They Mystery of the Incarnation

The first main design of the life and conversation of the Lord Jesus, was that thereby God, the Eternal Majesty, according to his promise, might be seen by, and dwell with, mortal men. For the Godhead being altogether in its own nature invisible, and yet desirous to be seen by and dwell with the children of men, therefore was the Son, who is the self-same substance with the Father, clothed with or tabernacled in our flesh, that in that flesh the nature and glory of the Godhead might be seen by and dwell with us. “The word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory;” what glory? “the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Again, “The life”—that is, the life of God in the works and conversation of Christ—“was manifest, and we have seen it and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested unto us.” And hence he is called the image of the invisible God; or he by whom the invisible God is most perfectly presented to the sons of men.
Did I say before that the God of glory is desirous to be seen of us? Even so also have the pure in heart a desire that it should be so. “Lord,” say they, “show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” And therefore the promise is for their comfort, that “they shall see God.” But how then must they see him? Why, in the person, and by the life and works of Jesus, When Philip, under a mistake, thought of seeing God some other way than in and by this Lord Jesus Christ, what is the answer? “Have I been so long time with you,” saith Christ, “and hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself; but the Father, that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, or else believe me for the very work’s sake.”
See, here, that both the words and works of the Lord Jesus were not to show you, and so to call you back to the holiness we had lost, but to give us visions of the perfections that are in the Father. “He hath given us the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” And hence it is that the apostle, in that brief collection of the wonderful mystery of godliness, places this in the front thereof: “God was manifest in the flesh”—was manifested in and by the person of Christ, when in the flesh he lived among us; manifest, I say, for this as one reason, that the pure in heart, who long after nothing more, might see him. “I beseech thee,” said Moses, “show me thy glory.” “And will God indeed dwell with men on the earth?” saith Solomon.
Though Adam be called the image or similitude of God, yet but so as that he was the shadow of a more excellent image. Adam was a type of Christ, who only is the express image of his Father’s person, and the likeness of his excellent glory; for those things that were in Adam were but of a human, but of a created substance; but those things that were in Christ, of the same divine and eternal excellency with the Father.
Is Christ then the image of the Father, simply as considered of the same divine and eternal excellency with him? Certainly not; for an image is doubtless inferior to that of which it is a figure. Understand, then, that Christ is the image of the Father’s glory, as born of the Virgin Mary, yet so as being very God also: not that his Godhead in itself was a shadow or image, but by the acts and doing of that man, every act being infinitely perfect by virtue of his Godhead, the Father’s perfections were made manifest to flesh. An image is to be looked upon, and by being looked upon, another thing is seen; so by the person and doings of the Lord Jesus, they that indeed could see him as he was, discovered the perfection and glory of the Father. “Philip, he that hath seen me, hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” Neither the Father nor the Son can by us at all be seen, as they are simply and entirely in their own essence. Therefore the person of the Father must be seen by us through the Son, as consisting of God and man; the Godhead, by working effectually in the manhood, showing clearly there through the infinite perfection and glory of the Father. “The word was made flesh, and” then “we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of his Father”—he being in his personal excellencies, infinitely and perfectly, what is recorded of his Father, “full of grace and truth.”
When Jesus Christ came down from glory, it was that he might bring us to glory; and that he might be sure not to fail, he clothed himself with our nature—as if we should take a piece out of the whole lump instead of the whole, Heb. 11:14—and invested it with that glory which he was in before he came down from heaven, Eph. 2:6.

Mark Water

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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