Saturday, December 24, 2005

Why He Came to Us

"Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled."
(from "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing!
Words by Charles Wesley, Music by Felix Mendelssohn")
This is probably the most profound line of all Christmas carols. It proclaims the reality of the Gospel, the foundation of the Good News, the victorious mission of God incarnate. Christ did not come to be a cute baby in a stable; he came to save sinners.

At the fall of mankind, we were all estranged from our Creator, alien, having no part with him. Because it is impossible to restore this relationship ourselves, God, in his grace, came to atone (to make us "at one") with himself and reconcile humans who are dead in sin. Christ's mission was to reconcile sinners to himself. What an awesome concept! He had no reason to do such a thing apart from his own love.

Of course not all people are saved. A heart must be opened by the God's Spirit. Is the Spirit tugging at you? No one is saved unless he is inside Christ. Are you in Christ?

He was born in a feed trough because he was a lamb. He died a bloody death because he was a sacrificial lamb, because "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins" (Hebrews 9:22).

If you are a dead sinner, be reconciled, for apart from Christ there is no reconciliation. Only then can you do as the song says: "Joyful, all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies; with th' angelic host proclaim, "Christ is born in Bethlehem!" There can be no real joy without life in Christ!

"Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth."