Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Christ's Pre-Incarnate Glory, Pt 2, by John Flavel

Now to sketch out (as we are able) the unspeakable felicity of that state of Christ, whilst he lay in that blessed bosom, I shall consider it three ways, negatively, positively, and comparatively.

1. Let us consider that state negatively, by removing from it all those degrees of abasement and sorrow which his incarnation brought him under: as,
First, He was not then abased to the condition of a creature, which was a low step indeed, and that which upon the matter undid him in point of reputation; for by this (saith the apostle) “he made himself of no reputation,” Phil. 2: 7, it emptied him of his glory. For God to be made man, is such an abasement as none can express: but then not only to appear in true flesh, but also in the likeness of sinful flesh, as. Rom. 8: 3. O what is this!

Secondly, Christ was not under the law in this estate. I confess it was no disparagement to Adam in the state of innocence, to angels in their state of glory, to be under law to God; but it was an inconceivable abasement to the absolute independent Being to come under law: yea, not only under the obedience, but also under the malediction and curse of the law, Gal. 4: 4. “But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”

Thirdly, In this state he was not liable to any of those sorrowful consequent and attendants of that frail and feeble state of humanity, which he afterwards assumed, with the nature. As,

(1.) He was unacquainted with griefs; there was no sorrowing or sighing in that bosom where he lay, though afterwards he became a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” Isa. 53: 3. “A man of sorrows,” as if he had been constituted and made up of pure and unmixed sorrows; every day conversing with griefs, as with his intimate companions and acquaintance.

(2.) He was never pinched with poverty and wants, while he continued in that bosom, as he was afterwards, when he said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has not where to lay his head,” Matth. 8: 20. Ah blessed Jesus! thou needest not to have wanted a place to have lain thine head, hadst thou not left that bosom for my sake.

(3.) He never underwent reproach and shame in that bosom, there was nothing but glory and honour reflected upon him by his Father, though afterwards he was despised, and rejected of men, Isa 53: 3. His Father never looked upon him without smiles and love, delight and joy, though afterwards he became a reproach of men, and despised of the people, Psalm 22: 6.

(4.) His holy heart was never offended with an impure suggestion or temptation of the Devil; all the while he lay in that bosom of peace and love, he never knew what it was to be assaulted with temptations to be besieged and battered upon by unclean spirits, as he did afterwards, Mat. 4: 1, “Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil.” It was for our sakes that he submitted to those exercises of spirit, “to be in all points tempted like as we are, that he might be unto us a merciful and faithful high-priest, Heb. 4: 15.

(5.) He was never sensible of pains and tortures in soul or body, there were no such things in that blessed bosom where he lay, though afterwards he groaned and sweat under them, Isa. 53: 5. The Lord embraced him from eternity, but never wounded him till he stood in our place and room

(6.) There were no hidings or withdrawings of his Father from him; there was not a cloud from eternity upon the face of God, till Jesus Christ had left that bosom. It was a new thing to Christ to see frowns in the face of his Father; a new thing for him to cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Mat. 27:46.

(7.) There were never any impressions of his Fathers wrath upon him, as there were afterwards: God never delivered such a bitter cup into his hands before, as that was, Matth. 26: 39. Lastly, There was no death, to which he was subject, in that bosom. All these things were new things to Christ; he was above them all, till for our sakes he voluntarily subjected himself unto them. Thus you see what that state was not.

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