Sunday, December 21, 2008

...On Whom His Favor Rests

As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good, not even one."
"Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit."
"The poison of vipers is on their lips."
"Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."
"Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know."- Rom 3:9-17

Who wants to hear that at Christmas? Pretty bleak. Hopeless. And yet Heaven opens up and angels declare to us just the opposite. Peace on Earth. Goodwill to men, on whom His favor rests. But we don't know the way of peace. How can God have goodwill and rest His favor on us, having accurately described us through Paul in Romans, quoting various Old Testament sources. Did God change His mind about how awful we really are?

Easy answer: Nope.

Only God can fix this problem and He does:

Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell,rose again the third day from the dead; - Athansian Creed

This "taking of that manhood into God" is the occasion for the Angelic announcement. Now "God With Us" can be seen and touched. While that is certainly a comfort to a person of faith it is purely an act of mercy toward toward mankind. He had to come and save us, take that which was created into the Eternal, Suffer and die to set things right. Extreme measures. Not normally how one has to deal with those in favor, those with whom one is pleased.

That is because there is only One with whom God is pleased, who has His favor. The standard for pleasing God is perfection. Scripture describes the One who has accomplished this:

Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him
and he will bring justice to the nations. - Isaiah 42:1

And behold, a voice out of the heavens said,
"This is My beloved Son,in whom I am well- pleased." - Matt 3:17

God can be pleased with us, delight in us, through Him. Our life is in Him. In Baptism we are covered with His righteousness. In Christ we now know the way of peace. Gods favor rests on us. And now the angels declare that He is with us.

Glory to God in the highest!

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