God into man won’t go – yet has gone!

Christmas is impossible!! I’m not talking about all the planning and the shopping and the cooking which seem to be essential to celebrate Christmas nowadays. I’m not talking about the diplomacy needed to navigate the gift-giving and the parties and the family get-togethers. I’m talking about the historical event at the heart of Christmas. The miracle of the incarnation. The birth of Jesus Christ. God becoming a human being. It’s completely impossible. And if we don’t recognise the impossibility of the Almighty and Eternal God become a human being, we haven’t understood the message of Christmas at all.

Somebody has summed up the mystery of the incarnation very clearly. “God into man cannot go – and yet has gone!” Remember those difficult division problems. How many s in 2? 3 is bigger than 2 so 3 into 2 won’t go. How many 7s are there in 23. The answer was, 7 into 23 won’t go unless you have a remainder. 23 divided by 7 gives 3, remainder 2. And there is the problem at the heart of Christmas. How on earth can God fit into man? God is bigger than man so God into man won’t go. There would have to be a remainder? God into man won’t go! Christmas is impossible!

The Nicene Creed begins, “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.” How can this Almighty and Eternal God, Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, possibly become a human being?

Isaiah prophesied, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) Immanuel. God born as a human being. For a few minutes, let’s think about what God is like. And think what it meant for God to enter this world as a tiny baby. Here are eight wonderful truths which the Bible does reveal to us about God. Bow down and worship, for this is your God!

1. God is Omnipotent – All powerful

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no-one can fathom. (Psalm 145:3)

Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. (Psalm 150:2)

God is Almighty. God can do ANYTHING He chooses.
“Nothing is impossible for God” (Luke 1:37)
God’s Almighty power is only constrained by His Character and His purposes

“Your thoughts of God are too human.” This is where most of us go astray. Our thoughts of God are not great enough; we fail to reckon with the reality of his limitless wisdom and power. Put this mistake right: learn to acknowledge the full majesty of your incomparable God and Saviour.
(Jim Packer)

“God is greater than mind itself. His greatness cannot be conceived. Nay, could we conceive of his greatness he would be less than the human mind which could form the conception. He is greater than all language, and no statement can express him.” (Novatian, 3rd Century)

Philippians 2 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Pause for a moment to consider what it meant for the Almighty God to become a tiny baby. The all-powerful God to become a vulnerable helpless powerless. God into man cannot go – yet has gone!

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour, All for love’s sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender, Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour, All for love’s sake becomes poor.

2. God is Omniscient – All knowing

God has COMPLETE and TOTAL knowledge, understanding and wisdom. God knows everything there is to know about the past, the present and the future
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Psalm 139:6
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isa 55:8-9

Yet the omniscient God gave up all that knowledge to be born as a baby. Without speech or language. “The Word without a word.” Having to learn to talk. God into man cannot go – yet has gone!

3. Omnipresent – Everywhere all the time

God is everywhere and with us all the time
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139:7-10)
God with us – with us all at the same time. Yet the ever-present God limited Himself to one place, to one location, to one time and setting. God into man cannot go – yet has gone!

For He is our childhood’s pattern: Day by day like us He grew;
He was little, weak and helpless; Tears and smiles like us He knew:
And He feeleth for our sadness, And He shareth in our gladness.

4. Eternal – beyond time

God is outside time and beyond time. God is before created time and after created time. Indeed God Himself created time as a dimension in this amazing universe.
I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. Isaiah 46:10
With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. (2 Peter 3:8)
God sees our lives from the perspective of eternity. God is from everlasting to everlasting. Yet the eternal God limited Himself to human time. God into man cannot go – yet has gone!

Philippians 2 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!

The timeless eternal God limited Himself to living out the span of a human life constrained by time. A life which would be limited by death. God into man cannot go – yet has gone!

5. Holy

Set apart, different, pure, Perfect in righteousness and justice
I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. (Deuteronomy 32:3-4)

The God of the Old Testament is a great and majestic and holy God who was totally unapproachable by ordinary mortals. A God so holy that NOBODY could see the face of God and live! A God who is a consuming fire!
And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, So says Moses! 20 Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.
“Fear the Lord” We know so little of “the fear of the Lord” which rightly held the Israelites in reverence and awe and wonder.

This Holy God entered the world polluted by human sin. God opened himself to be hurt by human greed and pride and selfishness and jealousy and hatred.

He came down to earth from heaven, Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable, And His cradle was a stall:
With the poor and meek and lowly Lived on earth our Saviour holy.

God into man cannot go – yet has gone!

6. God is All-loving

God is love. 1 John 4:8
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

The God who IS love entered a world where true love is in very short supply, to live a life of love and sacrifice. God into man cannot go – yet has gone!

7. God is Transcendent

In every way God exceeds, goes beyond, rises above, excels over , surpasses ANYTHING we can begin to imagine. What is God really like? We don’t know – because we CANNOT know! In this life, we see but as in a glass, darkly!

1 Corinthians 10:12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Even if we have a faint glimmering we can never describe what God is like, because human language does not begin to have the words to describe the Divine! Human language is limited – and religious language has become devalued. Consider a word like “awesome”. It used to mean “awesome” – inspiring us to awe and wonder – now it just means mildly interesting. Especially in this age of media and trivia, language has been wasted. Words to describe the really big or really great have been trivialised. There are some words which nobody knows what they mean any more, “Ineffable” meaning indescribable, inexpressible, beyond words, overwhelming). People have lost the language which used to be used to describe the indescribable. Some people attempt to make the deep things of God accessible to folk who are new to Christian things by only using words which everybody can understand. But that reduces the awesome God we are describing to our everyday human level. So I can say without fear of contradiction that, WHATEVER ideas you have about God, your God isn’t big enough! Your ideas about God aren’t great enough!

Yet that transcendent God was born as a tiny baby. God is with us! God into man cannot go – yet has gone!

8. God is Creator

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
John 1 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Creator Sustainer God who was always outside and beyond His Creation entered into His Creation. The author appearing in his own play waiting to see how the ending would turn out. The Creator of the whole universe lying sleeping in a manger because there was no room at the inn.

Lo, within a manger lies He who built the starry skies,
He who throned in height sublime Sits amid the cherubim.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, Nor earth sustain,
Heaven and earth shall flee away When He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

1. Omnipotent – All powerful 2. Omniscient – All knowing 3. Omnipresent – Everywhere all the time 4. Eternal – beyond time 5. Holy 6. All-loving 7. Transcendent 8. Creator

God into man cannot go – yet has gone! The word became flesh, God with us. All for us and for our salvation.

John 1 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
God became a human being so that we could become the children of God. He shared in our humanity so that we can share His divinity. Jesus became what we are so that we could share in what He is. God into man cannot go – yet has gone! Bow down and worship, for this is your God!

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