Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christ in Christmas

Colossians 1:19-20 “In Him (Jesus) all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.”

In the hustle and bustle of the holidays (a contraction of the phrase Holy Days), the focus on shopping for presence, get-togethers with friends and family, and tales of Santa and his reindeer can distract us from the true “reason for the season”.  I warmheartedly remember reciting the Apostle’s Creed in church and saw that it was a simple reminder of the gospel of Jesus Christ because it tells us about the work of God in salvation; that forgiveness of sins and salvation is given by God alone through Jesus, the perfect Savior alone. Fundamentally, the biblical gospel explains God’s plan of salvation is that only our Almighty Creator can rescue people from sin, and Jesus is the Way.

1 Timothy 2:13-15 “I was formerly a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and a violent aggressor. Yet, I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

We tend to think that we are judged by some scales of good deeds verses bad deeds, but that is not how our heavenly Father considers sin against Him and/or our fellow man, which transgresses His holy Word, Will and Way. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Only our sinless Savior Jesus Christ reconciles the scales by His atoning sacrifice on the cross in our place for our sins. Acts 4:12 “ There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved”. Jesus paid to redeem us and that was the purpose of His Christmas arrival. I read an article today that explained that we cannot make ourselves right by our good works, for our good works are always tainted by sin (Isa. 64:6; Gal. 2:15-16; 5:30). No other can save us from our predicament, for “other gods” are but demons in disguise as idols (Isa. 44:9; 1 Cor. 10:19-20). If we are to be saved from our sins and the eternal consequences of them, then the triune Creator God must do all the work of redemption. The church creed spoke only of the redemptive work of Father, Son and Holy Spirit in planning, securing, and applying salvation to God’s people.

1 Timothy 2:3-5 “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth. For there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.”

God is the perfect Creator and the perfect Savior.

Ephesians 2: 8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a results of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

To look for salvation anywhere else but in Him, is to confess, in unbelief, by one’s deeds Jesus, in whom the fullness of deity dwells, is not a perfect Savior of the world, and not the gift of God at Christmas. If there was another way to salvation and heaven, why did Jesus come that Christmas Day and what did He die for? Where is our belief and faith? The article stated that once, we start looking for redemption outside of Jesus or add something to His redemptive work on our behalf, we detract from the glory that belongs to the Lord alone. No error could be more fatal because Creator God, who provided the only Way to salvation through belief and faith, vainly denies God’s power and His glory. John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” Those who look for their salvation and security in some “other” higher power, in nature or the universe, in other people, in themselves, or elsewhere deny that Jesus is the only Savior and make God to be a liar. If there was another way to forgiveness and salvation, then Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection were meaningless, but God (who did not have to provide any way) provide one way in Jesus. Through the incarnation of Christ at Christmas, the Son of God has made God’s glory to dwell perfectly and fully in Christ Jesus (Colossians 1:19-20). The glory has not been given also to our works, Believers before us, other gods, or turning to anything else but Christ alone for salvation. Christ in Christmas is our Savior in our salvation, by the grace of God, through faith in Christ Jesus unto life and life eternal. O’ Holy night when Christ was born. Rejoice!

2 Corinthians 5:17-18a, 21 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ ... He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Merry Christmas, Brian             

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