|Infinite Humility & Self Emptying
Some of Jesus’ statements were especially useful as measures of our sin and his love. Matthew 23:12 is an example. “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled. Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” This idea appears repeatedly throughout scripture.
To many this text is “fly-over territory.” However, this is a mistake, for it is a principle of universal, divine justice. Understanding it unveils the gospel.
Pride must be humbled, and humility must be exalted. In God’s economy there are no exceptions to this principle. It is immutable, eternal, uncompromisable. That is one reason that Christ descended from infinite realms of glory to a squalid stable in Bethlehem. God was humbling him in our place.
You and I are proud. It is the universal root of sin. All disobedience expresses pride. It says, “my way is better than God’s.” Disobedience is a declaration of personal deity. But our pride appears in more subtle ways. It provokes self-righteousness, crtical speech, selfishness, and a host of other evils.
Because God is just this pride must be humbled. When one believes the Gospel their faith unites them with Christ and his humbling becomes ours. This should shake us; for his humbling was infinite. It is not measurable. His status before the incarnation was infinite. Any descent from infinity to a finity is an infinite distance. Therefore, his humbling for us was an infinite humbling. The babe in the manger shows us Infinity reduced to finiteness.
This truth is the measure of our sin. If it took an infinite humbling to atone for our pride then our pride must be infinitely serious in God’s sight.
It is also the measure of God’s love. What kind of love is willing to descend an infinite distance to save infinitely odious creatures? Only an infinite love descends like this, a love that Paul writes, “surpasses understanding” (Eph 3:19).
It is also the measure of our hope. Because justice demands that the humble be exalted, God the Father exalted his Son. He raised him from the grave and seated him at his right hand. This is Good News. Because we are united with him by faith his exaltation becomes our exaltation. God so loved the world that he has made a way for proud sinners to get the exaltation that Christ’s infinite humility deserves.
How should we respond? Pursure humilty. Hate pride. Thank God for the gospel. Revel in the unmerited grace of God. Delight in his love for the unworthy!