圣诞节12天特别灵修 | 12月27日

12月27日

【约壹4:9】 神差他独生子到世间来,使我们藉着他得生, 神爱我们的心在此就显明了。

基督教年历把今天称为“约翰日”,约翰是使徒、传道者、道成肉身真理的捍卫者。最著名的是他宣告,“道成了肉身,住在我们中间。”

神成为肉身,约翰在他的第一封信里,也思考过这个主题。“论到从起初原有的生命之道,就是我们所听见,所看见,亲眼看过,亲手摸过的。”

神必须要显明这一点,让其成为可见的。谁能想象呢?神成为肉身。神设想了我们所有本质的每一个部分,除了那个如此可怕的——罪,所以,就像约翰写的,“我们藉着他得生”,或者像拿先斯的贵格利所说的,“他没有设想的,他不会拯救。”神不仅变成像我们,他更成为我们中的一个来拯救我们。

约翰还向我们表明:“他爱我们,差他的儿子为我们的罪作了挽回祭”,还表明,“神的儿子显现出来,为要除灭魔鬼的作为”,还表明,“他曾显现,是要除掉人的罪。”

不是每个人都喜欢这一点,约翰认出了那些人:说谎的、假先知、敌基督的,还有那“敌基督者”。他们说着不同的故事,他们“不认耶稣为基督”,不承认耶稣是神成为肉身。

我们有罪的内心喜欢这些。神显明我们要依靠耶稣,而我们的内心显明要靠自己神奇的力量。他显明我们沉溺在魔鬼的作为之中,而我们觉得生活在世外桃源里,认为我们自己没那么坏。他赐下爱来拯救我们,而我们试图靠着自己向神发出的爱去拯救自己。

这些虚谎都是从那些说谎的敌基督的而来,在那位“敌基督者”身上达到顶峰,根据约翰在启示录中所写的,那位“敌基督者”如同羔羊,说话好像龙。就像保罗对帖撒罗尼迦教会所说的,一个不法的人在基督教会中工作,那位“敌基督者”说出巨大的谎言:我们并不是真的需要耶稣诞生或者神成为肉身;在神为我们开始之后,我们就可以自己做必要的事,去配得那永恒的生命。这些谎言让耶稣的死成为无效,如果他的死是无效的,那他成为肉身也是无效的。

约翰说,“不对!”爱不是从我们开始的,爱首先是从神而来,神使他的爱成为可见的:他的儿子被差来,使我们藉着他得生。约翰摸过、触碰过、听过耶稣,我们也是。我们在圣道里听到他的爱:“我的爱在耶稣降生时来临,并且一直来临。”在圣洗礼的坛前,他的爱触摸你;在圣餐礼的桌前,你拿着这可见的、可尝的道,你触碰到神的爱,你吃喝圣子的身体和血,你藉此罪得赦免,你藉此而活。爱从神而来,爱为你而来。

祷告:神啊,感谢你,你的爱使你成为肉身,为拯救我而来。阿们。

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 1 John 4:9 (NIV84)

The Christian calendar names today John’s day. Apostle. Evangelist. Defender of the Incarnation. Most famously, he declared, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” To identify this Word, John stirred the echoes of Genesis: “In the beginning was the Word.
The Word was with God. The Word was God.”

God became flesh. John meditates on this theme also in his first letter. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.”

No wonder God has to show this and make it visible. Who could imagine? God in the flesh. God assumes our nature, all of it, every part, except that one which looms so large—sin—so that, as John writes, “we might live through him,” or, as Gregory of Nazianzus said, “What he did not assume, he did not save.” God didn’t just become like us, he became one of us to save us.

John shows more: “He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” More: “The Son of God appeared . . . to destroy the devil’s work.” More: “He appeared so that he might take away our sins.”

Not everyone likes this. John identifies them: liars, false prophets, antichrists, and the Antichrist. They tell different stories. They “deny that Jesus is the Christ” and fail to acknowledge Jesus in the flesh.

Our sinful hearts love it. God reveals Jesus; we reveal our miraculous bootstraps. He reveals the devil’s work we wallow in and around; we live in cloud-cuckoo land, convinced we aren’t that bad. He sends love down to save us; we send our love to God to save ourselves.

Those fables come from lying antichrists, culminating in the Antichrist, who, according to John in Revelation, looks like Lamb but speaks like Dragon. A lawless man at work in the Christian church, as Paul taught the Thessalonians, the Antichrist breathes out the great lie: We didn’t really need Christmas or God in the flesh. We can do what’s necessary—after God kick-starts us—to merit eternal life. This voids Jesus’ death; if that’s void, so also his incarnation.

“No!” John says. Love begins not with us. Love comes from God first. God made his love visible: His Son sent so that we live through him. John touched, handled, and heard him. So do we. We hear his love in the Word: “My love came down at Christmas and still comes.” His love touches you at the font. You handle his love at his table where you hold this Word, God’s love, made visible—taste-able—and you live through the Son’s body and blood, eaten and drunk for your
forgiveness. Love comes from God. For you.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for the love that caused your incarnation and brought you down for my salvation. Amen.

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