(Gospel e-Letter - December 2010)
For most people, Christmas has little or nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. Worse still, many nominal Christians, along with the rest of humanity, do not know God and care very little about the incarnation of his Son.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. (John 1:9-11)
Being a sinner by nature, man is antagonistic towards God. It is true, of course, that man is a religious being. He worships something or someone, but sadly, not the true and living God. He does not recognize or love his Creator, nor is he thankful for giving him life and for daily providing and caring for him.
The fault is his own, for God has clearly revealed himself. God is not hidden. The Light was in the world, but the world did not understand. Humanity is blinded by sin.
Indeed, when the Word – the perfect image of the invisible God - came to visit his own people, Israel, they cried out, ‘Crucify him!’ instead of welcoming their Lord and Redeemer. That is how much the world hates God! Man would murder his Maker and Master if he could lay his evil hands on him!
What can heal the malignant adversity of the human heart towards God? What can open the sin-blinded eyes?
Man, by himself, is impotent and helpless. He cannot and will not do anything to be reconciled with God. Whoever was born of blood, like the rest of humanity, is unbelieving. The will of the flesh, on its own, rejects God. The will of man, on its own, continues to refuse him.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12, 13)
God must take the initiative. God must give new life, a new birth, a new beginning, a new heart. Those whom God touches, they gladly receive his Son. They willingly and happily embrace the Saviour and believe on the name of the Son of God. Hostility is changed into friendship, even more, they who were strangers are adopted as children of God.
They have nothing to celebrate who persist in unbelief, including those who ‘believe’ in Christ and live like the devil. Without Christ, they are not God’s children, they have no right to call him ‘Father’, and they will not share the joys of the Father’s house.
But if we have received Christ by faith, then we are members of God’s family, and we have every reason to rejoice, not just during this season but throughout the entire year. For ‘the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth.’