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Sermon #2200 — Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: “A Body hast
Thou Prepared Me”
Text: Hebrews 10:5
Subject: Christ’s Body Prepared by God
Date: Tuesday Evening – December 23, 2014
Readings: Mark Henson and Merle Hart
My text is Hebrews 10:5. — Hebrews 1:5. Here we have the words of our Savior to the Triune Jehovah as he was coming into this world in our flesh. Indeed, it appears to me, these words were spoken by our Lord Jesus when he stepped forward as our Surety and assumed all responsibility for our souls before the world began, spoken by him as he came into that body prepared for him in Mary’s virgin womb by the overshadowing power of God the Holy Ghost, and spoken by God’s Firstborn when he broke his mother’s womb coming into this world to save his people from their sins.
(Hebrews 10:5) Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
You have the title of my message in the last line of our text. — “A Body hast Thou Prepared Me.”
Proposition: If the Son of God would be our Redeemer and Savior, it was necessary for him to become one with us, one of us, God in our nature, Immanuel. — Therefore, in order to redeem and save his people, a body was prepared for him in Mary’s virgin womb.
Let me repeat what I have told you often. It was not necessary for the Lord of glory to redeem and save anyone. The Triune God is independent and self-sufficient. He does not need us! There is nothing man could do to cause God to save him. But, having purposed to be gracious, having purposed to save a people for the glory of his name, the only way it could be done was for God himself to take humanity into union with himself.
(Hebrews 2:16-17) “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. (17) Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”
That is exactly what we are told in our text. Let’s begin reading at Hebrews 10:1. —
(Hebrews 10:1-5) “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (2) For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. (3) But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. (4) For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. (5) Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.”
“Wherefore” — Because there was no other way of atonement whereby God could be both a just God and a Savior, whereby he could both forgive our sins and satisfy his own holy law and justice, — “when he cometh into the world,” — At that precise moment in time when the Son of God entered into Mary’s virgin womb, as he was entering that holy thing prepared in the womb of the virgin by God the Holy Spirit, — “he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not,” — Because no sacrifice would do but the sacrifice of one who is both God and man in one glorious being, — “but” — because God found a way to save sinners in the person of his own dear Son, — “a body hast thou prepared me.” Because it pleased God, the great, glorious, triune Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to make an external manifestation of his divine glory, a body was prepared for his Son in the womb of the virgin by the Holy Spirit, a body which our blessed Savior gladly took into everlasting union with himself.
The Mystery of Godliness
(1 Timothy 3:16) “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
This is, indeed, the great mystery of godliness — God manifest in human flesh! As we consider this great mystery, the mystery of the incarnate God, let us do so with reverent, believing hearts. If Moses, when he stood before the burning bush, was required to take off his polluted shoes, how much more must we, as we stand before the incarnate God (of whom the burning bush was but a type), take off the polluted shoes of carnal curiosity, speculation, and reason! We must stand here, upon this holy ground, upon the bare feet of reverence and faith.
J. C. Philpot wrote, “The sacred humanity of the blessed Lord consists of a perfect human body and a perfect human soul, taken at one and the same instant in the womb of the virgin Mary, under the overshadowing operation and influence of the Holy Ghost.”
That is the meaning of the angel’s message to Mary…
(Luke 1:35) “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
Divisions: I want to show you three things from the Scriptures about the preparation of our Lord’s body.
First, understand this: — A body was prepared for the Son of God in eternity, in the everlasting covenant of grace. Our Savior was not a man before he came into this world. Neither his human body nor his human soul are eternal. Yet, his human nature was prepared by God in predestination, in the arrangements of the covenant of grace, before the world began.
(Psalms 139:13-16) “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. (14) I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (15) My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. (16) Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”
The incarnation of our Savior has always been the purpose of God. I am convinced, as I have stated from this pulpit many times, that when God made Adam in his own image and likeness (Genesis 1:27), he had in mind’s eye that Man who, in the fulness of time would come, who would be “the express image of his person” (Hebrews 1:3) — Jesus Christ our Lord.
It is true, God made man in his moral image and likeness, with intellect, emotion, and will, in innocence, righteousness, and holiness. It is true, God made man in his moral image and likeness, with intellect, emotion, and will, in innocence, righteousness, and holiness. But there is more to it than that. — The Lord God made the first Adam in the moral and physical image and likeness of that great second Adam, who was set up in the mind of God from everlasting, before ever the world was made. Hear what our Savior himself says about that in the 8th chapter of Proverbs (Proverbs 8:22-31).
(Proverbs 8:22-31) The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. (23) I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. (24) When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. (25) Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: (26) While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. (27) When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: (28) When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: (29) When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: (30) Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; (31) Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
Prepared in Time
Second, the Word of God tells us that in the fulness of time God prepared a body for his Son in the womb of the virgin by the supernatural power of his Spirit (Matthew 1:18-25).
(Matthew 1:18-25) Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. (19) Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. (20) But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. (21) And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (22) Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, (23) Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (24) Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: (25) And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
Our Lord’s human body and soul were prepared in the virgin’s womb by power of the Highest and overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, without the aid of a man, so that he might have no sin. His body and soul came forth from the virgin’s womb in perfect holiness, so that he might bring in everlasting righteousness for us. God the Holy Spirit prepared a body for God’s Son in which he would be able both to obey the law of God and suffer the penalty of the law to the full satisfaction of divine justice for his people.
The word translated “overshadow” in Luke 1:35 has the idea of enveloping in brilliance with supernatural power and ability. God the Holy Ghost did a miraculous, supernatural, glorious thing in Mary. — He formed the God-man in her!
Now, I want you to see four things clearly, with regard to the glorious humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Our Lord assumed a real human body.
