An admonition is given to all Christians by the Apostle Paul … “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5 a NASB).  The mindset spoken of is seen as Christ takes upon Himself the form and appearance of humanity and submits to the creature that He created as He goes to the Cross.  This condescension of the Creator to the created creature was demonstrated first in birth.  Though a king, born of the lineage of David and destined to rule forever on that throne, this Jesus was not born in a palace but in an animal stable.  Born in the hometown of Mary and Joseph, no relatives of the family offered housing.  Dr. Luke supplies the medical record of that humble birth … “And it came about that while they were there [Bethlehem], the days were completed for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths [burial strips], and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:6-7 NASB).   What a missed opportunity for some family member related to Joseph and Mary to have opened their home to the wearied travelers and be privileged to have the Messiah of Israel born there.  Perhaps it was this missed opportunity that motivated the writer of the Hebrews, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, to give this warning … “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Heb. 13:2 NASB).  Scripture reveals that the attitude one has toward Christ, either faith directed toward Him or rejection of His Person and Work determines one’s eternal destiny.  An example of this is found in the Psalms.  The writer describes the attitude ofJesus’ siblings, and that of the town’s people toward Him prior to beginning His earthly ministry.  “I have become estranged from my brothers and an alien to my mother's sons.  For zeal for Thy house has consumed me and the reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me.  When I wept in my soul with fasting, it became my reproach. When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them. Those who sit in the gate talk about me, and I am the song of the drunkards” (Ps. 69:8-12 NASB).  As God all this was foreknown by Him, yet He chose to fulfill the Father’s Plan of redemption and go to the Cross.  Upon His birth as true humanity we see these words in Scripture … “Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, 'Here I am — it is written about me in the scroll I have come to do your will, O God'" (Heb. 10:5-7 NIV).  In humility, He cast Himself upon the Father so that He could go to the Cross and pay the sin debt of every person.  With confidence He would say …“For the Lord GOD helps Me, therefore, I am not disgraced; therefore, I have set My face like flint [to the Cross], and I know that I shall not be ashamed” (Is. 50:7 NASB). Relationship with God would not be attained by human effort or the sacrifice of animals, but by the once for all time substitutionary death of Christ on the Cross. Man’s best works could never satisfy the righteousness of God, but the Work of One, Jesus Christ, who is God in the flesh, bore our sins and purchased salvation for all mankind.  The response to attain the benefits of the Cross is put in the simplest of words by Paul the apostle … “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31 NKJV).  So true -- faith alone in Christ alone!

Comment