness, for a state refers to
one's relation to the law. Only then shall we understand for our
salvation anything of the humiliation of Christ if by faith we see
Him in our place, laden with our sins in order to give full
satisfaction to God's justice. If we do not come to the right
understanding of the Lord's substitutionary work, the deep
significance of His humiliation remains hidden for us, even though,
as the daughters of Jerusalem followed Christ weeping. Such sympathy
with the deeply humbled Mediator shows only lack of self-knowledge
and takes the crown from the head of Him who proceeds to the death
of the cross, not as a martyr, but as a King to satisfy the justice
of God and to reconcile the elect to God. He is not to be pitied,
not when He lies in the manger, nor when He must flee from Herod,
nor when His enemies seek to ensnare Him, nor when He is nailed to
the cross. You must look with pity upon him who lives in sin, who
lies condemnable before God, who is on his way to eternal perdition,
and keeps his eyes closed for his misery. "Weep not for Me, but weep
for yourselves" is His message. All our sympathy for the humiliated,
scorned, and tortured Christ leaves us blind for His substitutionary
work, if we never became guilty before God and never saw by faith
the humiliated Substitute as a guilty one before God's justice
because of our sin, so that we could be acquitted of guilt and
punishment. Then the humiliation of Christ will be precious to us
and the majesty of the anointed High Priest will shine through, who
was wounded for our sins and bruised for our iniquities.
    If we lack the true realization of the state of humiliation of
the Mediator, we may give our soul no rest. We would be building on
a sandy foundation, which one day will fall away. Alas, the
knowledge of Christ is very scarce, even among God's children. They
rest too much in experiences of the soul instead of seeking to
penetrate into what Christ has become for His people. What did the
disciples know of the substitutionary work of the Lord, although
they enjoyed His words and miracles? They cried, "Thou art the
Christ, the Son of the living God," but when it came to the point,
they became offended at His suffering and death. They did not
understand that He had to pour out His soul unto death, for their
sake. There are still many among God's people that are like them.
That is detrimental to their soul and gives much power to self-love,
egoism, unbelief and therefore to the dishonor of Christ. This
troubles the life of the soul which revives when tasting of the
fruit, but cannot live without the Tree of Life. Now the instructor
will bring us deeper into the humiliation of Christ, by explaining
that humiliation step by step, following the order of the Apostle's
Creed. The Lord grant that by this instruction we may learn of the
precious substitutionary bowing of Christ under our sins and
punishment, so that we might rightly honour Him as Savior, singing
here by faith that which shall eternally be the song of joy of God's
people, "Thou has redeemed us to God by Thy blood."
    Lord's Day 14 speaks to us of the incarnation of the Word, of
His conception by the Holy Ghost, and birth of the Virgin Mary, and
the catechism gives this explanation of it: "That God's eternal Son,
who is and continueth true and eternal God, took upon Him the very
nature of man, of the flesh and blood of the Virgin Mary, by the
operation of the Holy Ghost; that He might also be the true seed of
David, like unto His brethren in all things, sin excepted." That
incarnation is therefore the great mystery of godliness: "God was
manifest in the flesh." The eternal Son of God is become man, was
found in fashion as a man; behind the veil of His human nature He
hid His divinity. No one who saw or heard Him as He lay in the
manger, or in His sojourning on earth in the midst of the huge
multitudes that hung on His lips and in whose sight He performed
signs and wonders, could see His divinity in anything. That was due
to man's total blindness, for He showed Himself to be God and said
it plainly. The Son of God as Mediator wanted to be so humbled that
only glimpses of His divinity showed through the veil of His human
nature. He was more than all people. He was, and is and remains very
and eternal God. "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given."
He is a Child according to His human nature and the Son according to
His divine nature. He was before all men, and therefore He, the
Eternal One, could testify, "Before Abraham was, I am." He appeared
to Abraham in the plains of Mamre as he sat in the tent door in the
heat of the day with two angels in a human body, made of dust but
not born, to foretell the birth of Isaac in a year. The Lord also
appeared unto Moses in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush.
