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God's Continuing Love Enfleshed


									                                         God's Continuing Love Enfleshed

                                           Christmas Coptic Articles Index

                                      :The Glorious Feast of Nativity ●
                                            ?January or 25 December 7
                                   God's Continuing Love Enfleshed ●
                                 Incarnation of the Word - Full Book ●
                The First Coming…Preparation for the Second Coming ●
                              The Genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ ●
                             The Nativity of Christ: A New Covenant ●
                                       Incarnation of the Word Jesus ●
                                          The Shepherd of Shepherds ●
                                              The Star of Bethlehem ●
                                            Wise Men Still Seek Him ●
                                        The Need for the Incarnation ●

Love is the source of righteousness in the heart, a port of understanding, "
  rivers of water for life, and knowing the secrets of both the known and
unknown worlds. Love is a language understood by the angels." (St. John
                                                  )Saba, the Spiritual Elder

                                            God’s Desire to Restore Adam

 The Old Testament records that mankind had fallen, and been driven out
of paradise; but God in His continuing love, desired to restore man to his
        original state. Ezekiel the prophet and priest prophesied this great,
        everlasting, restorative love of God for his people in spite of their
rebellion for which they had deserved to be exiled, and their temple to be
     destroyed. Jerusalem, at the time, "her nativity was from the land of
Canaan and her father was an Amorite and her mother a Hittite" (Ezekiel
  16:3) had been entirely unfaithful to God. That was the status of God’s
               .relationship with Jerusalem and, symbolically, all of Israel

When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was "
        the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your
 nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with
          .)you, and you became Mine, says the Lord God" (Ezekiel 16:8

With these prophetic words, God reinstates His inexhaustible love despite
Israel’s immoral and idolatrous life; and in so doing, He describes an Old
 Covenant relationship to the one Jerusalem He was to be forever faithful

  However, man’s restoration to his original pure state he was created in,
 was practically inconceivable. For, how could the establishment of such
    an eternally necessary, yet lost condition for man's soul be achieved?
Nevertheless, God defied the inconceivable with the only one answer: the
   Incarnation of the Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.
  The Lord Jesus Christ must take upon Himself a complete human body
          through which, on behalf of man's evil ways, He would pay the
 punishment of death man himself should have paid. So great was man’s
                .intent disobedience; and consequently, so great the price

 This heavenly mandate is profoundly expressed in a Letter to Diognetus
                                                             ,)(c. 125-200
      Truly God Himself, who is Almighty, the Creator of all things, and "
 invisible, has sent from Heaven, and placed among men, the One who is
    the Truth, and the Holy and Incomprehensible Word... God did not, as
             one might have imagined, send to men any servant, angel, or
  ruler…Rather, He sent the very Creator and Fashioner of all things—by
      whom He made the Heavens... As a king sends his son, who is also a
                             ".king, so God sent Him. He sent Him as God

                                                   A More Excellent Way

    But before the Lord Jesus Christ was to painfully pay for our sins; He
  would come to show us a real, true, and complete love. The Apostle St.
Paul refers to this love as "a more excellent way" (I Corinthians 12:31). A
                         .new and lasting covenant would be brought about

       The Glorious Nativity was and continues to be a limitless, timeless
                          .measure of God's unceasing love for mankind

    God's unbound love honors man; because firstly, God created man in
 "His image and according to His likeness" (Genesis 1:27). Secondly, He
  Himself became a living, earthly human being. Thus, The Nativity has
  forever established for and imprinted upon us all the presence of God's
   perfect love. The creation of the entire world did not extract from God
   anything other than "Let it be done and it was done". So mankind was
   capable of treasuring creation at no cost at all; neither to nor from God.
 That is why God's redeeming love for the world He had created, its very
salvation, had dearly cost Him to come down from Heaven and take upon
  Him the mundane nuisance and trials of human existence. And the cost,
                                          ...we all know, did not stop there

    Through God's love, the Glorious Nativity heralded the foundation of
                                                      .man's redemption

                       :The Ante-Nicene Father, Irenaeus (c. 180) wrote
  Thus He indicates in clear terms that He is God, and that His Advent "
 was in Bethlehem…God then, was made man, and the Lord did Himself
                                                                ".save us

