24 March 2020

The New Adam and the New Creation

Not from the dust of the earth this time, but from the body of the Woman, from her flesh and blood the Lord God forms the Man, the New Adam, who is Himself the Image of God in the flesh.  He is the Son of God from all eternity, but now, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, His Father fashions a Body for Him, and He becomes what He was not: true Man, the Son of David, the Seed of Abraham — the Seed of the Woman, who shall crush the serpent’s head and rescue the first Adam and his Eve and all their children, whom He now calls His own brothers and sisters.

God becomes Man.  The Word becomes Flesh.  And that was always the Lord’s intent.  Human sin has not forced His hand, nor has it changed His plans.  When He created the man in His own Image, forming his body from the dust of the ground and breathing His living and Life-giving Spirit into him, it was already in view of the Incarnation — the becoming-flesh — of God the Son.  For Christ Jesus — the Son of God, conceived and born of St. Mary — is the very Image of God in whom Adam was created, and in whom you also are now recreated unto the Life everlasting.

The Word by whom all things are made fulfills creation in Himself, from the inside-out, as He enters His creation and becomes one with it in human flesh and blood.  This is how closely and intimately God is now with us forever in Christ Jesus.  This is how, and how fully, God gives Himself to us; and with Himself He gives His own divine life, all for the sake of His holy Love.

The King and the Queen of God’s good creation, the Man and the Woman, are restored to the royal throne and gracious dominion that God the Creator has given to them — which the first man and his wife abdicated by their sinful rebellion against the Word of God.  For Christ the Son of God comes in perfect faith and love, in the flesh, to atone for the sins of all men and women, and to reconcile all the children of man to His own God and Father in heaven.  And the new life that He bestows by His grace through faith in His gracious speaking, by His good works and His free gifts of the Gospel, is manifest in His Mother Mary and bears good fruits in her, as in the faithful who have gone before her.  She thus prays and confesses the Word of the Lord.  She humbles herself in repentant faith before Him.  She receives what He gives — she receives Him by His Word and Spirit — and as the new Eve she becomes the Mother of all those who truly live in her dear Son.

The Lord does not take a body for Himself from the dust of the earth, for even though He does make all things new, He has come to be the Savior of men, to rescue the sons and daughters of the first Adam & Eve.  So it is that He becomes, not only like us, but exactly one of us.  He is true Man, of the same human nature as you and all your kin — bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh, blood of your blood — because He is born of the Woman, and He derives His DNA, His Body, and His entire humanity entirely from her.  That make Him not only her Savior, but yours, and all of ours, the Savior of all people everywhere, even to the ends of the earth.

In Him, already in His own Person forevermore, God and Man are perfectly united in perfect harmony.  For He is the perfect Man, just as God intended, living in and with God in flawless faith and absolute love.  In Him everything is already exactly as it should be, and so shall it always be.

But He has become and always remains such a Man, in order that you also may be so reconciled to and united with God in Him; so that you also may live and abide forever with God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in perfect faith and love.  It is for such life and love that the Lord your God has created you, and for which the same Lord God has become true Man and redeemed you.

It is for this reason that He has not only become like you — of the same flesh and blood, of the same human nature — but He has been conceived and born of the Woman under the Law, in order to redeem you from the curse and consequences of sin, from the condemnation of the Law, and from the fear of death and the power of the devil.  He has come to replace what was lost and bring about what was intended, to repair what has been broken and make it better than new.  Thus, He has gone out from Paradise into the harsh wilderness of sin and death — to which the Law has driven you, and wherein you were lost — in order to retrieve you, to bring you back to the Garden, back to God, not as a captive slave, but as a son or a daughter, as a dear child and heir.

Thus, the Body of the Lord Jesus is prepared for sacrifice, His Blood to be shed upon the Cross.  What all the bulls and goats could only signify, He has become, and He has come in the flesh to accomplish.  Not simply to make reparations or amends, but fully to atone for all sins.  He enters into the brokenness and hurt, and He becomes it.  He bears the full burden of sin and death, and He becomes sin and death.  He suffers the curse, and He becomes the curse.  He receives the fatal wound into His own Body, upon His sacred head, into His holy hands and feet and side.  He gives Himself freely, to the point of Crucifixion, to be cursed upon the Tree.  He dies and is buried.

In this way, then, He returns to the dust of the ground whence man was taken.  He pours out His lifeblood, gives up His Spirit, makes Himself nothing, and is swallowed up by death and Hades.

In this, too, you see again how closely and intimately God is with us in Christ Jesus, the Son of Mary.  For death and the grave are where you and your life on earth are finally found, and that is where He has gone — for you and your salvation — into the darkness and the depths of despair.  Not only that, but in His Crucifixion, bearing your sins and the sins of the whole world, He has suffered not only death (as the wages of your sin) but the full condemnation of the Law and the dire judgment of God against all wickedness and evil.  So it is that the Holy and Righteous One, the Son of the Most High, the Perfect Man, is damned upon the Cross with your damnation.

