December 16, 2016
The Right Reason
By Skip Heitzig
For those of us who have been raised in the church, there's an understanding that Jesus is the reason for this season. In fact, He's the reason for everything. We like to tell people, "Just look to Jesus; He's the answer to it all." In reality, most people don't take the time to understand the message of Christmas. A lot of people simply like the beautiful trappings, the trees, the lights, even the scene of the manger, not realizing that all the while God was sending us a gift.
The past couple weeks, we've considered Christmas in light of the right time and the right person, but what was the reason? What was the purpose of it all? Galatians 4:5 tells us: Jesus came "to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." That's the reason—redemption.
First of all, I want to consider the history of this reason. When did Christmas really start? We have to go all the way back to the beginning: God created man and woman and had fellowship with them, but in Genesis 3, everything changed. They rebelled against their Creator, and fellowship was broken. What would God do to fix this? In Genesis 3:15, He announced to Satan, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."
I don't have the space here to mention every place in the Bible where this promise is repeated, but you can trace it all through the Old Testament and into the New Testament, when Jesus Christ was finally born as a fulfillment of that promise, sent to engage in conflict with Satan, be killed on the cross, and then rise again from the dead. Our bondage was long and hard, as the Christmas carol says—"Long lay the world in sin and error pining"—but then Jesus came at just the right time, and our fellowship was restored, paradise regained.
This leads to the second point—the centrality of the reason—summed up in a single phrase: "To redeem." Redeem means to buy back. Picture somebody going to a slave market, laying down cold hard cash to give a slave their freedom, then taking them home and saying, "I'm adopting you as my own, and one day, I'll give you everything I own." God went to the slave market of sin, saw us in our condition, purchased us, brought us to Himself, and adopted us as His sons and daughters.
This means you never have to be in the bondage of trying to earn your way to heaven by your own good deeds. The fact of the matter is you'll never earn it, so you don't have to grit your teeth and try harder, because you're a son; you're a daughter. You don't have to live in that slavery anymore, because you're His child.
Finally, there is the reality of the reason for Christmas—the confirmation that we have indeed become children of God: "And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father!' Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (Galatians 4:6-7). When you invite Christ in, the Holy Spirit is also sent in, and He produces in you an instant knowledge and confirmation that you're right with God. It's an overwhelming, subjective feeling that proves God's objective declaration that you are His child, and you can cry out, "Abba—Daddy!"
That's what Christmas is about: what was lost in Genesis 3 is restored because of redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.This is the side of Christmas that's usually not told. We marvel at little baby Jesus, forgetting that His hands were destined to have a Roman spike driven through them, that His little feet would trod the road of sorrows to the place of execution, and that His head was destined to wear a crown of thorns.But that's Christmas: the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin (see 1 John 1:7)—the right time, the right person, and the right reason coming together so that we might be redeemed and adopted as children of God.
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