To Joshua He appeared as the Captain of the host of the Lord, Who
had a drawn sword in His hand and fought for Israel against Jericho.
To mention no more, Isaiah saw His glory and spoke of Him (John
12:41) when the prophet saw Him sitting upon a throne, high and
lifted up.
    Do not these revelations of the Mediator hundreds of years
before His incarnation clearly prove that the Lord existed before He
was born in Bethlehem? Who was He? The eternal Son of God, of Whom
Micah prophesied, "Whose goings forth have been from of old, from
everlasting," of Whom John writes, "In the beginning was the Word,
(that is God the Son, the Second Person in the Divine essence) and
the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This was in the
beginning with God (hence before a particle of dust existed). All
things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that
was made." Of the Word, that is, I emphasize, of the Second Person
Who is true and eternal God with the Father and the Holy Ghost, John
writes, "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." Paul wrote in
Gal. 4, "But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His
Son, made of a woman, made under the law." To be sent forth, He must
be and He was and remained, the Son of God, sent by His Father into
the world according to the familiar words in Rom. 8:32, "He that
spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all (that is
according to verses 29 and 30 for the elect).
    He is the only begotten of the Father: "For God so loved the
world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth
in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." He is the
firstborn (not as the godless Arius teaches, the first-created, but
the first-born) of every creature from eternity to eternity,
begotten by the Father. He who was received of the Holy Ghost, born
of the virgin Mary is God's own, natural Son. That is the great,
incomprehensible wonder, that God's own Son, Who is and remains very
God, has taken upon Him the very nature of man so that the elect of
the Father may be reconciled by God to God. To whom then it is given
to know Him by true faith, he acknowledges Him as the Son of God and
falls down to worship Him. Not according to His human nature, but as
God He must receive all honour: "That all men should honour the Son,
even as they honour the Father. He that honoreth not the Son
honoreth not the Father which has sent him." (John 5:23). However
much God's people may be exercised as to whether He is their
Mediator, since He has revealed Himself to them as the only Savior,
and has opened to them a way of salvation, the knowledge of Him as
God's own Son is born in their heart, and when the power of unbelief
is broken, they cry out with Thomas, "My Lord and My God." Who shall
ever be able to declare the glory of this one Mediator between God
and men? He is and continues true and eternal God.
    When He took upon Himself our human nature He did not lay aside
His divinity. He who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of Mary,
is and continues very God. How could God cease being God? He is the
everlasting Father. He is God from eternity to eternity, and so the
instructor's explanation is entirely true, "That God's eternal Son,
who is and continueth true and eternal God, took upon Him the very
nature of man." "The Word was made flesh."
    All of us, and that includes the elect, we, all Adam's
posterity, are conceived and born in sin. We come into the world in
original sin, and because of that sin we are condemnable before God.
Not only actual sin makes us worthy of eternal death; even if we did
neither good nor evil, eternal perdition would rest upon us for the
sin in which we are conceived and born. That sin must also be
forgiven, and covered before God. To that end Christ was conceived
and born, but with a holy conception and a perfectly sinless birth.
Thus His holiness covers the sin of His people and cleanses this
fountain of iniquity. They learn to know that deep fall by
discovering grace and that makes them cry out with David,
         "Against Thee only have I sinned
         Done evil in Thy sight
         Lord, in Thy judgment Thou art just,
         And in Thy sentence right.
         Behold in evil I was formed,
         And I was born in sin."
    There, in conception and birth, lies the root of the corruption
which cannot be entirely erased in this life, but continues to
strive against God's children until they have finished their course.
