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In Jesus of Nazareth, God gave to the world again a Man, perfect in His humanity, and therefore perfect in His revelation of the facts concerning Himself. In Jesus there was a fulfillment of all that was highest and best in the ideas of God, which had come to men by the revelations of the past. The continuous work of God from the moment when man fell from his high dignity, by the act of his rebellion, and so obscured his vision of God, was that of self-revelation.
Through processes that were long and tedious, judged from the standpoint of human lives, God with infinite patience spoke in simple sentences, shone forth in gleams of light, and so kept enshrined within the heart of man, facts concerning Himself, which man was unable to discover for himself. So degraded was human intelligence, that speaking after the manner of men only, it may be said that it took whole centuries for God to write in the consciousness of the race, some of the simple and most fundamental facts concerning Himself. Man's ruin was so terrible, and so profound, as evidenced by the darkened intelligence, the deadened emotion, and the degraded will, that there was but one alternative open to the Eternal God. Either He must sweep out and destroy utterly the race, or else in infinite patience, and through long processes, lead it back to Himself. He chose the pathway of reconciliation in His infinite grace, at what cost the story of the Christ alone perfectly reveals.
It may be objected that Christ might have been immediately sent, and yet this is utterly to fail to comprehend the depth of the degradation of man. There were many lessons which the race must learn, before it was ready to receive the light that should shine in the Person of the Christ. For instance, man had lost his conception of the unity of God, and was making to himself thousands upon thousands of deities. The history of Israel is the history of the enshrining within the race of the great truth of the unity of God. "Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah."' That was the initial lesson, and yet Israel never learned it fully.
The slowness of the work was due entirely to the ruin of the only instrument through which a perfect revelation could be made. God cannot be as perfectly expressed through any symbol as through a man. Not through a system of ethics could God make Himself known, as through one who lives wholly within His law. In the fullness of time there came into human history the Revealer.
Adapted from The Crises of the Christ, Book I, Chapter V, by G. Campbell Morgan.