As I shared in my last post, the message of Christmas is that Jesus was born into the world to save us from our sin. He came to give his life on our behalf that we might receive the forgiveness and the salvation of God.
This brings to mind the words of Jesus in John 3, starting in verse 16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
These words are comforting because, when we think of our sin, the coming of God seems rather scary. The thought of standing before God, the one who knows our every thought, action, and intention, seems absolutely terrifying. It seems this way because we know our guilt. It seems this way because we know the punishment we deserve.
Our tendency is like that of Adam and Eve in the garden. As they heard the sound of God walking in the garden, they hid themselves. They hid themselves because they’d eaten from the tree which had been forbidden to them. And they understood the consequence of their actions.
Recognizing our guilt, we too try to hide from God. We are like children, scared at our parents' coming, because we have violated their commands. We know that we deserve punishment, and this is what we expect with their arrival.
However, even though we deserve God’s wrath, Jesus' coming was for a very different purpose. We're told that God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. We're told that God did not send his Son to condemn the world. Jesus came that the world might be saved through him. He came that those who believe in him will not perish.What wonderful news this is in the face of our sin. And only when we recognize our sin, only when we recognize the punishment we deserve, does this message fill our hearts with joy. Jesus came for those who are undeserving of life. He came for those who are unworthy of such a sacrifice.