Let's Not Forget the Significance of the First Advent
December 4, 2014 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Let’s Not Forget the Significance of the First Advent
Our focus at Oak Hills this Advent is on the second coming of Christ. Every New Testament writer mentions the second coming as a central hope that shapes every Christian and church, so much that Paul describes Christians as those “who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). The challenge for us is that while we celebrate the birth of Christ, can we be described as people loving and looking to and waiting for the coming of Christ?
While we turn our attention to the second coming of Christ, I do not want to downplay the significance of Christ’s first coming. Without the First Advent, the Second Advent would lose much of its “blessed hope.” Why is the First Advent so significant (and, hence, worthy to be celebrated)?
1. The First Advent Focuses on God’s Redeeming Work by Dwelling Among Men. It is no mistake that the angel announced to Joseph that the promised baby would be named Jesus (God saves) and would be called Immanuel (God with us). Without a sufficient substitute in human flesh to take our place in bearing the judgment for our sin, there would never be redemption. There is no other way for God to save humans from sin than the unique God-man. There would be no joy at the second coming of Christ if he did not complete his work on the cross in the first coming.
2. The First Advent Begins what will be Completed with Second Advent. Connected with his work of redemption on the cross, Christ began the work of reversing the effects of the Fall. The sting of death has been removed. The power of sin has been broken. Satan has been defeated. And yet death, sin, and Satan still plague the people of God. In his second coming, Christ finishes what he began in his first coming. We have much to rejoice about in what has already been accomplished and we have much to look forward to in what will be completed.
3. The Hope of Resurrection, connected with Second Advent, was secured with the First Advent. The New Testament writers speak about a transformation of our mortal bodies when Christ returns. Paul says our lowly body will be transformed “to be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21). John says, “When he appears we shall be like him” (1 Jn. 3:2). This hope of a resurrection body is rooted in Christ’s resurrection. Paul emphasizes this in 1 Corinthians 15: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain… Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (v. 14, 18).
Without the completed work of the First Advent, there would be nothing to look forward to with the Second Advent. Our hope and faith, however, are not backwards looking, but future oriented, “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). May the joy in celebrating the First Advent whet our appetites to love the Second Advent.