Saturday, December 10, 2016

Why Christmas? (2)

2. In Christmas we learn who we really are in Christ.

“But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” -Galatians 4:4,5

Here in Galatians, Paul speaks also about what Christmas means for us as followers of Jesus. Not just for the whole of creation, but for us as individuals.

He clarifies for the Galatians the difference between, on the one hand, human attempts at salvation—permanent and constant failures, the religions of the world—and on the other, God’s true plan to save us. Here he also clarifies that the Law was just one part of that plan. The Law saves no one.

Paul’s argument begins back in chapter three where he asks the Galatians where their hope rests. Is it in fleshly works, or in spiritual faith? He explains through the story of Abraham—who lived long before the Law—that truly being made right with God depends on faith. Then in verse ten Paul begins to show them the true role of the Law. It both places us all under a curse by exposing our sins and, it teaches us the kind of holy life that God desires from His people.

The sort of life that we can never accomplish.

Jesus, however, did live that sort of life.

True Christianity is no mere religion—man’s attempts to heal what has been broken—it is a restored relationship with God, won for us by Christ. The way of the Christian lies in trusting God and following Jesus; in being changed by God’s Spirit and not our works.

For an illustration of how this concept works, see the post on Jenga from a couple days ago.

So, do we want to continue to live a life following moral rules that we can never fulfill, or do we want to experience life being transformed into true, good, as God intended us to be, humanity? Jesus is offering us the choice to become the later.

Paul closes out this part of his argument in verses 8 through 11 of chapter four. How can the Galatians, set free from the curse of legalism, go back to it? We even see that Paul tells the Galatians they should not celebrate days and seasons religiously. That doesn’t mean that holidays and celebrations are bad. We just need to remember that pleasing God does not revolve around such things.

When you saw people struggling to come up with the meaning of Christmas is yesterday’s clip did you feel a hint of pride? Are we any better than them because we know what Christmas is all about? We have no grounds for boasting. We should merely feel thankfulness towards God and perhaps a concern for the people who do not yet know the love of God that we celebrate.

Because when we truly experience the meaning of Christmas, we can’t keep it to ourselves and simply enjoy it. To truly grasp the meaning of Christmas drives us to join God in His plan…

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