December 12, 2014

Advent Adventure, Part 3

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’–which means, ‘God with us.’” – Matthew 1:22-23 (NIV)

“Immanuel” – God with us! Consider it. God came to live among us. He took on flesh and blood to identify with humanity in a way He had never done before. Paul writes about this mystery in several of his letters. In 1 Timothy 3:16, he says, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.” Then in Philippians 2:5-8,Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!

“Immanuel” – God with us! What a comforting thought, as opposed to God after us! That’s the conception some people have of God, that He is after them and He’s mad! They are constantly looking over their shoulders and wondering when the hammer will fall. They live in fear, with guilt and shame, worried that at any time the God who is after them will call their number. But, the Bible presents a God who is not only with us, but also a God who is for us! Look at what Paul adds in Romans 8:31-32, “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all–how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” As if that were not enough, the Bible reveals an even greater mystery of a God in us by virtue of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:27, tells us, God wanted to make known to them the glorious riches of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” When we receive the Lord Jesus as our personal Savior from sin, we can experience this glorious mystery by faith. The God that is in Christ Jesus comes to make His home in us through the Holy Spirit! What an intimate and personal relationship the Creator, God, longs to have with His creation, man! God with us! God for us! And God in us! What a glorious salvation! This is the hope that Christmas brings! Have you received it? If you have, rejoice in knowing that God is with you, God is for you, and God is in you! What more could you possibly need?