God our Redeemer

~By Meg Saunders

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth . . . the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end’”
(Luke 1:26,30-33).

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons”
(Galatians 4:4-5).
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God, thank You that You are our Redeemer!

Joy, to the world, the Lord is come!” as the Christmas carol proclaims.  Jesus Christ’s coming into the world is God’s decisive action to redeem every human from our sin.  This is what salvation is all about.  Immanuel, God with us is a climax like no other.  From His entrance into time and space His character is made known.  First, love is revealed.  God comes in love, seeking us in order to display the magnitude of it for every human life.  (See John 3:16-17, above).

He also comes personally.  Notice the narrative from the Christmas story in Luke 1.  Jesus doesn’t just arrive into the world in a spaceship or sprouting up like a flower out of the ground.  No, He comes as a result of promised prophecies (see last week’s First Thoughts) and the convent God made with His people.  At no time did God give up in the waiting.  At no time was God’s plan of redemption and restoration of humankind derailed.  Jesus was born like every other human being to show us the full extent of His love in personal form. Likewise, as a result of His decision to redeem us, we become His adopted children.  In other words, we are no longer orphaned or separated from God by our sin.  But we now have an opportunity to become His child — fully loved, fully forgiven, and fully received (see Galatians 4:4-5, above).

Lastly, Christ’s coming also came at a cost.  It wasn’t a fanciful fairy-tale or some sentimental children’s story. No, because of the severity of sin and the havoc it wreaks on human relationships, both in brokenness and fracture (the column from two week’s ago) — God’s plan of salvation included decisive action to restore us. The story of Christ’s birth is also then the story of His death and resurrection.  After all, He didn’t come just to make people feel good or as a political outlaw.  He came to conquer evil itself.

As we ponder Christ’s entrance into the world, let’s follow His example and personalize His presence for us.  After all, His birth, life and death were all planned.  God acted with intention.  Taking in the fullness of its meaning we are left with a choice.  Do we acknowledge our sin and ask Him to forgive us, and express to Him our desire to become His child?  Or do we ignore this awesome offer of forgiveness and restoration and continue to live with God on the periphery of our lives?  His love allows us to choose.  And it’s without compulsion.  So, I ask you, what is your choice?

He’s waiting for you . . . .

Perhaps you may want to begin a prayer like this: Father God thank You so much for Your love. At this Christmastime I’m in awe considering its magnitude and cost.  There is so much I’m learning right now — at times, I feel like my head is spinning.  But I want to pause, and say thank You.  As I consider Your life in a new way, I’m humbled that You would come into time and space so that I can be in relationship with you. Thank You for acting on my behalf.  Thank You for dealing with my sin and brokenness.  In truth, I can’t do this life anymore on my own.  I’m sorry for all the ways I’ve hurt others and You.  Please forgive me.  Today, I would like to say yes to Your offer of salvation.  I would like to become Your child . . . .

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2011 © First Thoughts, M.V. Saunders
All rights reserved. Pittsburgh, PA

To subscribe send an email request to megsaunders99@yahoo.com

2011 Winner of Christianity Today’s Award of Merit for Apologetics/Evangelism:
Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith, Francis S. Collins, Meg Saunders
Find it on: http://www.amazon.co.uk and http://www.amazon.com
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/february/bookawards2011.html

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