(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 Beloved! 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 nativity? 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 righteousness. 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 II 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." Application 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 .