“And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.” Romans 5:16 NLT
This gift. This precious gift that we celebrate each Christmas. The gift of a Savior, a Messiah, a Hope in darkness. This gift brings us life, peace, and joy. Forgiveness from all sins. “God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.”
I don’t always make the best decisions. I’m lazy, I’m envious, I get angry much too easily, I gossip…I could go on. I take for granted this precious gift that God has given me. I ignore what I know to be right for what feels good in the moment. I do what I want without a thought toward the consequences. I want to do the right thing in the long term, but in the moment, the easy way out is the path that I choose.
I see the consequences of my decisions. I catch a glimpse of the costs for my careless actions. You see, the wages of my sin is death. The wages of my laziness is poverty. The wages of my envy is resentment and discontent. The wages of my anger is pain and damaged relationships. The wages of my gossip is hurt and strife. But this gracious Gift, this precious baby that we celebrate on Christmas day, leads to forgiveness and grace and mercy.
God understood that we can’t, but He can. He recognizes that our flesh is weak, but He is strong. He knows that our strength will fail, but His love will always prevail. So He sent His Son, He sent His Love, and the wages of our sin is now wrapped up in forgiveness. The payment for our sin has been covered by the Gift. And we receive grace, we receive forgiveness, we receive hope, we receive a new day.
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago)
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us –
to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies;
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”
We so often remember the baby in the manger. We talk about Mary and Joseph, the wise men, and the shepherds. We remember the story about the time when God sent His Son to be with us, to live among us. We celebrate the birth of our King, our Messiah. And this is good.
But the reason that we needed a King and a Messiah was because we needed to be rescued. We needed to be redeemed from our sin. We needed a Savior to save us from ourselves.
“So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.” Romans 8:3b
And because of this great Gift, we have freedom. Because of the sweet baby who was born in the stables, we are not controlled by our sinful nature. Because our Messiah entered this world and became like us, His Spirit can now reside in us to bring us life, to give us hope, to give us joy. We are made right and we can find our righteousness through the goodness of God’s precious Gift.
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do…For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” Romans 8:12, 14
I don’t always make the best decisions. But God sent His Son to redeem me from my bad decisions. He sent His Spirit to guide me toward the path of righteousness. He sent His Love to cover me with His grace.
My prayer is that this Christmas we tune into God’s Spirit to guide us each day. May we walk close to God, dwelling in His presence that we might learn to be like Him. May we look to that baby in the manger and watch His journey from manger to cross and use that story to guide our steps, our thoughts, and our decisions. May we be led by the Spirit into the fullness and abundance that God’s great Gift provides.