    Now do notice by faith, people of God, that here is the fountain
for cleansing and reconciliation. Oh, when all hope of improving
ourselves falls away, when there is no more expectation because of
our incurable misery, then there is redemption for them in Christ
Who had a holy conception and birth. Come, then, unto Him, all ye
that labor and are heavy laden, and He will give you rest. When the
bitter fountain of original sins brings forth bitterness, lo, there
is in that sad experience Christ the Physician with the balm of
Gilead. When God's people complain because of indwelling sin, when
it seems as though evil will have the upper hand, when they seem to
be in the bond of iniquity, when they ask themselves where the fruit
is of that new life that God has wrought in them, when their heart
is sad because of all this and their mouth is closed, behold, the
Mediator is there, conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of Mary. He
traveled their way to stop this fountain of sin, to cleanse their
soul, and to take away their guilt and unrighteousness. In Him they
are lovely in the eyes of the Father. He himself says, "My delight
is in her." Black they are in themselves but comely in Christ. Bring
your complaints about your needs and miseries to Him, people of God.
Seek Him constantly as your Mediator Who covers your sins before
God, so that you may rejoice in the riches of His grace, that by far
exceeds your sins.
    The Son of God did not bring His human nature out of heaven but
took it upon Himself of the Virgin Mary who was made fruitful by the
Holy Spirit, so that He would be outside of the imputation of Adam's
sin, and would be that holy thing which was born of her. How clearly
Luke writes that He was the matured fruit of Mary. "Her days were
accomplished that she should be delivered." He took upon Himself
soul and body, the true human nature, born of a virgin, and thus
belonging to our human race so that the sins of His people could be
imputed to Him. For Adam's sin is according to God's righteous
judgment only imputed to his posterity. Christ therefore must belong
to that posterity, and yet have no sin Himself. He had no sin, no
original sin, no guilt, nor pollution, because He was conceived of
the Holy Ghost, hence not because Mary was holy as the Roman
Catholic Church teaches. How could Mary be sinless, having been born
as all others? She, too, was brought forth under the curse and wrath
of God, an unclean one who cannot bring out a clean one in a natural
way. She herself called Christ her Savior; she is saved only by Him,
Whom she could bring forth as that holy thing, because the Holy
Ghost came upon her and the power of the Highest overshadowed her,
"Therefore," spoke the angel Gabriel to her, "therefore" (hence not
because she was sinless) "also that holy thing which shall be born
of thee shall be called the Son of God."
    Out of her then the Lord Jesus was born. The opinion of the
Anabaptists that Christ brought His human nature with Him out of
heaven, and that that nature merely passed through Mary as water
passes through a pipe, denies His mediatorial work. If it were thus,
Christ would not have belonged to our human race; He had not become
one of us, but, howbeit with an entirely perfect new human nature,
He had stood outside of our race. Then He could never have borne our
guilt and sin and delivered us from them. To do this He must be man
taken from men, belong to Adam's posterity, be the Son of David.
This He became by being born of Mary. The whole Scripture testifies
of it. He is the Seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15), the Seed of Abraham
(Gen. 12:3), the Shiloh out of Judah (Gen. 49:10), the Rod of David
(Isa. 11:1).
    Although as we already learned in the sixth Lord's Day, the Lord
took upon Himself an impersonal human nature, He still was a very
and righteous man. He, the Second Person of the Divine Essence,
could not sin, not in our human nature either. That nature was
infallible. Sin is not committed by an impersonal nature but by the
person, and this person was God of God, light of light, very God of
very God. For that reason alone the Mediator could not sin. The
Father did not entrust His elect church to a Mediator of Whom He was
not perfectly sure that He would finish the work of redemption
entrusted to Him. He was born without sin, and it was also
impossible for Him to sin. Even in the birth of the Mediator it was
immovably sure that He would merit salvation for His people.
Therefore the angels could bring the tidings to the shepherds that
unto them was born that day the Savior, and therefore they could
sing their heavenly anthem; the shepherds could worship Him by faith
and Simon could cry out, "Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart
in peace, according to Thy Word, for my eyes have seen Thy
salvation." Yes, every one of God's people who by faith may see and
embrace that Emmanuel born in Bethlehem, sees in Him the perfect
Savior, Who before the foundation of the world was counted worthy to
take the Book and to loose the seals thereof for the salvation of
all those who were given Him by the Father. Salvation is not built
upon loose sand.