                                               The Blessings of Incarnation

               ;Many precious blessings are derived from the Incarnation

                  .Most certainly, the most valuable gift is the Holy Spirit

  The comforting Spirit of God promises to abide in and with the faithful
forever, "And I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper,
     that He may abide with you forever. However, when He, the Spirit of
truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on
His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell
you things to come" (John 14:16, 16:13). The Lord Jesus Christ is saying
   that He will go away; but the Helper (God) remains and abides with us

    The Holy Spirit renews creation; so that whoever believes in the Lord
  Jesus Christ and receives the Holy Mystery of Baptism, becomes a new
  creation (II Corinthians 5:17). It is their nativity so to speak. Old things
     are passed away; and new things have come to be. At the moment of
  salvation, through the Holy Mystery of Baptism, man comes into union
 with the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. This is the greatest miracle we witness
                                           .happen in Christianity nowadays
        The Holy Spirit sanctifies the water of Baptism to give a new birth
   (nativity) to the baptized person who then, at that moment, becomes an
                                                     .authentic child of God

 Yes, following baptism, it can be rightfully said that man has become an
         actual child of God. "Behold what manner of love the Father has
 bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God" (I John
  3:1). We have become "sons of God" through the loving Creator’s Son,
 the Lord Jesus Christ "just as He [the Father] chose us in Him [the Lord
 Jesus Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy
                  .)and without blame before Him in love" (Ephesians 1:4

                                   .God’s love poured in the hearts of men

We have often heard preached: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love
  is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. He,
   who does not love, does not know God, for God is Love. In this love of
 God, was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son
 into the world, which we might live through Him" (I John 4:7-9). During
  this time of the Holy Nativity, let us search for a deeper meaning within
   this verse of the younger disciple who has been labeled the "beloved of
 Christ" and discover that "God is love" is not a definition of who God is,
but a revelation of the nature of His relationship to us as our continuously
                                                              .loving Father

St. John's Holy Gospel has often been called the "Spiritual Gospel" whose
    major theme is the eternal Son of God Who has come in the flesh. The
     Holy Gospel of St. John has been written so that we may "believe that
  Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life
in His Holy Name" (John 20:31). Not only has St. John become known as
 "the beloved disciple"; but his great and unceasing love for the Lord, has
     earned him the position of "the theologian," the first among only three
                                                 ...commonly recognized so

       This "Son of Thunder" loved the Lord Jesus Christ while he was a
   fisherman, an apostle, a pillar in the Jerusalem Church, an authority in
     Ephesus, and finally an exile in the island of Patmos. Throughout his
         almost one hundred years on earth, he had reflected to others his
 perpetual love to the Lord. St. John, the Beloved, returned unto the Lord
 His same, freely bestowed love. The beloved apostle had most certainly
                                        ."earned the denotation of "beloved
      For those who had lived during the time of the Glorious Nativity, the
  Incarnation had been the summit of God's continuing loving promises to
              His people; for us the following believers the most important
proclamation of God's love to man. Unlike in the Old Testament prophets'
           times, in the New Testaments times, God came to us with a new
 relationship; one that would never be threatened by evil nor overcome by
   sin. This is what was foretold and would come to be known as the New

The love of the Lord Jesus Christ and His grace far excels our inheritance
from Adam; surpassing the Old Covenant. "But the free gift is not like the
    offense" (Romans 5:15). The saving grace and love of the Lord Jesus
   Christ is free for those who choose to live a life of faith. Righteousness
                                         .)and life are to be One (One God

                                 .Being perpetually in the presence of God

There are many spiritual benefits to the Incarnation; to have eternal life is
        a great spiritual benefit. To be united with God forever is another
important benefit; to enjoy eternal glory is definitely a significant benefit.
      But the most important of all spiritual benefits, it can be said, is the
          .potential of being in the presence of God's perfect love forever

      St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215) in his Ante-Nicene writings,
                                       ,beautifully expressed this by writing
The best thing on earth is the most pious man. The best thing in Heaven, "
  the nearer in place and purer, is an angel, the partaker of the eternal and
    blessed life. But the nature of the Son, which is nearest to Him who is
alone the Almighty One, is the most perfect, most holy, most potent, most
princely, most kingly, and most beneficent. This is the highest excellence,
  who orders all things in accordance with the Father's Will and holds the
                                  ".helm of the universe in the best of ways

  During this season of the Glorious Nativity, may we all return unto the
Lord the continuing, perpetual love He has given unto us first. "Blessed is
               .)He who comes in the Name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39

                                                       Bishop Youssef
          Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

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