Each day during this year's Advent season, I will be sharing a devotional here to help aid our hearts in preparing for the coming of Christ. These come from a book entitled "Come, Let Us Adore Him" by Paul Tripp. I pray that these thoughts will aid your heart in worship.
The coming of the child who would give his life means abundant life and eternal life for all who put their trust in him.
No, it wasn’t a zombie apocalypse. The Creator and Giver of life came to the world he had created and found dead people walking around everywhere he looked. How sad it must have been for Jesus, who breathed life into humanity, to be face-to-face with dead humanity. And how sad it was for him to recognize that although they were dead, they didn’t know they were dead, and because they didn’t know, they didn’t hunger for the life that he had come to give them. How sad it is to have the one thing people desperately need, but they’re not interested in what you have to offer.
Life was born in that manger; it’s what the Christmas story is about. Life was born among the dead so that the dead would come to life. Now, I’m not talking here about physical death, but rather spiritual death. But consider the power of this word picture. This may sound crass, but it confronts us with what it means to be spiritually dead: the one person you expect nothing from at a funeral is the deceased. Because the person is dead, he is unable to relate to you, let alone rescue himself from his sad state. Consider that:
1. A dead man has no awareness that he is dead.
2. A dead man has no ability to cry out for help.
3. A dead man can’t breathe life into himself.
4. For a dead man to live, a divine miracle must take place.
Listen to the description in Ephesians 2:1–9 of every sinner apart from the life-infusing grace of the Messiah, Jesus:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Because we were dead in our sins, we were completely without any ability to rescue ourselves. We were stuck in our sins and trapped in a cycle of rebellion against God, slaves to our passions and objects of God’s wrath. Not only were we dead, but we were also doomed, and not only were we doomed, but we were also helpless. Here you find the essence of the Christmas story. Here is where it preaches to us about God’s abounding love and his amazing grace. Because we were not able to act for ourselves to change our condition, God acted on our behalf. And because he is boundless in love and plenteous in mercy, he acted for us and not against. If God had acted against us, his judgment would have been right—we deserved his wrath. But the birth of Jesus told the world of dead people that God was not going to act in anger but in mercy. He was not going to mete out punishment but rather grace. He wasn’t going to strike us with his holy sword of vengeance but rather gift us with his life-giving Son.
The birth of that baby tells you that the story of humanity would not end with the walking dead. It would not end with slavery to sin and separation from God. The birth of Jesus is God acting radically in human history to give life to dead people. How would that happen? Well, the One who was life would take on all our sin and die so that we would not only have life right here, right now, but fullness of life with him for all of eternity. The One who is life died for the dead so that the dead would have life forever.
The birth of Jesus tells you something else. Because of what Jesus would do in his life, death, and resurrection, because he was willing to die to give life, we will live, but death will die. The birth of the ultimate life-giver, Jesus, guarantees the death of death. In the life and work of that baby in the manger all the effects of sin will be defeated, the worst of them being death. As the children of God, we will not only live, alive in heart and alive to God, but we will be invited to the one funeral we’ll actually want to go to. We’ll be invited to the funeral of sin and death, because sin and death will die because of the redeeming work of the One born in Bethlehem.So this Christmas remember that beneath the angels, the shepherds, the wise men, Mary and Joseph, and that rented barn is this amazing story of life and death. And because it’s a story of life and death, it’s a story of amazing grace. The birth of Jesus is a sure sign that God will act where we cannot act, and he will act with life-giving grace. Celebrate that Jesus came to give life, because it’s the one gift we could never, ever give ourselves.
For further study: Galatians 2:19–21