Christmas 2015: Saved by His Life
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
With so much chaos in the world, is Christmas 2015 just a fun (for the most part) break before we reenter the world as it is? I’m quite serious about this, because I am personally grappling with this very question. Isn’t it time for the reality of what we claim to believe to actually start making a difference in the way we live? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to look back on some Christmas as the time when our outlook on life radically changed? Wouldn’t it be great if this Christmas became such a benchmark?
We know that Christmas celebrates the birth of the Christ child-Immanuel, “God with us” as a baby who would grow to manhood and die on a cross for the sins of the world. Even if we understand all that is tied up in Christ’s atonement and our redemption, we still have to deal with life in the real world-life that can be very difficult and challenging. We need more than a concept, more than an idea, even more than truth that we believe but as yet has not transformed us. We long for something practical that we can grab hold of, something dependable that is infinitely greater than ourselves. We long for something that will change us, our outlook, and our attitude so that nothing that comes our way will defeat us.
AS I SEE IT
As I thought about this, it occurred to me that this is the part of the Christian life that eludes too many of us too often. It’s also the part of Christmas that is seldom, if ever discussed. Jesus came, as God, to show us the Father, to bring the life of God Himself to us here on earth. We understand how we are saved by His death. We know that because of His substitutionary death, he saved us from our sins, but there’s another side to this. We are also saved by his life (See Rom. 5:10). “Saved by His death” applies to our justification, declaring us innocent even though we are guilty. It’s being saved from the penalty of sin. “Saved by His life” is a description of our sanctification, being saved from the power of sin. It is the process of becoming more Christ-like in real life. Yes, Romans 5:10 applies to Christ’s current post-resurrection ministry in heaven as He intercedes for us, but I believe it’s more than that. It’s also Christ within us, the hope of glory and His overcoming power made available via the Holy Spirit.
This brings us to the Christmas issue: what can we grab hold of this year that will actually change us and make this Christmas truly memorable? How about this: Christ came to bring the life of God to us, and as God, He came to bring Himself to us. He came so that we could be saved from the powerful pull of the world, the flesh and Satan. How could He do this? By His life-the life that came to us in a stable in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago.
This Christmas, in preparation for re-entering the world as it is, let’s focus not on the Christ in the manger, but the Christ within us Who saves us from all the things in our world that tempt us, concern us, and even frighten us. If God is for us, who can be against us? This Christmas, let’s focus on the tangible reality that we are indeed
Saved by His life.
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Nativity image by Jeff Weese
Crosses image by Waiting for the Word
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