Rev. Dan Puckett: The Advent began the great rescue of manPublished 8:59pm Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The Christmas message can get lost in all the hubbub surrounding the season. Christmas is a time for families to gather, gifts to be exchanged, festivities to be observed and possibly some time for reflection on what was really going on in the spiritual realm.
The world is in a fallen state; that is, mankind is corrupted by sin. This began when Adam chose against God in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6). The first murder in human history happened right outside this idyllic garden where God intended his best for Adam and Eve and their offspring (Genesis 4:8).
From that day things spiraled downward. Just before the great flood in Genesis, chapter 7, God said, “the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).
The Living God of Heaven is the Great Redeemer. There was always a plan to rescue fallen mankind (Revelation 13:8). That rescue would involve the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.
Before Jesus could die as a man, He had to be born as a man. That is what Christmas is all about. The advent — the incarnation of Jesus Christ the Son of God into human form — came through the miraculous conception of the Christ child by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a young Jewish virgin named Mary. Jesus had to be conceived by God to break the sin cycle that was passed down from generation to generation through the seed of man.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea according to all the prophecies of old, the angels of heaven stood before some shepherds in the hills outside Bethlehem and declared, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).
The story of Jesus is the story of salvation from sin. The angels cried, “Glory to God!” The first and foremost purpose of every activity in heaven and on earth is to glorify God. He is God, there is no other!
“Peace on earth.” The first and most important peace is peace with God. Sin had created enmity between God and man. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ satisfied the judgment of God against man for sin. According to Romans 5:1, when we are “justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We have peace with God first and then peace with our fellow man.
The teachings of Jesus Christ on earth introduced a new way of living. No more was it hate, revenge and self-seeking; now it is, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
That message by the angels that night in Judea should frame our life today. We should glorify God for His unspeakable gift, and for the means and the power to live life above hate and revenge.
Peace on earth and good will toward men. Jesus Christ is the answer. Allowing His life to become our life through His finished work on the cross will empower us for living out the high calling of God in Jesus Christ.
Have a blessed Christmas season!
Tags: The Rev. Dan Puckett