(2:9) The King Who Indwells

Naturally also, through this union of the immortal Son of God with our human nature, all men were clothed with incorruption in the promise of the resurrection. For the solidarity of mankind is such that, by virtue of the Word’s indwelling in a single human body, the corruption which goes with death has lost its power over all. You know how it is when some great king enters a large city and dwells in one of its houses; because of his dwelling in that single house, the whole city is honored, and enemies and robbers cease to molest it. Even so is it with the King of all; He has come into our country and dwelt in one body amidst the many, and in consequence the designs of the enemy against mankind have been foiled and the corruption of death, which formerly held them in its power, has simply ceased to be. For the human race would have perished utterly had not the Lord and Savior of all, the Son of God, come among us to put an end to death.

“Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5

Athanasius is touching upon something here that theologians call “common grace.” God has not left us to our own devices. He will not yet leave us to stew in our own juices. No human being has ever experienced the absence of God. There is a common grace given to all mankind – the beauty of creation, the joy of loyal friendship, the bittersweet longing that the arts can draw out, the itch to explore and discover, the wholesome pleasure that comes with experiencing goodness, etc. God has not left us alone in our wretched state. In Colossians, Paul tells us that in Him all things are held together. If He were to let go for a moment, everything would disconnect and fall apart instantly. The fact that we all have a sense of right and wrong innate within us is a common grace. The longing we all have to love and be loved is a common grace. The deep desire for fullness of life is common grace. The fact that we all somehow know that freedom is inherently better than tyranny is a common grace. The fact that fruit is sweet is a common grace. The fact that babies are cute is a common grace. The fact that procreation is highly enjoyable = common grace. When we deliberately think about the simple pleasures of existence, we see that God has loaded planet Earth with grace after grace, gift after gift. Yes, there are some dark elements in this fallen world, but they do not outnumber the ways creation evokes the splendors of eternity. If the darkness overpowered the light, there would be no hope at all. Thankfully, by making His abode with us, He has ruled out the possibility of that ever happening.

The Incarnation of God as a human is the sweetest common grace there is. Everybody benefits from it whether they know it or not. The life of that Galilean carpenter has permeated all of human history. The poor and obscure have found reason to hold their heads high and invincible rulers of empires have been reduced to utter irrelevance by the life of this dusty rabbi. His life, words, actions, death and resurrection have so reverberated throughout every square inch of human history, it is nearly impossible to imagine a world in which these events never took place. Such a world is too dark to imagine. In Romans 1, Paul draws up a pencil sketch of common grace; God has revealed Himself to every human to such an extent that none can feign ignorance of Him. The sharp edge of this sweet reality is that we all know much more than we claim to. We each hold deep within us an ache for Eden. We carry this around with us and long for our home. This 2,000 year old Galilean carpenter-rabbi has irrevocably thrown open the possibility of our heart’s true home being infinitely available. Augustine said that our hearts are restless unless they find their rest in Him. It might also be said that our hearts find our home in Him. What a blessed state to live after His coming! I cannot imagine the darkness we would be drowning in had He not appeared.

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~ by shardsofeternity on September 3, 2012.

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