How Low Was Our Redeemer Brought

Grasping the majesty of God is the key to understanding the incarnation and its missionary implications.

Christmas marks the beginning of Christ’s humiliation on earth—first by taking on human flesh.

But we cannot grasp the depths of humility to which the Son of God plunged without contemplating the immense heights of majesty from which he descended.

Heights of Glory

Have you ever considered the audacity of Christian discipleship? Believers worldwide through the ages have honored God with all their time, wealth, and talents. Christians everywhere fight to resist the pleasure of sin, worldly opportunities, and prideful positions that fall outside the will of God. Followers of the one true God throughout history have hungered and thirsted for him and sacrificed precious time and energy to seek his face.

Who else is the cosmos is worthy of this devotion? Only the God of the Bible. The audacity of Christian worship is but one indicator of the gravitas of the Triune God of the universe. Unmatched in glory and splendor and perfect in holy purity, our God alone inspires the breathless awe of all creation. No one compares to him.

Though words fail us in describing the greatness of God, we must say more. There is no one like the Lord—majestic in holiness, overwhelming in glory. No torrential hurricane, roaring waterfall, violent earthquake, nuclear blast, or blinding supernova holds a candle to even the outskirts of the divine power. If we try to describe the infinite, eternal, transcendent, sovereign, omnipotent God as he truly is, we quickly run out of superlatives to describe this God who surpasses the farthest stretches of our imagination. Even our greatest hymns fall short.

The God of the Bible, in the beginning, created the whole universe out of absolute nothingness, flinging each of the trillions of stars into place and arranging them in dazzling galaxies millions of light-years across. It was the God of Scripture who meticulously crafted the most intricate designs in the cosmos, from invisible, elementary particles to every type of cell and organ. It was he who divided light from darkness, warmth and cold, land from water. And it was he who fashioned dizzying arrays of living creatures swarming the oceans, land, and sky. And at the pinnacle of his creation, this God made human beings in his own image. Stunning.

Astonishing Humility

The immeasurable glory of God is what makes the biblical teaching regarding the incarnation of Christ is so awe-inspiring. The fact that God—this God—assumed flesh makes the incarnation, in at least one sense, the greatest miracle in Scripture.

The immeasurable glory of God is what makes the biblical teaching regarding the incarnation of Christ is so awe-inspiring.

To save us, God had to become one of us. The Son assumed a genuine human nature that he might perfectly obey God’s law, fulfilling the covenant of works, suffer and die on the cross as a substitutionary, atoning sacrifice, and rise again victorious over Satan, sin, and death.

Even now, the God-man remains embodied and sits enthroned at the right hand of God, ministering to us by his outpoured Spirit.

Ponder the truth that our Mediator will forever and ever be both God and man. For all eternity we will be able to look at the scars in our Lord’s hands, feet, and side. His glorified human body will be an eternal testimony to his absolute love—the love that caused him to descend from the throne room of heaven to the filthy manger in Bethlehem and the painful road to Golgotha. O how low our Redeemer was brought!

This time of year should naturally inspire such thoughts. But these are not vague meditations to be kept on a pious shelf. They prompt action.

The Missionary Model

Today, we serve in missions for the very same reason that motivated God the Son to descend to earth.

The Son came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). His mission was a mission of love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life for God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

In our opinion, while God’s unfathomable essential attributes—his power, eternality, and might—should enthrall us by themselves, they appear in a sense most striking in our perception against the velvet backdrop of Christ’s condescension to save us, redeem us, and free us from the bondage of sin. And if we cherish the glories of the Son displayed through the veil of humble human flesh, we must also recognize that as the Son was sent on mission, so are we (John 20:21). Christ’s incarnation, while impossible to truly imitate, nevertheless serves as the supreme model of humble, self-effacing missionary sacrifice.

Let us glory in the ineffable attributes of God. Let us also savor the mystery of his condescension to our level. And let us so savor it that we ourselves are drawn into worshipful, missionary obedience.

Paul L. Davis & Alex Kocman

Paul Davis is president of ABWE. Prior to his appointment in 2017, Paul served as senior pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Holland, MI. He attended Liberty University and Dallas Theological Seminary and holds a master’s degree from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Paul and his wife, Martha, have been married for 28 years, and have both served in numerous roles in Christian ministry and education. They have four young-adult children. Follow Paul on Facebook.Alex Kocman is the Director of Advancement and Communications for ABWE. He serves as general editor for Message Magazine and co-hosts The Missions Podcast. After earning his M.A. in Communication and B.S. in Biblical Studies, he served as an online apologetics instructor with Liberty University and a youth pastor in Pennsylvania, where he now resides with his wife and three children. He was also Director of Long-Term Mobilization for ABWE from 2016-2020. Read his blog or follow him on Twitter.