    However impossible it seemed, humanly speaking, Mary had to go
to Bethlehem. Even the decree of Caesar Augustus served to fulfill
the prophecy which had spoken of the city of David, "Out of thee
shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel, whose
goings forth have been of old, from everlasting." Even though He was
the fully matured fruit of Mary and hence a man out of men, Adam's
sin was not imputed to Him. The messenger from heaven announced to
Mary, "That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called
the Son of God."
    Holy, entirely perfect, without any sin was He who was born in
Bethlehem's manger; for He was not born by the will of man, but by
the Holy Spirit. On earth He had no father. The Jews erred when they
thought Joseph was His father. If that were so, He would have had a
fallen human nature, He would have had to pay for Himself, and could
never pay for another. But Himself being without sin, He could
redeem His people eternally.
    Hence all emphasis falls upon these two points: Christ is man
out of men, and yet He stands apart from Adam's sin since He was
conceived by the Holy Ghost. Thus He is like unto us in all things,
sin excepted. He took upon Him our flesh and blood. He has a soul
and body as we, yea this being "like unto His brethren in all
things" went so far that He even subjected Himself to the results of
sin, so that He being tempted in all things might be a merciful High
Priest, able to succor His people in all things. His people have no
grief of soul or body which Christ has not borne in principle. What
a comfort this yields for the church of God! Christ is the true Seed
of David, according to the prophecies which were fulfilled in Him,
however impossible this may have seemed. He became like unto His
brethren in all things, sin excepted. Let all who have learned to
hope in God's Word take courage! However dark the way may be,
however impossible the way to the fulfillment of that which God has
promised may seem, the Lord shall confirm His Word and in all His
deeds He works to that end. What seems to us to be retrogression
often serves the fulfillment, as was very evident at the Lord's
birth. Oh, that our soul might rest more in God's Word and trust Him
to fulfill it. He guarantees His own work and will save His church.
Unto God the Lord belong the issues even from death. In Him is
deliverance from the state of death. Both natures are united in the
one person of the Son of God. There are not two mediators, one of
which is God and one of which is man, but one Mediator, the Son of
God Who has both natures, as the 5th and 6th Lord's Days clearly
explain. Therefore Christ, though His suffering and His stay in the
grave were of short duration, could bring in everlasting
    From the earliest days such an incarnation of the Son of God was
denied and contested. The Docetae spoke of His human nature as a
mere appearance; but if the Son of God had taken only an apparent
body, His death also would only be an apparent death and would never
pay for the sins of His people. Nestorius separated the natures of
Christ, and Eutyches confounded the two natures. Already in 431,
Synod condemned the former and the Council of Chalcedony declared in
opposition to both that the union of the two natures of Christ was
without confusion, without change, without division and without
separation. God remained God and man remained man, every nature kept
its own characteristics, and even in death the two natures were not
separated from each other. He, the Son of God sacrificed Himself
willingly to His Father out of eternal love for the glorification of
God's mercy in saving the elect.
    All God's promises are fulfilled in Him, all the types were
accomplished in Him. He brought the true sacrifice in both soul and
body, and has become the Redeemer, the Kinsman, the Brother of His
people. Only thus, as He who was born of Mary is the only Savior,
outside of Whom we cannot seek or find salvation. How necessary it
is then that we may be found in Him, not having our righteousness,
which is of the law, but the righteousness which is of God by faith.
How could anyone stand before the bar of God's justice without Him?
Our righteousness are as filthy rags, but the Son of God became man,
conceived in and born of Mary, so that He might stand in the place
of His people and pay for their original and actual sins. God
reproves His people of sin, of righteousness and of judgment, but
then all outside of Christ truly becomes insufficient to stand
before God. If then their eyes only may be opened to see that only
Mediator Who is God and man, they find in Him all that is necessary
to atone for their original and actual sin.
    We shall notice this now in the second place as we consider
the purpose of the incarnation.
    Question 36 speaks of this as it mentions the profit God's
people receive by the holy conception and nativity of Christ. The
profit consists in this: "that He is our Mediator; and with His
innocence and perfect holiness, covers in the sight of God, my sins
wherein I was conceived and brought forth."
