Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas Good News

As a new pastor in a new church here in town, I consider the opportunity to contribute to this column a privilege. I am so thankful for the Kingsburg Press and its service to our community. It is refreshing to have a local paper writing local stories from the local perspective. This column is about that local perspective, but it comes from a specific group of locals⎯the pastors. My pastoral desire is to share a perspective that flows from God Himself. This is a tall order, I know, but God has left us a clear record of His thoughts in His Word, the Bible. It only follows, then, that the Bible should be the beginning, middle, and end of all my thoughts as a Christian pastor.

With the Christmas season approaching, I am concerned that all Kingsburgians do not share a proper perspective of Jesus, the Christmas child. That concern comes from awareness that all of us are sinners, and as sinners our thoughts are naturally skewed regarding God, our condition, and the person and work of Jesus. This natural confusion necessitates that we turn to the Bible, God’s perfect revelation of truth. The Bible insists that God created and owns everything (Genesis 1:1) and, as the perfectly sinless Creator, requires sinlessness of His children (Matthew 5:48). Because we are the descendants of sinful Adam, we are born in sin and rebellion against God (Romans 3:10-18). The penalty for our sins against God is eternal death and punishment (Romans 6:23). Therefore, we are incapable of earning God’s favor (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9). Thankfully, the Bible does not leave us with only this dark and desperate situation.

In Luke 2:7, there is good news! Baby Jesus was born to a virgin named Mary. This miraculous birth is the introduction of God’s gracious plan of salvation. This Christmas season, Jesus must not be viewed as a cute little baby, a good teacher and example for humanity, or a great prophet spreading a message from God. The Bible gives no such description, but states that Jesus is eternal God (Colossians 1:15), eternal Creator (Colossians 1:16), eternal Sustainer of all that is created (1:17), and the sinless sacrifice for sinners (Isaiah 53:4-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Only those who have a proper perspective of baby Jesus will have a proper response to His crucifixion, death, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-5). The proper response will be recognition of one’s sinful condition, rejection of one’s own efforts to please God (Isaiah 55:7), and belief of the truth about Jesus (John 3:16; Romans 10:9). The call of the Christmas Child is crystal clear: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

I will pray for you that this Christmas will be one of worshiping Jesus, the eternal Son of God, and the perfect substitute for sinners, the King of kings and Lord of lords!

*This article was originally published as a column in the Kingsburg Press newspaper.

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