[the] entire preparation of the incarnation in the preceding centuries is concentrated, as it were, and completed in the election and favoring of Mary as mother of Jesus. Mary is the blessed one among women. She received an honor bestowed to no other creature. In the undeserved favor granted her, she far exceeds all other people and all other angels. Rome was right in maintaining this; those who deny it are not taking the incarnation of God seriously…Among all Protestants who confess the incarnation of the Word, Mary is held in high esteem. She was chosen and prepared by God to be the mother of his Son. She was the favored one among women. Christ himself desired her to be his mother, who conceived him by the Holy Spirit, who carried him beneath her heart, who nursed him at her breast, who instructed him in the Scriptures, in whom, in a word, the preparation of the incarnation was completed.
The doctrine of Christ is not the starting point, but it certainly is the central point of the whole system of dogmatics. All other dogmas either prepare for it or are inferred from it. In it, as the heart of dogmatics, pulses the whole of the religious-ethical life of Christianity. It is ‘the mystery of godliness’ (1 Tim. 3:16). From this mystery all Christology has to proceed. If, however, Christ is the incarnate Word, then the incarnation is the central fact of the entire history of the world; then, too, it must have been prepared from before the ages and have its effects throughout eternity…the incarnation is not an incidental decree that emerged later: it was decided and determined from eternity. There was not time when the Son did not exist; there was also no time when the Son did not know he would assume and when he was not prepared to assume the human nature from the fallen race of Adam. The incarnation was prepared from eternity; it does not rest in the essence of God but in the person. It is not a necessity as in pantheism, but neither is it arbitrary or accidental as in Pelagianism.
“…the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world.” –Revelation 13.8
“…you were ransomed…with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot, who was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last time for your sake.” –1 Peter 1:18-20
“Jesus Christ and him crucified… a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory” –1 Corinthians 2:1,7
Today, I just want to briefly introduce the Lent series I’ll be doing (while listening to some free Lenten music!). It will be a meditation on an idea that only explicitly appears a few times in the Bible, but it’s truth echoes throughout the Scriptures. It’s mind-boggling in both its scope and implication, and yet gets so little treatment from mainstream Protestantism.
The idea? That Christ was slain in eternity past–before anything was; before any sin had been done by a single human.