Christ was Made
Henry Palmieri, New York, USA
It may be profitable to meditate upon seven passages where (in the authorized Version) the word " made " is applied to the Lord Jesus Christ, after making it clear that He was not actually " made " anything. But since the phraseology is so familiar, we retain the word for our present purpose, after remarking that the idea is rather that He "became" these things and not that He was "made" them. Moreover, He " became" without for a moment ceasing to be, what He ever was, very God of very God.
1. "Of a woman" (Gal. 4. 4) - INCARNATION. This is the most startling doctrine ever announced to the world; namely, what is known in theological circles as the Incarnation. It sets forth the Creator becoming man by the door of being “made of a woman." In this, He seems only to be a mere man, but not so. He was the God-man. His conception was unique. There never was, nor will there ever be, another like it. The angelic announcement to the Virgin states this unique mode of conception—" The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee : therefore also that Holy One which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God " (Luke 1. 35). ft has been said, and rightly so, that there is a special signification attached to this expression, " made of a woman." Paul here distinguishes the Lord's birth from all others. If not, why state a known fact of common experience? Would not that be wasting words ? Surely this is not the case. Have you ever read a biography which stated " he was born of a woman " ? No, and there is no reason to. Here Paul is testifying to His divine pre-existence as the Eternal Son and by supernatural birth becoming man. This doctrine then can be told briefly. Clod has become man in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
" Amazing, that the Christ of God,
The Lord's Anointed King,
To take the guilty rebel's place,
To put away his sin,
And sinners ransomed by His blood
Back unto God to bring,
Should come to earth as Jesus—
The lowly Nazarene."
2. "Of the seed of David " (Rom. I. 3)—DELINEATION. Matthew tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of David, and as such He is the King who is to reign on the throne of David (Isa. 9. 6, 7). He descended from David through His mother, the Virgin Mary, who was Heli's daughter. This being the case, He had full legal title to the throne. " Consonant with his purpose to set forth the Christ in His kingly majesty as the One ' born King of the Jews,' Matthew traces the royal lineage from Abraham through ' David the king.' Luke, whose object was to delineate the glory of Christ's humanity as the Son of Man, traces His ancestry back to ' Adam, the son of God ' (Luke 3. 23-38). In both cases, the genealogy was essential, the one to prove His kingly claims (cp. Jn. 18. 37) and the other to show that His humanity belonged to the race " (A. E. Long).
" All nations soon shall praise Him, And speak His wondrous fame, When Christ the Lord's Anointed Shall take His power and reign ; All that hath breath shall praise Him His Name alone shall be Through Heaven and earth exalted, And praised eternally."
3. "Like unto His brethren" (Heb. 2. 17)— IDENTIFICATION. Here we have one of the main purposes of the Incarnation. The object of His being " made like unto His brethren " was for the work of propitiation and thus He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest. In order for Him to take hold of the seed of Abraham (believers on Him), it was imperative that Fie should be " made like unto His brethren." This verse then teaches the position our Lord Jesus Christ assumed as the One who alone could come to the help of poor helpless, hopeless and hell-bound sinners. And in order to provide salvation for mankind, He had to become Man. " For verily the Lord did not undertake the cause of angels, but that of the seed of Abraham, and in order to proclaim the work that was necessary for them and to represent them efficaciously and really before God, He must needs put Himself into the position and the circumstances into which that seed were found, though not the state they were personally in " (J.N.D.).
" Though in the very form of God,
With Heavenly glory crowned,
Thou didst partake of human flesh,
Beset with sorrows round.
Thou wouldst like sinful man be made
In everything but sin.
That we as like Thee might become,
As we unlike have been."
4. "Himself of no reputation" (Phil. 2. 7) — HUMILIATION. The blessed Christ of God emptied Himself that we believers might be filled. What humiliation! He could go no lower. Indeed, He "was stripped of all His glory and His rights, at Calvary, that we might be clothed and stand before, our God in all the infinite worth and beauty of His own dear Son " (A.V.K.). He was rich, for our sakes became poor; He had not where to lay His head; He had no money to pay the tax ; no colt to ride upon ; no place in which to keep the Passover ; and no grave in which to be buried.
" Oh, what wondrous love and mercy—
Thou didst lay Thy glory by;
And for us didst come from Heaven
As the Lamb of God to die !"
Thou wast poor that we might be rich in glory, Lord, with Thee.
5. "A curse" (Gal. 3. 13)— DEGRADATION. What a wonderful message is this, redeemed from the curse of the law. How ? By " Christ being made a curse for us." The curse was the sentence pronounced upon those who did not obey the law's demands. And who could ? So the offender fell under the wrath of a righteous God. But the Lord Jesus Christ bore its curse, thus redeeming and liberating those who were subject to this curse, who now believe on Him. He never violated God's law. He was perfect. God's Son, God's only begotten Son, God's Son in whom was all His delight. Yet, He became man to redeem those who were under the sentence of the law. But redemption is ours, for being under the curse, as Paul states, Christ made Himself that curse. What a glorious message indeed, that the Lord Jesus Christ exhausted for the believer—who before was subject to the law and guilty of breaking it—all the curse that it pronounced on the guilty.
" Beneath the curse, in grace He dies—
He dies for sinful men ;
Redeemed we upward turn our eyes—
Lo, Jesus lives again."
6. "Under the law" (Gal. 4. 4)—OBLIGATION. As to the Lord Jesus Christ's responsibility, He was " made under the law," taking His place as others, subject to its demands. As through the law man is under the sentence of the law, the Lord Jesus puts Himself under the law also. He places Himself in the position where man is found, in grace, though not the state they were personally in, " but with the responsibility that belonged to it—a responsibility which He alone has met." Of necessity He kept the law for He was sinless. He never came under its curse for He never failed, and, because He never failed, He was able to go to Calvary's cruel Cross and give Himself a ransom for many, to bear the curse of the broken law, to redeem them that were under it, " That we," states Paul, " might receive the adoption of sons."
" Behold I come, O God, to do Thy will,
Become Incarnate God with men to dwell;
Thy law to keep, its righteousness fulfil,
To conquer sin and Satan, death and hell."
7. " Sin for us " (2 Cor. 5.21)—RECONCILIATION. This is the solid basis of the marvellous ministry of reconciliation. Christ was " made sin for us." Are they not wonderful words ? Can we enter into them ? Can we fathom their depths ? I think not. Under the Levitical economy when sin was charged to any Israelite, he was to bring an offering before Jehovah, put his hand on the head of the victim, thus typifying the transferring of his guilt to the victim, who is made " sin " or a " sin-offering " (for I understand the word is identical in both Hebrew and Greek), and it was slain in his stead. "The sin-offering was presented to God of old as the ' sin ' of the one who presented it" (F.W.G.). Seeing that the Lord Jesus Christ had no sin of His own, for the Offerer must be spotless to be accepted, He stood before God as identified with our sins which He took and which were placed upon Him and bore their awful judgment. He not only bore our sins in His own body on the tree, but He was made sin, being charged with the entire sin-question.
If to get the full meaning of this text, we take special notice of the contrast made between " sin " and " righteousness," we will adoringly exclaim " Him ... sin for us " and then " we . . . righteousness of God." Glory be to God.
" All thy sins were laid upon Him,
Jesus bore them on the tree ;
God who knew them, laid them on Him,
And believing, thou art free."