It was necessary that he assume our nature if he would be our Redeemer (Hebrews 2:10, 11, 17, 18). Man has sinned; therefore, man must obey. Man had sinned; therefore, man must suffer.
(Hebrews 2:10-11) For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (11) For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.
(Hebrews 2:17-18) Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (18) For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
The Scriptures show us plainly that the Son of God assumed a real, human nature (Philippians 2:7; John 1:14; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 2:14). Yet, the nature he assumed was not fallen, sinful, mortal nature, but perfectly holy and sinless (Hebrews 7:26-28).
(Hebrews 7:26-28) For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; (27) Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. (28) For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
Our Lord was “made flesh”, real flesh. But he was made “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” not in reality sinful flesh. He was made of a woman, the woman’s seed. He took his flesh not from man, but from a virgin’s womb (Genesis 3:15; Galatians 4:4-5).
(Galatians 4:4-5) But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (5) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Once our Lord assumed our nature it became his own nature forever. He did not merely assume humanity like a garment, to be laid aside after redemption’s work was done. Christ took humanity into indissoluble, indestructible union with himself. Though he died upon the cross, death did not dissolve this union. While his immortal, incorruptible body lay in the tomb, his human soul was in Paradise. Body and soul were separated. But humanity and divinity were not. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, having assumed our nature, is forever one of us. He is really, and truly, and forever “the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus Christ our God is a real man.
2. Secondly, our Lord’s humanity is a nature, not a person.
At first glance, this may not seem important, but it is a very important distinction. Because our Lord is one Person with two natures, all that he did and suffered as a man is stamped with the virtue and merit of Deity.
3. Thirdly, the forming of this holy thing, the human body and soul of our Lord was an act of all three Persons in the Trinity.
In all things the three persons of the Godhead are one, always working together to accomplish the eternal purpose of grace: In creation (Genesis 1:1-2; John 1:1-3) – In Salvation (Ephesians 1:3-14), and – In the Incarnation.
This is the great wonder of heaven (Revelation 12:1-5).
(Revelation 12:1-5) And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: (2) And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. (3) And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. (4) And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. (5) And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
4. Fourthly, the human body of our Lord Jesus is perfect, holy, incorruptible, immortal humanity.
Our Lord Jesus, you will remember, “laid down” his life. It could not be taken from him (John 10:16-18). He “gave up” his life. He did not lose his life (John 19:28-30). His body was not susceptible to sickness, disease, decay, and death, because his body was not susceptible to sin.
His human nature is intrinsically holy and pure (Luke 1:35). It is essentially without sin. Not only is it true that our Lord Jesus had no sin and knew no sin, but he was and is incapable of committing sin.
This is the glorious humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ. All this and infinitely more is included in these words which fell from the lips of our Lord as he came into the world, “a body hast thou prepared me.”
His Mystical Body
Lastly, I want you to see this and rejoice. — Those words which fell from our Savior’s lips, “a body hast thou prepared me” also reveal the sure salvation of God’s elect because as God prepared our Lord’s physical body in Mary’s womb by the overshadowing power of the Holy Ghost, so he prepares our Savior’s mystical body, the church, for him.
As the Lord God prepared a physical body for our Lord Jesus Christ, in which he fulfilled all righteousness and accomplished eternal redemption as the federal Head and Representative of his elect, he has also prepared a spiritual, mystical body for his Son as the Mediator of his elect and the Surety of the covenant. The church of God is the fulness of Christ as his mediatorial body (Ephesians 1:22-23). As God, Jesus Christ needs us for nothing; but as the Mediator, Christ must have all his elect, every member of the church which is his body, that he may be complete and full in his mediatorial glory. In order that Christ may enjoy the fulness of his glory as the Mediator of the covenant, a body of elect sinners has been prepared for him.
The Lord God prepared a body for his Son in eternal election. All the elect were chosen in union with Christ as his body before the world began (Ephesians 1:3-4). Christ was chosen to be our Head. And we were chosen in him. And the salvation of that elect body is as sure and certain as the exaltation and glory of Christ himself.
This body, the whole church of God, has been prepared for Christ by the satisfaction of divine justice (Romans 3:24-26). God’s chosen ones, before they could be brought into union with his him, must be both redeemed from all sin and made perfectly righteous before the law. It is true, Christ himself has made us righteous and redeemed us to God by his own obedience and death. But the scheme of redemption was devised by the Triune God for the glory of Christ, that he might have a body of redeemed sinners for his praise (Job 33:24; Ezekiel 16:62-63).
(Ezekiel 16:62-63) And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: (63) That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD.
And the church of God’s elect is a body prepared and made ready for Christ by God the Holy Spirit in regenerating grace (Ephesians 1:20-23; Colossians 1:12-14). In the new birth the Spirit of God gives each of God’s elect, those men and women redeemed by Christ, a new, holy, righteous nature. The righteousness of Christ imputed to us in justification is imparted to us in regeneration, making us “partakers of the divine nature.” By making us righteous, sanctified, giving us to be partakers of the divine nature, God makes us a body prepared for Jesus Christ, his dear Son.
Do you remember what I told you about the overshadowing of Mary by God, when our Lord Jesus was formed in her womb? We read about it in Luke 1:35.
(Luke 1:35) And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
The word translated “overshadow” has the idea of enveloping in brilliance with supernatural power and ability. God the Holy Ghost did a miraculous, supernatural, glorious thing in Mary. — He formed the God-man in her! That is exactly how sinners are born again.
(Colossians 1:12-14) Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: (13) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (14) In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
As Christ the Lord was formed in Mary’s womb by a supernatural, irresistible, omnipotent overshadowing of the Highest, so Christ is formed in us, the Hope of Glory! — Oh, may God be pleased to form him in you!