Christmas: The Salvation of God
As I listen to the Christmas carols sung across the system in the store where I work, I am struck by two things:
The first thing that strikes me is the amazing grace of God in salvation. Such phrases as “God and sinner reconciled”, “It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth”, and “Remember Christ our Savior was born on…” remind me of the saving mercies of my God in Christ. The incarnation season is full of joyful reminders that God has blessed me “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3)
The second thing that strikes me is the ignorance of most of those who sing these truths, the significance of what they sing, and the ignorance of most who hear. I am moved to pray that God will open the eyes of many of them to the truth of the Gospel. It is not unusual for people to think of Christ as a savior in some general, benign sense. The moral influence of His life and the Martyrdom of His death are considered noble and significant. But the personal need for a substitute and the remedy for our sin problem are not issues one naturally things of and require the work of the Holy Spirit. That is why we pray that God will not only have mercy on those who listen in blindness and ignorance, but that He will also use those of us who know Him as instruments of grace.
“You shall call His name Jesus.” Jesus comes from the Greek form of the Hebrew Jehoshua and means “deliverer”. Many people are happy to have Jesus “come into their hearts” and be delivered from hell, marriage problems, financial problems, depression or any number of other ills, while holding onto their sins. But deliverance “from” something also means deliverance “to” something. And followers of Christ are not only delivered from hell, they are delivered from their sins and into a new life in Him. In much the same way that Moses delivered the Old Testament people of God from the bondage of Egypt and Joshua delivered them into the land of promise and obedience to God, so the New Testament believer is saved from sin’s power and penalty (and ultimate its presence) until a life abundant in Christ; a life lived to the glory of God (which is the great point of salvation, after all).
This is the burden and glory of Christmas for us: the burden of being surrounded by a humanity in need of a Savior and the glory of a salvation complete in Christ. “Therefore he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25) “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Because of the Saviour,