William Swan Plumer, the 19th century Southern Presbyterian pastor and theologian, wrote more than most of us have time to read. But you don't want to miss this excerpt from the 21st chapter of his book The Grace of Christ (available here!) on the beauty and glory of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The gospel is richly here, soak in it today and lets it truths permeat your soul:
“Our Lord Jesus Christ became incarnate, was made under the law, lived, acted, obeyed, suffered died and rose again for his people.
He came down to earth that they might go up to heaven.
He suffered that they might reign.
He became a servant that they might become kings and priests unto God.
He died that they might live.
He bore the cross that their enmity might be slain, and their sins expiated.
He loved them that they might love God.
He was rich and became poor that they, who were poor, might be made rich.
He descended into the lower parts of the earth that they might sit in heavenly places.
He emptied himself that they might be filled with all the fullness of God.
He took upon him human nature that they might be partakers of the divine nature.
He made flesh his dwelling place that they might be an habitation of God through the Spirit.
He made himself of no reputation, that they might wear his new name, and be counted an eternal excellency.
He became a worm, and no man, that they, who were sinful worms, might be made equal to the angels.
He bore the curse of a broken covenant that they might partake of all the blessings of the everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure.
Though heir of all things, he was willingly despised of the people, that they, who were justly condemned, might obtain and inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.
His death was a satisfaction to divine justice, a ransom for many, a propitiation for sin, a sweet smelling savour to God, that we, who were an offense to God, might become his sons and daughters.
He was made sin for his people that they might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Though Lord of all He took the form of a servant, that they, who were the servants of sin, might prevail like princes with God.
He, who had made swaddling-clothes bands for the sea, was wrapped in swaddling-clothes that they, who were cast out in their blood, might be clothed in linen white and clean, which is the righteousness of the saints.
He had not where to lay His head that they who otherwise must have laid down in eternal sorrow, might read the mansions in His Father’s house.
He was beset with lions and bulls of Bashan, that his chosen might be compassed about with an innumerable company of angels and of the spirits of just men made perfect.
He drank the cup of God’s indignation that they might for ever drink of the river of His pleasures.
He hungered that they might eat the bread of life.
He thirsted that they might drink the water of life.
He was numbered with the transgressors that they might stand among the justified, and be counted among the jewels.
He made His grave with the wicked that they might sleep in Jesus.
Though He was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was, yet He became a helpless infant, that creatures of yesterday, sentenced to death, might live for ever.
He wore a crown of thorns that all, who love His appearing, might wear a crown of life.
He wept tears of anguish that His elect might weep tears of repentance not to be repented of.
He bore the yoke of obedience unto death that they might find His yoke easy and His burden light.
He poured out His soul unto death, lay three days in the heart of the earth, then burst the bars of death, and arose to God, that they, who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage, might obtain the victory over the grave and become partakers of His resurrection.
He exhausted the penalty of the law that His redeemed might have access to the inexhaustible treasures of mercy, wisdom, faithfulness, truth and grace promised by the Lord.
He passed from humiliation to humiliation, till He reached the sepulcher of Joseph, that His people might be changed from glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord.
He was matchless in grace that they might be matchless in gratitude.
Though a Son, He became a voluntary exile, that they, who had wickedly wandered afar off, might be brought nigh by His blood.
He was compassed about with all their innocent infirmities that He might perfect His strength in their weakness.
His visage was so marred more than any man, that His ransomed might be presented before God without spot, or blemish, or wrinkle, or any such thing.
For a time He was forsaken of His Father that they, whom He bought with His blood, might behold the light of God’s countenance forever.
He came and dwelt with them that they might be forever with the Lord.
He was hung up naked before His insulting foes that all, who believe on His name, might wear a glorious wedding garment, a spotless righteousness.
Though He was dead, He is the firstborn among many brethren.
Through His sorrow His people obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing flee away.
Though He endured the worst things, they do and shall forever enjoy the best things
Wonderful mystery! God was manifested in the flesh! Here is no absurdity, no contradiction, no fiction, and yet a mystery that baffles all attempts to solve it, and dazzles all human and angelic vision. Blessed is he, who is not offended in Jesus. Blessed is he, who loves the incarnate mystery, and rests upon it. It is a mystery of love, of power, of salvation. It is the mystery of Godliness. It is the great study of the inhabitants of heaven, and shall be while immortality endures.”