Advent Reflection 9: Going the Whole Way

The cross was the reflection (or say rather the historic pole) of an act within Godhead. The historic victory was the index and the correlate of a choice grid a conquest in Godhead itself. Nothing less will carry the fulness of faith, the swelling soul, and the Church’s organ voice of liturgy in every land and age. If our thought do not allow that belief we must reduce the pitch of faith to something plain, laic, and songless, and, in making it more homely, make it less holy, less absolute, less adoring. The adoration of Christ can only go with this view of Him in the long run. Nothing lower takes with due seriousness the superhuman value of the soul, the unearthliness of our salvation, and its last conquest of the whole world. It would reduce the unworldly value of the soul if it could be saved by anything less than a Christ before the worlds. It came upon me, as upon many at the first it must have mightily done, that His whole life was not simply occupied with a series of decisions crucial for our race, or filled with a great deed then first done; but that that life of His was itself the obverse of a heavenly eternal deed, and the result of a timeless decision before it here began. His emergence on earth was as it were the swelling in of heaven. His sacrifice began before He came into the world, and his cross was that of a lamb slain before the world’s foundation. There was a Calvary above which was the mother of it all, His obedience, however impressive, does not take divine magnitude if it first rose upon earth, nor has it the due compelling power upon ours. His obedience as man was but the detail of the supreme obedience which made him man. His love transcends all human measure only if, out of love, he renounced the glory of heavenly being for all he here became. Only then could one grasp the full stay and comfort of words like these “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Unlike us, he chose the oblivion of birth and the humiliation of life. He consented not only to die but to be born. His life here, like His death which pointed it, was the result of his free will. It was all one death for him. It was all one obedience. And it was free. He was rich and for our sakes became poor. What he gave up was the fulness, power, and immunity of a heavenly life. He became “a man from heaven.”’ – Peter T. Forsyth, The Person & Place of Jesus Christ: The Congregational Union Lecture for 1909 (London: Congregational Union of England and Wales/Hodder & Stoughton, 1910), 270–2.

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