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Monday, 1 January 2018

The True Significance of Christmas by Brother Walt

Recently, I received an article written by Brother Walt, a good friend.  And I thought that the true significance of Christmas has not diminished and will not diminish even as we cross over to 2018.  In fact, this piece of Good News has an eternal effect on lives.  So, with permission, I present to you this everlasting story in the following article:

The True Significance of Christmas

In our time Christmas has taken on many trappings - from Santa Claus to Christmas trees to colored lights.  The true significance of Christmas, however, is found in an event that happened over two thousand years ago.   

Of course, that event is the birth of a person who was called Jesus ("Yeshua" in Hebrew).  He came to be called in Hebrew "Yeshua ha Meshiah" (Jesus the Messiah), or "Jesus the Christ" (from the Greek language).   

In the person of Jesus, the living God took on human nature and was born to a human woman.  Jesus was God-in-the-flesh.  The second person of the Triune God, God the Son, became a human being, the God-man.  

Why did God, the Creator of the universe, become a man?  This "incarnation" of God was an essential part of God's plan to save fallen, sinful human beings.   

Soon after God created mankind, human beings rebelled against God and their sin of rebellion resulted in their alienation from God.  The sin of fallen mankind separates them from their righteous and holy Creator.  Because of their sinfulness, human beings are separated from God, both in this earthly life and also for all eternity.  This separation from God is called "spiritual death."   

But because God loves human beings so much, He implemented a plan to offer rescue ("salvation") from spiritual separation.  Man's sin requires that its penalty of spiritual death be paid for by the justice and holiness of God.  God's plan of rescue was that He Himself would pay that penalty for their sin.  God offers salvation to everyone who will turn to Jesus Christ in faith and receive God's gift of salvation.   

So, God became a human being in Jesus of Nazareth, the God-man.  God had to become a human being so that He could die as a sin sacrifice, as a substitute sacrifice, for human beings.  This blood sacrifice for sin also had to be God, so that His death would have infinite value and pay for the sins of all human beings who would receive His offer of salvation.   

So, God became a man in Jesus.  He lived a sinless life and then died to pay the penalty for sinful mankind.  Every individual who trusts in Christ as his / her personal Savior is forgiven of their sin and given the free gift of eternal life.   
 
Three days after Jesus the Christ was crucified, He was raised from the dead to prove that His sacrifice for man's sin was accepted by God.   

This is the message of the New Testament.  It is called "The Good News / The Gospel" - people, though guilty sinners in heart, can escape eternal punishment by accepting Christ's punishment as their substitute sin sacrifice.  Good News indeed!  Salvation is free to people but was costly to God.     

NEW TESTAMENT.  Here are some verses from the New Testament that speak of this offer of salvation from hell through faith in Jesus Christ:   

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish [in hell], but have eternal life."  John 3:16.     

"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him."  John 3:16.   

"For by grace you are saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9.   

"And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life."  1 John 5:11-13.   

"But God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  Romans 5:8.   

"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 6:23.   

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood."  Romans 3:23-25.   

OLD TESTAMENT.  Hundreds of years before Jesus was born prophets of the Old Testament foretold of God's coming Messiah-Savior.  There are more than 300 prophecies in the Old Testament about the Messiah, His person and His mission.  

"For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given;  
and the government shall be upon His shoulders,  
and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6.  
  
"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;  
yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  
But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed."  Isaiah 53:4-6.  

"But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for Me One who is to be Ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days."  Micah 5:2.   

- Brother Walt

Blessed 2018 dear readers,  may you enjoy the walk with CHRIST daily
Rachel