Our human existence was never supposed to be this way. In the beginning we were perfect creations. We walked with God. We had everything we needed to be content and happy, and we were at peace with our Creator. But God didn’t want automatons who would blindly worship him, so he gave us a free will. We could do as we pleased. We could make our own choices. So we did. And to our great horror, we were left with the consequences of our poor choices. Beguiled, bewitched, and bedazzled by the father of lies, we chose death over life, and sold our eternal souls into slavery. Now captured by the one who despises our very existence, we are without hope—for there is no escaping the bondage into which we have willingly given ourselves over to.
God has no option but to remove us from his presence. Since he is a righteous judge, he cannot just set aside our sin. Our transgressions have to be dealt with. We are law breakers before the court of heaven and deserve punishment. Unhappily, we find that we have no mechanism to atone for our own sin. In the end, we receive an eternal life sentence for our crimes.
If our story ended here it would be bleak indeed, but gratefully it does not. For our Creator loved us in spite of what we had done, and devised a plan of rescue.
God would provide a substitute—one who would step into our shoes and stand before the Judge in our place. But who is qualified to stand before God? Only a sinless human can do that, and since none are in our world, God chose himself for that task. The Creator stepped into his creation, donning the skin of those he had made.
On that first Christmas, a baby—fully human and fully God, was born into our world. His mission was to live as one of us, but without sin. This made him uniquely qualified to present himself as a ransom for us.
For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 1 Timothy 2:5-6, NIV
God’s rescue plan is first described way back in Genesis. As we are expelled from Eden, God tells our adversary about the future Champion who will defeat him.
So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:14-15, NIV (emphasis mine)
The greatest love ever shown to mankind was the gift of Jesus. He is the Lamb of God, born into our world so that he might die in our place. Without his atoning sacrifice we had no way to get home. Through Jesus, our relationship with God is restored, and we have all the rights and privileges as sons and daughters of the Most High.
There is just one caveat—the free gift of Christ’s atonement must be accepted. God’s gift is not forced upon us, nor is it ours by default. We must acknowledge that our sin separates us from a Holy God, and then believe that Jesus paid our debt in full through his death and resurrection.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9, NIV
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9, NIV
Perhaps you have questions about what it means to accept God’s free gift of salvation. Pastor Greg Laurie explains it here: http://KnowGod.org
Christmas is the greatest story ever told, about the greatest gift ever given. May you be blessed with the receipt of that gift today!
On the journey toward Home,