This Christmas, we have listened carefully to John as he unfolds the great mystery of the incarnation. We say the eternity, person hood, and deity of the Word of God from John 1:1-3. Last week, we began looking at v 14 and the incarnation and dwelling of the Word. Now this morning, as I continue to expound this verse, I want you to see another facet of your Lord Jesus Christ.
As a distillation of monumental Christian teaching, John 1:14 is almost as important as John 1:1. In this Christmas season, it is good for us to consider the nature of the preexistent Christ, as we did last week. Today we will go further, however. John 1:14 shows three additional truths about the Word.
The story of the nativity is wonderful, but Christmas shines best when we think of who Christ is, and what his birth really represents. Jesus’ birth was not merely the birth of some ordinary Jewish child in a small obscure Jewish town. As our text today makes plain, that one that Mary bore was actually and truly God.
Indulgences led to confidence in a merit apart from Christ. In his classic the Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin critiqued the Catholic doctrine of penance. He said Catholics held ‘that there are many helps by which we may redeem sins: tears, fasting, offerings, and works of charity. With these we must propitiate the Lord. … With these we must merit his pardon. For although he has forgiven the guilt through the largeness of his mercy, yet by the discipline of his justice we retains punishment. … When the Scripture says, ‘by the name of Christ,’ it means that we bring nothing, we claim nothing of our own, but rely solely upon the commendation of Christ” (3.4.25). This is a crucial Reformation doctrine. We claim nothing of our own, but rely solely upon the commendation of Christ. This is the matter of today’s sermon. Our whole salvation rests on Jesus Christ and him alone.