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The purpose of Advent

This post is excerpted from “A Deliberate Choice.”

December is for Advent. Historically, Christians have begun their reflections upon the incarnation, not by celebrating it, but by remembering why it was necessary. Advent is not a feast, it is a fast. It is a season for reminding ourselves of what we were without Christ, and of what we would be if He had not come.

The songs of Advent are filled with yearning, for the whole created order still groans and labors under the futility and slavery to which our sin has subjected it. Indeed, we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the day when our bodies will be fully redeemed and we will enter into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. In that day we shall experience full freedom from the ravages of sin, both in body and soul. More than that, the very created order will be restored to a freedom that it has not experienced since Eden.

We anticipate that freedom, but for now we lament. Our lamentation reminds us that these are the very things from which the Son of God came to deliver us. He came down from heaven to free us from our sins. He came to save us from their consequences. In His incarnation, He became one of us in order that He might bear our sins in His own body on the tree. He fully entered into our nature in order that He might fully redeem us.

These are the things that we remember during Advent. These are the things that I want to write about this month. We look back upon our lost state. We look around at what our sins have done to us, to others, and to the created world. We recognize that the Savior has come, but the Savior is still coming. He will rapture His church. He will redeem Israel. He will bring peace like a river. His throne will be forever. He will rule with a scepter of justice. In His kingdom, justice will roll down like waters. O come, O come, Immanuel!

About Kevin Bauder

Kevin T. Bauder is Research Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Not every one of the professors, students, or alumni of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with every opinion that this post expresses.