Love Has Come Down
Monday of Epiphany 2
16 January 2017
If I possess property, you do not. Our finitude means that we often live in a zero-sum game. If I have a thing, you can not at the same time and in the same way have it. For example, if I buy your home, I own it and you do not. Your property becomes mine by an economic transfer. What's mine is mine; and not yours.
 
Yet, the greatest gifts are not part of a zero-sum game. For example, love is not diminished by being given away. The more we give the more we have. Really! The Son does not love the Father less when He loves us humans and offers Himself for us. The Son has said to us, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love" (Jn 15:9). Love is an overflowing abundance. When we humans conceive and give birth to our children, we are giving something of ourselves over to them. We give them much more than mere genetic material. They are really bits of ourselves. But in this giving we ourselves are not diminished or made less. Rather, we humans are made more than ourselves in begetting. We are completed by the conception and birth of children.
 
God the Father has eternally begotten the Son. He begets Him in such a way that he is not diminished or lessened by being begotten. He does not suffer change; neither increase nor decrease. God is not in a zero-sum game. Since the persons of the Trinity share completely the divine nature, the Father's eternal begetting of the Son does not diminish the Father. Thus, although the Son is a subsisting individual as the second person of the holy Trinity, the Father and the Son are of the same substance. His begetting is the greatest gift of love because He fully shares Himself in this begetting. This Love has come down through the giving of the Son of God to us through the incarnation. He who was eternally begotten of His Father is also born of the Virgin Mary in time and becomes Man for us men.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
 
"We have all these different assurances of the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ: His name, His birth, His nature, His power, His own assertion. As to the name, I conceive that no doubt is possible. It is written, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God' (Jn 1:1). What reason can there be for suspecting that He is not what His name indicates? Does this name not clearly describe His nature? If a statement is contradicted, it must be for some reason. What reason, I ask, is there in this instance for denying that He is God? The name is given to Him, plainly and distinctly, and unqualified by any incongruous addition which might raise a doubt. The Word, we read, which was made flesh, was none other than God. Here is no loophole for any such conjecture that He has received this name as a favor or has taken it upon Himself, so possessing a titular Godhead which is not His by nature.
 
"The Word in very truth is God; the essence of the Godhead exists in the Word, and that essence is expressed in the Word's name. For the name 'Word' is inherent in the Son of God because of His mysterious begotten-ness, as are also the names Wisdom and Power. These, together with the substance that is His by a true birth, were called into existence to be the Son of God . Yet, since they are the elements of God's nature, they are still immanent in Him in undiminished extent, although they were begotten from Him to be His Son. For, as we have said so often, the mystery that we preach is that of a Son who owes His existence not to division but to being begotten.
 
"He is not a segment cut off, and so incomplete, but an Offspring begotten, and therefore perfect. For begetting involves no lessening of the Begetter, and has the possibility of perfection for the Begotten. And therefore the titles of those substantive properties (Word, Wisdom, and Power) are applied to God the Only-begotten, for when He came into existence by being begotten it was these properties which constituted His perfection; and this although they did not thereby desert the Father, in whom, by the unchangeableness of His nature, they are eternally present. For instance, the Word is God the Only-begotten, and yet the Unbegotten Father is never without His Word. Not that the nature of the Son is that of a sound which is uttered. He is God from God, subsisting through a true birth; God's own Son, born from the Father, indistinguishable from Him in nature, and therefore inseparable. This is the lesson which His title of the Word is meant to teach us.
 
"In the same way Christ is the Wisdom and the Power of God; not that He is, as He is often regarded, the inward activity of the Father's might or thought, but that His nature, possessing through being begotten a true substantial existence, is indicated by these names of inward forces. For an object, which has by being begotten an existence of its own, cannot be regarded as a property. A property is necessarily inherent in some being and can have no independent existence. But it was to save us from concluding that the Son is alien from the divine nature of His Father that He, the Only-begotten from the eternal God His Father, begotten as God into a substantial existence of His own, has had Himself revealed to us under these names of properties, of which the Father, out of Whom He came into existence, has suffered no lessening. Thus He, being God, is nothing else than God. For when I hear the words, 'And the Word was God,' they do not merely tell me that the Son was called God, they reveal to my understanding that He is God. Where Moses was called god (Ex 7:1) and others were styled gods (Ps 82:6, Jn 10:34), there was the mere addition of a name by way of title. Here a solid essential truth is stated: 'The Word was God.' That 'was' indicates no accidental title, but an eternal reality, a permanent element of His existence, an inherent character of His nature."

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 7.9, 11
John 15:9-17

 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
 
 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
 
 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.  These things I command you, so that you will love one another.   (ESV)
Prayer
Come down, O Love divine, that I might receive the full measure of Your love through Your incarnation. Help me to see that the more I give of love, the more I have. Amen.
 
For Michael and Clare Staub and their family, from whom the Lord took a stillborn child, that they might be comforted with the knowledge of the glorious resurrection of the flesh and life everlasting with Christ
 
For Michael Golchert, who is suffering a high temperature, that he would be granted healing and a recovery of strength
 
For members of the CTS and CSL Boards of Directors as they meet together this week in Fort Wayne, that they might be safe in their travels and productive in their labors
Art:  DAVID, Gerard  Triptych of Jean Des Trompes (1505)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
©  Scott Murray 2017