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From Glory to Glory
December 10, 2005
Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,
Glorious. When God created the heavens and the earth, the trees, the fish, the fowl, the animals, etc. it was glorious and good. When God created man in His own image, it was very good. And after Adam plunged humanity into an estate of sin and misery, God set out to redeem a people for Himself, moving through various sovereign administrations of a covenant of grace all to His glory. In Noah, we see the glory of preservation. In Abraham, we see the glory of promise. In Moses, we see the glory of Law. In David, we see the glory of the kingdom. And then came Jesus Christ.
The time was fixed by the Father. It was the fullness of time when God sent forth His Son. He entered time and space, human history, exactly as prophesied. He was born of Mary, born under the Law, born in Bethlehem, the city of David, born to visit and redeem a people of God, to save them from their enemies and to perform the mercy promised to the fathers and to remember Godís holy covenant, the oath sworn to Abraham (Luke 1.68-73). He was born to be great, the Son of the Highest, to be given the throne of David and reign forever. He was born of the Holy Ghost, the power of the Highest so as to be not only Son of God, but God the Son. (Luke 1.32-35)
Rome ruled the civil government when Jesus lay in a manger in swaddling clothes. The pervasive language was Greek. Jewish synagogues dotted the area of the Roman Empire. Romans had developed an amazing network of roads and enforced the Pax Romana, the Roman peace. God was coming to consummate the covenant in Christ.
Jesus was born, and yet His birth was unlike any other. He existed from eternity with the Father (John 1.1; 8.58; 17.5; Romans 8.3; 2 Cor. 8.9; Phil. 2.6; Col. 1.15; Hebrews 1.3). He existed and exists as deity, a divine Person; but now He will take on a human nature. Jesus Christ possesses the divine nature and the human nature united indissolubly in one divine Person. He was born without sin and was filled with positive holiness, having the Holy Spirit without measure. This in itself is glorious.
Thereís more. Jesus in His divinity qualified to give His sacrifice of Himself infinite value. For yes, He was born to die, not just any death, but a death that would satisfy divine justice, and deliver Godís people out of the realm of death and darkness into Godís everlasting light. (John 1.1-4; Col. 1.13, 14) In His humanity, Jesus was tempted in all points yet without sin. He understands our infirmity. Since by Adam sin entered the system and in Adam all die, so also Jesus came to render His life to God in perfect, personal, perpetual obedience in order to bear the penalty for sin, i.e., death, that the believer might have life. God sending forth
His Son is extraordinary. Being born of a woman, that was ordinary. Like any other human being, being born of a woman meant being born to affliction, pain, trouble, etc. as Job 14.1 says: "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble."
Jesus was born to redeem a people for God and to bear witness to the truth. By His sacrificial death, He turned aside the wrath of God and atoned for our sins, making peace with God through His Blood, and defeating Satan and death.
This is glorious, but thereís more. Jesus was born of a woman and born under law in order to deliver Godís people and crown them with blessing. Through the redemption in Christ Jesus, we receive adoption as sons. This means for believers a new name, a new legal standing, a new family relationship, and a new image, the image of Christ. (Romans 8.29) Not only that, but because believers are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into their hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" This is freedom. This is receiving the Holy Spirit and becoming conscious of sonship. (Romans 8.15) This is glorious.
God sent forth His Son and God sent forth the Spirit of His Son. The Holy Spirit glorifies the Son. He causes us to ponder the teachings of Jesus and to wonder at His love. He brings us contentment and joy and peace and changes us, making us fruitful and gifted. The salvation bought for Godís people by Christ the Son is also wrought in our hearts by the Spirit of the Son. The Holy Spirit is not just with us. He is within us, upon us, and working through us. To be lost in wonder and love and the worship of the Father is glorious.
The gift of Godís marvelous grace is glorious. Those who were slaves to the no-gods receive full redemption through Christ, sonship, the Holy Spirit, freedom of access to the Father, heirship, and an end to slavery to sin, Satan, and self. The incarnation, visitation, and atoning work of Jesus Christ make it possible to know God and be known by God. Keeping outward rules to gain Godís favor will not suffice. It takes an inward reality. It takes the Holy Spirit changing and regenerating a heart that then desires Christ as Savior and Lord and Master. Ultimately, it will not be what we do, but what He did. It will not be who we are, but who is the One who loves us and gave Himself for us. Therein will be our worth.
Thereís more. Jesus not only died for our sins, but He rose again from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Almighty in power and great glory. We, too, have passed from death unto life and will rise again. Indeed, we have died, and our life is hid with Christ in God. Paul says in Colossians:
If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things
Which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand
Of God. Set your affection on things above, not on
Things on the earth. For you are dead, and your
Life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is
Our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear
with Him in glory. (Colossians 3.1-4)
We move from glory to glory. We have glorious days ahead of us. We have a lively hope, an inheritance reserved in heaven for us that doesnít fade, a joy unspeakable and full of glory.
This Christmas, Pastor Jim and I hope you contemplate the glories of Christ. Something far deeper than the gifts we give each other, the songs we sing, and the bells that ring out is going on. Remember the Giver this year. Remember the God of all Grace whose good and perfect gift, Jesus Christ, is given that you might be redeemed, reconciled to the Father, released from the guilt and penalty of sin, and restored to relationship with the Source of all Life and Blessing. And then, share the wonder.
Christ is born, glorify Him. Christ from heaven,
go out to meet Him. Christ on earth, be exalted.
Sing to the Lord all the whole earth; and that
may join both in one word, let the heavens
rejoice, and let the earth be glad, for Him
Who is of heaven and then of earth. Christ in
the flesh, rejoice with trembling and with joy;
with trembling because of your sins, with joy
because of your hope. Gregory of Nazianzus,
Christmas, 380 A.D.
As we continue to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, go to the nations, and provide a place of spiritual refuge for those seeking help and hope in Jesus, we realize that we could not pursue this calling of the Lord without continual support, both spiritual and financial, from people like you. We pray that our Lord will grant us the grace to "preach, teach, and reach" in the days ahead, and we thank Him for friends like you who stand with us. Thank you!
Giving glory to God,
P.S. Go to the MCM catalog page to order books and make donations through Paypal©. In the area? We invite you to worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays, at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. After the service, join Rev. Jim Craig to discuss the message or have prayer with Dr. Mary Craig. Log on to www.craighouse.org for a map and more events and Bible studies.
But when the fullness of the time was come,
God sent forth His son, made of a woman,
Made under the law, to redeem them
That were under the law, that we might receive
The adoption of sons. And because you are
Sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His
Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
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