Published 11:21 am Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Harry Martinez

Our thinking invariably turned at Christmas to the dramatic entrance of the God of Heaven into the human race.  One can hardly imagine the effect of God’s pronouncement on the prophet of Israel. The One promised since the creation of Adam was not a passing or forgotten thought in the mind of God. The time had come to provide further Divine revelation and to reiterate the promise of a Savior, Israel’s Messiah. To the prophet Isaiah, it was no doubt both a humbling and exhilarating experience to have the opportunity to pen God’s intentions and Plan of redemption.  These were the words that would echo throughout all ages to come …“therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14 KJV).  This revelation to Israel was totally foreign to the beliefs of surrounding peoples and nations.  Their gods were beyond the reach of mankind; it was man who was always attempting to appease and reach up to the gods. Yet the God of Israel is telling the prophet that the Creator of heaven and earth desires to come among men, God with us.   Thus the redemptive solution for man’s sin problem begins to unfold at God’s appointed time through the miraculous conception of a virgin girl by means of the spoken Word of God the Holy Spirit.  Unbelievable it would seem, and surely such a birth was unexpected by the Serpent whose head would be crushed if the Plan of redemption were to succeed.  God would bypass the normal means of procreation so that this birth would be in the image of God and not the likeness of Adam.  This One to be born would be devoid of a sin nature and thus there would be no imputation of Adam’s sin to Him.  Born without sin, He could choose to be obedient to the Father in all things and thus be free from personal sin.   What a Plan!  What a magnanimous act of grace for God to enter into the human race that we might be reconciled to Him and have a personal relationship with Him.  In writing to the Philippian churches, Paul tells us of the thinking of the One who would come to this earth, not in luxury and pomp as the God of glory, but as a babe in a manger.   Speaking of the Christ, given the earthly name of Jesus, Paul writes … “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:6-7 NASB).  This condescension was necessary to fulfill the concept of Immanuel, God with us.  God would become true humanity; yet still God, the God-Man, both beings in one Person and that forever.  Nearly seven centuries later, Isaiah’s prophecy would be fulfilled in the town of Bethlehem.  Even that location had been revealed in Scripture by the prophet Micah … “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,  though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times  “ (Mic 5:2 NIV). God’s Plan was on track, never wavering, for it had been decreed by the unchanging Sovereign God.   Immanuel would fulfill His mission to save and seek that which was lost – the human race.  The Apostle continues his discourse to Philippi with the declaration of the victory of the Cross … “and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8 NASB).   The Savior had come indeed as promised.  “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” (II Cor 9:15 NASB).