God is man, man to deliver

13 12 2010

Yesterday morning we received new members at church and had a few baptisms.  I really miss the Lord’s Supper the few random weeks we don’t celebrate it, like yesterday.  But watching the baptisms, I reflected on the baptismal water: signs of judgment (think the Flood, the Red Sea wiping out Egypt’s army), but also of salvation (cleansing, washed clean, drawing water from the wells of salvation, the river that flows from the throne, living water springing up in us by the Spirit).  Out of chaotic, dark waters God made all creation, and out of the waters of baptism, where the judgment was already poured out on Christ, new life and new creation is signified for us!

This gives me hope: God judges his people so we will know he is God, but he judged Christ at the cross so that we can have forgiveness.  As the Christmas hymn below reminds us, the Incarnation was for our deliverance, and is cause for great rejoicing, because it sets in motion the finishing of our redemption at the cross:

All my heart this night rejoices
As I hear
Far and near
Sweetest angel voices.
“Christ is born,” their choirs are singing
Till the air
Everywhere
Now with joy is ringing.

Forth today the Conqueror goeth,
Who the foe,
Sin and woe,
Death and hell, o’erthroweth.
God is man, man to deliver;
His dear Son
Now is one
With our blood forever.

Shall we still dread God’s displeasure,
Who, to save,
Freely gave
His most cherished treasure?
To redeem us, he hath given
His own Son
From the throne
Of his might in heaven.

He becomes the Lamb that taketh
Sin away
And for aye
Full atonement maketh.
For our life his own he tenders;
And our race,
By his grace,
Meet for glory renders.

Hark! a voice from yonder manger,
Soft and sweet,
Doth entreat:
“Flee from woe and danger,
Brethren, from all ills that grieve you
You are freed;
All you need
I will surely give you.”

Come, then, banish all your sadness,
One and all,
Great and small;
Come with songs of gladness.
Love him who with love is glowing;
Hail the star,
Near and far
Light and joy bestowing.

That’s one of my absolute favorite Christmas hymns.  I wish more people knew it and shared in the songs of gladness that the Incarnation of Christ brings.


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