And then, out of that nothingness, out of that pitch black darkness of death and the grave, God has raised Him up in glorious Life.  God has taken the Man from the dust of the ground, and poured out His Spirit upon Him; and all of Creation is restored in Him, made brand new and perfected.

That is the power and authority of the Word that God the Lord now speaks to you — as surely as He once spoke to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Nazareth of Galilee.  It is the creative and Life-giving Word of His Resurrection from the dead, whereby He recreates you out of the nothing that you were apart from Him, and He gives life to your mortal body.  With this Word He raises you up from your sin and death, He breathes His Spirit into you, and He makes of you a beloved child.

It is the Word of Christ, the Word of His Gospel, which forgives you all your sins and causes the Light of the Revelation of the Glory of God to shine forth within your heart and life.  By the preaching of His Word He cuts through your pride and your despair, in order to bring you into repentance — in order to save you from sin and death, and from all the temptations, assaults, and accusations of the devil.  He chases the fog and the darkness away, so that your heart and mind are no longer beclouded by Satan’s lies, by the world’s allurements, or by your own doubts and fears.

The Word of Christ does not simply clarify things with new and better information.  It is by and through the Word of Christ that all things are.  What is more, it is a living and Life-giving Word with the power and authority to forgive sins, to justify the ungodly, to save sinners, and to make all things brand new.  It is the Word of the One whom God raised from the dead; which makes it a comparatively small thing for Him to give children to a barren old lady and a young virgin.

Now, then, hear what this Word of Christ proclaims to you:  Do not be afraid!  For you have found favor with God, and He is surely with you in grace, mercy, and peace.  You shall not die but live, for the Lord has come to you in great love to make His dwelling with you, both now and forever.

He is a gracious and merciful King, who reigns over you in love from His Cross, and whose scepter is the righteousness by which He justifies you.

So what does that mean?

Though you daily sin much in your thoughts, words, and deeds, you are not punished for your sins as you deserve, but you are forgiven all your sins, and you are spared from eternal condemnation.  You are rescued and delivered from death and the devil.  What is more, God is not ashamed of you, but He delights in you and rejoices over you.  He is not angry with you, but in His good pleasure with you He actually glorifies you with His own divine glory.  He is your Father, who calls you His own dear child.  And He is your Brother, who stands by you and with you and for you forever.

How can this be, since you have never known such a man as this One?  It is most certainly true, because He is the perfect Man, who is also the Son of God Most High; and He is the Christ, the Bearer and Bestower of the Holy Spirit.  He has been anointed with the Oil of Gladness to be your merciful and great High Priest and your true King, to pour out the Spirit generously upon you, and to make you glad all your days by His gracious presence.

What He once did with and for the Blessed Virgin Mary, that most highly favored Lady, He still does with and for His Bride, the Church.  She is the dear Woman, the Mother of all the living, of whom both Eve and St. Mary are the types.  To her God speaks, and it is so.  In her the Father conceives and bears the Son, in human flesh and blood, for you and your salvation.  In her the Spirit magnifies the same Son, Jesus Christ, and lays Him gently upon your heart by the Gospel.

In this Holy Christian Church the messenger of the Lord enters in and proclaims the Gospel — even here, as also to the ends of the earth.  By that preaching of the Gospel, Christ is given to you as your Savior, your sins are forgiven, and you are granted faith and life in Him.  Not by your own natural wisdom or strength, but by His gracious power, by the Cross and Resurrection of this incarnate Son of God, Christ Jesus, and as a free gift of His divine mercy and great love for you.

That is why you, a son or daughter of Adam & Eve, conceived and born in sin, deserving of death and damnation, have been conceived by God in His Church through the catechesis of Christ, and born again to a new and living hope by the Word and Spirit of God in the waters of your Holy Baptism.  Thus do you now speak and sing in faith, according to the Word of the Lord.  You pray and confess as His servant, a disciple of Christ Jesus, but also as a child of God, a friend of God, a brother or sister of God.  In the humility of repentance and the confidence of faith, you declare: “Let it be to me according to His Word.”  And it is so.

Such great things God has done for St. Mary, it is true.  Thus do we also call her blessed.

And such great things does He now do for you.  For the same Body and Blood of the same Lord Jesus Christ — the Son of God, conceived and born of Mary, crucified under Pontius Pilate for your sins, and raised from the dead for your justification — His Body and Blood are given into your body, that you may live and abide in Him, and He in you, unto the Life everlasting.

Wherefore you call His Name “Jesus,” because He is your Savior.

And so do you call Him Immanuel, for He is your God, and He is with you — to whom belongs all glory, honor, worship, and praise, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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