Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas – a series of daily posts about, you guessed it – Christmas. If you’re just finding us, you may like to start at Day12 and make your way through from there. Thank you for being here!
5th Day of Christmas – Forgiveness Found
Back on the 12th Day of Christmas, the first post of this series, I told you that Jesus is our hope and before the series was finished I would explain how that claim is true. Over these last days we have seen much about who Jesus is and a little about who He isn’t, but you may be wondering how that all relates to providing hope to a world lost in hopelessness. Read on, dear one.
Pilgrims Progress is a book written over 400 years ago (a wonderful, updated, modern English version is available here). It give such a vivid picture of the life all Christians, told through the experiences of one man named Christian as he journeys from lostness (without God) through to glory (eternity with God). At the beginning of the story, we find Christian in great distress and despair and he has a burden on his back which he cannot remove. The longer he goes like this, the heavier the burden and the greater the despair. Someone points him to the place where he can be rid of his burden and to there he flees. Upon reaching this place, his burden falls off and for the first time in his life he is truly rejoicing.
Why is he rejoicing? Because the burden and despair were the result of the weight of his guilt. He was guilty because of his sin. The place where it fell off was the cross, the place of deliverance. It took a lifetime, and a moment, to arrive at the place of deliverance. He sought it in faith, and when he got there he didn’t remove the burden himself, it just fell off. That is the moment of salvation for Christian (and all who would be saved). He was in that moment, and forever, free from his burden of guilt and shame, when he believed the gospel and trusted in it completely as the only way to peace with God.
So what is the gospel?
“…that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, the He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures……” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Christian believed this with all his desperate heart, and he was forgiven. And when forgiven, he was completely free from his burden forever. The cross where Jesus died, is the only place where true, lasting hope can be found, because this is the place of forgiveness and peace.
We can only have this forgiveness because of Jesus Christ coming into the world as a human – a babe in a manger; to grow up as a man – sinless in his life; just so He could die in order to take the punishment that we deserve for our sins. He, the perfect righteous One, who had no sin, took the hell we deserved for our great sin – rebellion against God – so that we could be forgiven and dwell in His presence for eternity.
That, my friends, is why Christmas is such good news. That is the hope I was talking about. J.C. Ryle, commenting on John 1:1-5 has this to say about this hope:
“Would we know, for another thing, the strength of a true Christian’s foundation for hope? Let us often read these first five verses of St. John’s Gospel. Let us mark that the Savior in whom the believer is bid to trust is nothing less than the eternal God. One able to save to the uttermost all that come to the Father by Him. He that was ‘with God’ and ‘was God’ is also ‘Emmanuel, God with us.’ Let us thank God that our help is laid on One that is mighty. In ourselves we are great sinners. But in Jesus Christ we have a great Savior. He is a strong foundation stone, able to bear the weight of a world’s sin. He that believeth on him shall not be confounded. (1Peter 2:6).”
“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. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Galatians 1:3-5
12. Jesus is our hope.
11. He is not just a babe in a manger – He holds our heart beat and life in His hands as Almighty God.
10. Jesus existed in eternity past before He was born a babe in a manger. He is the Eternal Son of God.
9. The Eternal God Almighty humbled Himself, clothed Himself in human flesh, was born as a babe, and dwelt among us.
8. In becoming a man and walking amongst humanity, Jesus, without giving up His divine nature, willingly set aside His heavenly privileges for a time and humbled Himself unto death – to serve you and me, in a way that only He could.
7. Jesus was born to save His people from their sins.
6. Jesus was born to die.
5. Forgiveness found at the cross is a sure and steadfast hope.
It matters that we know this.
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