    A mediator is one who stands between two parties to reconcile
them to each other. Christ is the Mediator who stepped between an
angry God and a condemnable sinner. He has reconciled those two
parties with each other. To that end the Son of God became man, as
the Catechism says so plainly for those who are comprehended in
Christ; that He with His innocence and perfect holiness, covers in
the sight of God, my sins wherein I was conceived and brought forth.
    Thus the incarnate Word is the true Mediator, able to reconcile
to God the sinner who was lost in Adam, but elect in Christ, and to
restore him in communion with God. Taking upon Himself our human
nature, can in itself be considered to belong to qualifying Him as
Mediator. God cannot be increased nor decreased, but the Mediator
was humiliated and later exalted again, and in order to be the
Mediator the Son of God had to take upon Himself a human nature. But
why was His conception and nativity the first step of His
humiliation? Because of His humble birth. He was conceived in a
poor, humble virgin, living in Nazareth, a despised city. There was
no place for His birth in the inn. He was brought forth in a stable,
wound in clothes and laid in a manger. The circumstances could not
be worse. A more lowly entrance into the world was unthinkable. He,
the eternal God, for Whom no earthly palace was beautiful enough,
became man in a stable. The world could and would not receive Him.
"No room for them in the inn", for them, for Joseph and Mary, for
Christ. It is still thus. The whole world says, "No room", no room
for Him in our hearts. We do not want to receive Him. By nature we
have room for everything, but not for the only Savior. He prepares a
place for Himself, and comes in deepest humility to save even the
chief of sinners. Lost sinners are saved in Him, a people given Him
by the Father, conceived and born in sin.
    The third Lord's Day has spoken of original sin. Suffice it to
mention here only that all men because of Adam's fall are conceived
and born in sin. We come into this world under the guilt of death,
corrupt and entirely leprous. Christ had to remove from His people
not only the actual sins which we commit with thoughts, words, and
actions, but also the original sin. That He did by His conception
and birth of Mary. With His innocence and perfect holiness He has
covered those original sins in the sight of God. It is this that
makes His conception by the Holy Ghost and His birth of the Virgin
Mary precious for His people by faith. God's children do not find
the remission of their sins in Him only because God's Word tells us
that the Lord Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the
Virgin Mary, but according to that Word the Holy Spirit discovers to
them their deep fall in Adam, and reveals to them the great mystery
of godliness. It is God's common way with His people to open their
eyes first for their actual sins. He showed the Samaritan woman her
sinful life. He arrested Saul on the way to Damascus by calling,
"Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou Me?" He wounds the soul, purchased
by His blood with an arrow from His Word, and makes them see by the
light of His omniscience their whole life of sin and iniquities,
even though they have never openly served the world. That discovery
makes them bow as guilty to all God's commandments, and fills them
with a godly sorrow which works repentance to salvation, not to be
repented of. But then He goes deeper into their soul. He cuts off
their hope that they cherish to save themselves, and to seek their
salvation by diligently seeking to keep the law. Even their longings
after Christ give them no firm foundation. The breach between them
and God was made in Paradise. They are conceived and born in sin.
Never, never is there any possibility of taking away those sins,
even if they kept all the commandments, which is utterly impossible.
Furthermore, their conception and birth is the filthy fountain by
which all their works are evil. Here the Lord cuts off all hope of
salvation. He who ever was led into the depth of the fall, has
learned that God does a short work on earth. Oh, then Christ is
revealed in the riches of His grace. He was conceived and born, had
come into the world as the matured fruit of Mary's womb, but
conceived by the Holy Ghost so that with His innocence and perfect
holiness He could cover the sins of His people. Yes, He has covered
them and they shall nevermore be uncovered before the by of God's
judgment. What a firm foundation of reconciliation lies then in the
conception and birth of Christ out of Mary. Should we not sing of it
from Psalter No. 261, St. 2.
         "Truth and mercy toward His people
         He has ever kept in mind;
         And His full and free salvation
         He has shown to all mankind.
         Sing, O earth, sing to Jehovah,
         Praises to Jehovah sing,
         With the swelling notes of music
         Shout before the Lord, the King."
    How very necessary it is for us all to hold fast to that which
God has revealed in His Word concerning the redemption of Adam's
fallen children. That redemption is so great that it could be
brought about only by God's own Son in our human nature. Hence they
that deny the Godhead of Christ, and His true incarnation out of
Mary, or set up Mary as a holy virgin mother who was herself without
sin, minimize the justice of God, and the honour of Christ and the
salvation of God's elect. Turn your back to them all, and hold fast
to that which the Catechism teaches us so clearly about the
incarnation of the Word.
    Simon now sang of the new-born Emmanuel, "This child is set for
the fall and rising again of many in Israel." To what end is the
coming of the Son of God in our flesh for us? If we die in our sins,
He will be our fall. Oh, my unconverted fellow-traveler to eternity,
does it not affect you? Will that which is necessary for our eternal
peace never weigh the heaviest with us? Play a bit in your youth, it
is soon past; have your illusions, young men and young ladies, so
many expectations are in vain, and become bitter disappointments;
work and worry, parents, for this life and review the way that lies
behind you and has gone by as chaff; all of you, ask yourself what
this life has been for you; a life without God and without Christ.
Soon will come the hour of death, and what then? Children, ask the
Lord to convert you; seek, young men and young ladies, your
salvation in Him Who left His heavenly throne and became like unto
us, sin excepted. Make haste, young and old, for your life. May God
bind the warnings to your heart, and sanctify them to your eternal
welfare before it is too late. Oh, what will it be to notice soon
upon your deathbed, that it is too late forever, and that the day of
salvation has passed. I can only proclaim it to you, but may the
Lord use His Word to show you your state of misery and to reveal to
your soul Him Who as God and man is the only way of salvation.
    He was conceived of the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary
to cover the sins of His people before the face of God. Oh, people
who have been made to realize your enormous debt, may you cast your
eyes upon Him. On your side there is no hope for deliverance. Do not
keep your heart away from Christ; do not build each other up on a
foundation within yourself. May the Lord show you more and more your
lost state, and cause you to know yourself condemnable before Him
because of your fall in Adam. May everything become insufficient for
you except the only Mediator who took upon Himself our flesh and is
become man out of man, like unto His brethren in all things, sin
excepted. He bowed down so low that He became poor to make poor
people rich. No, your sins are not too great, your iniquities are
not too many. In Christ there is an eternal fulness of righteousness
to cover all your guilt, and to wash your black hearts white. Let
the longings of our souls go out then to Him. He bears the only name
given under heaven to men whereby they may be saved. May we thirst
after Him as a hart after the water brooks. As the Lord causes you
to know yourself as entirely miserable and corrupt, that your soul
may then flee more and more to the fountain that is opened for the
house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Ask continuously
that the Holy Spirit may discover to you the state of your misery;
the Lord grant you to know by experience your conception and birth
in sin and iniquity.
    Alas, how much we seek to save our lives without Him Who was
conceived and born of Mary. How little we hear of the discovering
work among God's people. We live, and seek to save our lives. We
should often sigh, "Awake, O north wind; and come thou south; blow
upon my garden." Then its spices may flow out. Let the sharp,
cutting north wind blow through our heart. Then we shall lose our
life. Let God's people who have found their life in Christ testify
how they lost all hope, and were pushed off from all their
foundations when they learned to know themselves as having been
conceived and born in sin. Then the Incarnate Word became their only
and complete Mediator, Who covered their sins before God. Oh, do
seek to win Christ, to know Him in the state of His humiliation,
coming to stand in our place to be the only and complete Savior.
Praise His name, people of God, and let your rejoicing be in Him Who
in a cattle stall took upon Himself our human nature, and still was,
and remains and always will be the Son of God. Let all His saints
praise Him as God's own and only-begotten Son is worthy to be
praised. May He glorify Himself in us and comfort us according to
the riches of His grace, that we may rest in Him, and enjoy the
peace that passes all understanding. Amen.

(continued in part 16...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: krhc1-15.txt