Saturday, December 02, 2023

What present will you be content with this Christmas?

I think I am quite a contented person. My Christmas present list is usually non - existent, and when asked, I struggle to think of things I really need. Maybe this is because I am so well looked after that I have very little need for anything.

If you were given the choice of any gift I wonder what it would be? The ancient king of Israel, Solomon, when given the choice asked for wisdom. Most of us would like to be wiser, to live well and to make less mistakes.

 As a Christian I believe that Jesus Christ is the best example of how to live the right way. He was the only person ever to attain to the exacting and high standards that are found in the Bible one hundred percent of the time. The Bible describes Jesus as 'holy... and undefiled'. It records that He lived a selfless life looking out for others.

Most of us agree, cynics included, that we haven't a hope of reaching the standards of perfection that are required of us in the Bible. None of us lives as Jesus did! 

So, ultimately, that puts us in a difficult situation. The Bible not only dictates the standard, but spells out the consequences of falling short of it. This is explained in a simple yet searching phrase from Romans chapter six verse twenty three - ‘For the wages of sin is death’. In the normal course of events death will come to every one of us. The question we should ask is - why? Why is death normal?  You would think that if there was no God and we had managed to evolve spontaneously to this level of life that the evolutionary process would have done something about death by now. The truth is that death is consequence of sin and wrong doing. God, in the Bible defines the cause as sin and the effect as death. So, on that basis, the situation is impossible for every human being. We are all heading for a very depressing future unless someone does something about it. Please don't stop reading now as the good news part is still to come. There is an offer of eternal life which is available for everyone. 

In the early chapters of the Bible, God indicated His intention to provide a solution. As the storyline of the Bible develops the word, 'salvation' starts to crop up frequently. The Old Testament describes humanity as flawed, guilty, needing redemption, cleansing, forgiveness and pardon. At the beginning of the New Testament (NT), Jesus is born. The NT is all about Jesus the Messiah, the one sent from God. It rapidly becomes evident that He is the promised salvation. It is this man, Jesus, who is actually 'the Saviour', 'the Redeemer', the one sent from God.

Therefore the following statements become significant - 'Christ died for our sins' and Christ' once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God'. In other words, the death and resurrection (coming to life again) of Jesus meets the demands of God's justice for our shortcomings and provides salvation.

The above statements should make us ask how we can benefit from salvation? Once again, the Bible provides the answer- ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God,’ Ephesians 2:8

Faith is the key word here. We all know how to receive a gift! It is merely an act of accepting the gift – we receive it. That’s faith - accepting the gift of salvation and forgiveness because you know you need it and you trust God to provide it. 

Many people do not see the value of the gift of salvation. But this gift is not to be compared with a Christmas present! You might not like the gift you have been given, it may, or it may not be right for you. Salvation is more like the gift of life. In physical terms, it's as if someone gave you a kidney, bone marrow or a blood transfusion except salvation is a gift for your soul and spirit. It is a life-giving gift.

'The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.'

Don't be content until you get this gift. Life is not worth living without it.


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