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He Did What to Himself?

January 10, 2019

He left His Father’s throne above—
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me!

“Emptied Himself,” Charles Wesley wrote in verse three of this song we’re looking at this week.

“Emptied Himself of all but love,” is what he has us sing about Christ Jesus.

Where ‘d he get that idea, and what’s it mean?

Check this out —

“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.

“He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all.

“When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!

“Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process.

“He didn’t claim special privileges.” (Philippians 2:5-7)

— There are a handful of take-aways for us in all this.

First: “Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.” Sounds great! But wait, that comes in the context of what Christ didn’t do: “He didn’t claim special privileges.” No need to explain the application of that for me and my attitude and actions, how about you?

Second: “When the time came” reminds us of what the Old Testament says: There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, and I commend that entire chapter to you. In fact, if I could assign homework….) I’ve sure been guilty of messing that up by trying to do what I thought was the right thing but it was at the wrong time and, uh, lemme just say it didn’t go well.

Third: “Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process.” Understatement! As Charles Wesley wrote, Christ bled for Adam’s helpless race, meaning that the second person of the Trinity, Christ, as the human being Jesus, died the horrible death of crucifixion. For all of us who are part of Adam’s helpless race. You know, the human race.

Fourth: ‘Tis mercy all, immense and free says the song, telling us we haven’t earned this, nor can we. This is God’s grace at its most extreme.

Fifth: O my God, it found out me!  When we sing that, we’re proclaiming our own faith in this self-emptying Christ and admitting his relentless loving pursuit of us.

Mercy, yessssss!

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