Johann Arndt (1555-1621): O excellent gift of God!

Johann_Arndt

A merry Christmas to you all! Today we remember the greatest gift anyone ever received: Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, our Lord and Saviour. In the words of Lutheran theologian Johann Arndt (1555-1621):

“Thy mercy, O Lord, has made thee all our own, and put a title to all thy merits into our hands. When thou becamest a tender infant, it was wholly for our sakes, unto whom thou art ‘born a child.’ Isa. 9:6. When thou wast made an offering for our sins, and when thou wast slain as an innocent lamb on the cross, it was to give up thyself unto us, and freely to impart unto us all things beside. O excellent gift of God! a good wholly appropriated to us, even our own peculiar good and treasure!

(a) Behold! beloved Christian, the wisdom of God! God has by means of this everlasting good made himself our own property, that he might thereby in return make us his own. For having purchased us ‘with a price,’ we are no longer our own, but his who hath bought us. 1 Cor. 6:19, 20. For whosoever receives so excellent a gift, receives also the Giver himself, from whom it proceeds. And again, whosoever possesses any good as his own, he makes it his own to all intents and purposes, and to the best advantage he can. Thus, likewise, is Christ become thy own and proper good. Thou canst apply him in such a manner, as to obtain by him everlasting life and salvation.

(b) Christ is become the true medicine of thy soul, to restore thee—thy meat and thy drink, to refresh thee—thy fountain of life, to quench thy thirst—thy light, in darkness—thy joy, in sadness—thine advocate, against thy accusers—wisdom, against thy folly—righteousness, against thy sin—sanctification, against thy unworthiness—redemption, against thy bondage—the mercy-seat, against the judgment-seat—the throne of grace, against thy condemnation—thy absolution, against thy fearful sentence—thy peace and rest, against an evil conscience—thy victory, against all thine enemies—thy champion, against all thy persecutors—the bridegroom of thy soul, against all rivals—thy mediator, against the wrath of God—thy propitiation, against all thy trespasses—thy strength, against thy weakness—thy way, against thy wandering—thy truth, against lying and vanity—thy life, against death. He is thy counsel, when thou hast none to advise thee—thy power, in the midst of thine infirmities—thy Everlasting Father, when thou art forsaken and fatherless—thy Prince of Peace, against the adversary—thy ransom, against thy debt—thy crown of glory, against thy reproach—thy teacher, against thy ignorance—thy Judge, against thy oppressor—thy King, to destroy the kingdom of Satan—thine everlasting High Priest, to intercede for thee.”

– Johann Arndt (1555-1621), True Christianity (Sechs Bücher vom Wahren Christenthum), II.i.4.

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