Sunday, November 30, 2008

The reason for the coming

On this first Sunday of Advent I've been thinking about 1 John 3:8. Actually, just a fragment of the verse. "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." I love that! Succinct and to the point. The Reformation Study Bible connects this to the first glimpse of the gospel in Genesis 3:15, sometimes called the protoevangelion "first gospel."

The opposition between Christ and Satan was foretold as early as Gen. 3:15. Satan used the righteous law of God as a tool to hold sinners captive to the fear of death and condemnation. By accepting in His own Person the penalty due to sinners under the law, Christ took away the foundation of Satan's plan (Heb. 2:14-15).

Satan's "greatest" work is sin, and sin is death. The revolutionary message of Christmas is nothing less than the triumph of life over death. I'm struck anew by the mystery of the Incarnation. The child born to Mary in a smelly backwater of the Roman Empire was the promised Messiah. "Him who is and who was and who is to come...Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth." (Rev. 1:4-5) And he's coming again. There will be a second Advent.

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