Friday, December 23, 2011

Immanuel

“Immanuel” (Matthew 1:23)
This is the most wonderful time of the year.  It is a time to celebrate.  It is a time to spend with loved ones.  It is a time set aside to give gifts to friends and family.  It is a time to be reminded of the greatest gift ever given.  It is a time to celebrate the birth of the baby born of the Virgin Mary.  It is a time to celebrate “Immanuel (Which means, God with us).”  But it is crucial, as Christians, that we not only celebrate the coming of Christ on Christmas but every day.  Jesus’ coming has everything to do with our salvation.
The deity of Jesus Christ is often a stumbling block for many.  This is often what separates biblical Christianity from false religion.  There are many people and religions under the umbrella of Christianity that deny this most important truth.  This is a doctrine we must stand up against.  Why?  Isn’t that unloving?  If eternal life is on the line than the most loving thing we can do is fight for this truth.  We are not physically fighting over this truth but rather standing up, in love, to speak about the truth written in God’s Word.  Jesus claimed to be “the way, the truth and the life” and also said “no one can come to the Father but through me” (John 14:6).  The Bible also says, “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we can be saved” (Acts 4:12).  Obviously Jesus is important because our salvation is based on him. 
Why does he have to be God in order to save sinners?
The reason he must be fully God and truly man is because we need a mediator.  Sinners cannot have a relationship with a holy God unless sin has been dealt with by a perfect and holy sacrifice.  But this perfect and holy sacrifice must also be able to relate and sympathize with humanity.  This is why the Mediator must be 100% God and 100% man.  The Father sent us a mediator when he sent his Son into the world to save sinners.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  Jesus knew he was the mediator.  He “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6-7).  The baby born in the manger is our hope.  The baby born in the manger is God in the flesh.  He came to dwell among his creation so that we could have a mediator.  “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).  His singular sacrifice on the cross atoned for our sin.  Without Bethlehem there is no Calvary.  Without his birth, we have no victory. 
“Immanuel” should ring through our ears throughout the year.  The celebration should be going on in our hearts as we ponder the gospel.  The man who died upon the cross was the very baby born in a stable.  His single purpose was to be the perfect sacrifice for sinners.  Through faith in Jesus, the Mediator, we have salvation.  There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved.  Salvation is only found in “Immanuel.”
Grace upon grace,
JRL

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