Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas from RTM

In thinking about Christmas this year, my mind is drawn to the power of God’s plan. We sing about the tiny baby, wrapped in cloths and laid in a manger. We think of him as helpless infant, cradled in the arms of Mary, just like any other baby would have been. And while these things are certainly true, a much bigger picture was unfolding in the spiritual realm. Here is God, intervening in the dilemma of man. Here is God, in the flesh, interjecting Himself into the suffering of mankind in order to save it.

What makes this even more amazing is that God was saving us from Himself. Every man, from Adam until now, is an enemy of God by his wicked works. God’s holiness cannot tolerate our imperfection. Therefore, God had no choice but to be done with the human race and pour out His infinite wrath upon us all. Yet He did not. When Adam sinned, God did not pulverize him at that very instant. Why did he not? That seems to make God unjust. A just judge does not let the guilty go free. But that very first Christmas, God was introducing the whole of creation to His justice. On that day, divinity burst in to humanity. It was only by this that God could save us. The babe in the manger would grow and take our stead. Christ would stand in the gap, and God would be proven to be just as He poured His infinite wrath down upon His only Son in the last hours of His life. God is not unjust. From the Old Testament saints who, while still sinners, God allowed to live and counted them as righteous, to us now, who carry the stain of sin deep within our flesh, there is one who, while fully divine, learned what it meant to be a man and lay down His life for His brothers. Hebrews 5:7-9 says: “who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”

And even though He laid down His life, it was His to take up again. And now, He, a man, sits at the right hand of God on our behalf, making intercession for us. That is the meaning of Christmas. It is among the greatest of miracles. The angels stood, looking through the portals of heaven, watching as their God became flesh and lowered Himself to live upon a sin-sick world and allowed Himself to be abused, mistreated, and killed at the hands of those He came to save. Oh, how they must have marveled at the Master’s plan.

May we be even more eager to look into His plan to marvel and wonder at a God who loves us so. And if you have not come to Him, humble and repentant, trusting in Him for the salvation of your soul, may you look upon the Christ child and tremble. For the one who came to save will one day be your judge. And he stands ready to dash you against the rocks of His wrath, which you will endure for eternity.

And Mary brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

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