As we approach the end of our year through the Bible, it is Christmas time (if you started in the new year). The Christmas story is found in the gospels, especially detailed in the Gospel according to Luke. But, the Christmas message is found all throughout scripture. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he shares the truth of the Christmas message.
Ephesians 2:4–6 (NKJV) — 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
I love this passage. It really speaks to the heart of God. God, rich in mercy, loves us with such a great love that He has raised us up and has given us life even though we were dead in our sins. This is one of those “But God…” passages that gives me a chill (a good chill). It really speaks to me about the heart of God. Even though we don’t deserve it, He has raised us up to sit in heavenly places in Jesus.
This makes me go back to the passage in Luke’s Gospel where the Angels speak to the shepherds about the birth of Jesus Christ.
Luke 2:13–14 (NKJV) — 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
I want you to really understand this moment. This is the moment where everything changed. Something gloriously new had come. Our whole relationship with God changed in a second. God declares peace on Earth and goodwill towards men. The way God deals with mankind changed that very night. God Himself hasn’t changed, but His manner of dealing with mankind changed. No longer was it floods and plagues and fire and brimstone. No longer was it conditional covenants and law. It was peace and goodwill. God declared peace between Himself and mankind. And in this peace, all the hopes of mankind were resting upon the shoulders of small helpless babe.
That babe would grow to manhood. He would know the hurts and temptations of each of us. He would weep with us and He would laugh with us. He would go to the cross and die for each of us. And because of this, we are made alive.
We always like to remember the baby Jesus on Christmas. But Christmas is the beginning of the road to the cross. It is the beginning of the road to our salvation. Paul clearly understands the real gift of Christmas. Just a few verses later, in Ephesians 2, he says this:
Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV) — 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
The Christmas gift is a gift from God. By grace we have been saved. It is the free gift of God that was set in motion before the earth was created. It is the free gift that was manifested that first Christmas Day and it is the free gift that came to completion on the cross. Paul is declaring this free gift to the Ephesians and to us. It is the only gift that matters. It is the free gift of salvation. As you continue to study the word of God, let this be on your mind. All of the word is about this free gift. How about we share this gift this Christmas season.
In His Service, Scott
This Week’s Reading Plan:
- Day 1 – Titus 1 – Philemon
- Day 2 – Hebrews 1-6
- Day 3 – Hebrews 7-10
- Day 4 – Hebrews 11-13
- Day 5 – James 1-5
- Day 6 – 1 Peter 1-5
- Day 7 – 2 Peter 1-3