Christmas: The Crux of God’s Redemption of Creation

Emmaus_Code_LimbaughThis PJTV interview with David Limbaugh on his book “The Emmaus Code” is a very enlightening one, and I hope you will find time this Christmas day or in the near future to check it out (video below).

Christmas is a wonderful holiday…and quite possibly the holiday most removed in practice from its foundational meaning.  I’m not just talking about all the commercialism, gift-buying and trappings that have come to eclipse the real significance of Christmas. Even among Christians, very few understand and appreciate what happened on the first Christmas, and what it means. It’s no big secret; it’s just that our society no longer emphasizes it, most of our churches no longer teach it, and few families educate their children about it.

Christmas is indeed about a sweet baby in a manger, about love, about family, and all the warm things with which we associate Christmas.

But it is about so much more…and some of it is not so pleasant to think on.

Christmas is about the incarnation of the Son of God in human form on earth some 2,000 years ago. However, this was not the beginning and origin of the Son of God, the person who was named “Jesus” when he walked among us as a man here on earth 2,000 years ago.

Jesus, the Son of God, was there at the beginning of everything. He was the creator of everything and everyone. This was made clear to us at the beginning of the Gospel of John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as awitness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

We even caught a glimpse of him at the beginning of the Bible, in Genesis 1:26 when we see our first glimpse of the Trinity-the Godhead, three-in-one-working together to create the universe:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So why did the creator of the universe come to earth as a man some 4,000 years after he created everything?  It was to redeem, to restore his creation to the state of life and perfection with which he originally created it, after humanity rebelled against its creator and subjected the creation under his dominion to corruption and death.

God laid out this plan of redemption early on, immediately after humanity rebelled against its creator because it thought it knew better what was good for it than its creator. As God pronounced the curse for this rebellion on humanity and creation, and upon the serpent who had brought temptation to humanity, he gave us the first small look at the coming of Christ some 4,000 years later:

I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.

This is known as the protoevangelium, or “first gospel,” like a “prototype” is the first of a type of thing. We are foretold that the offspring of evil would someday cause injury to the redeeming offspring of humanity, but that this Redeemer would ultimately crush the head of that evil offspring.

God brought about his plan through the course of the next 4,000 years, through a global flood where he destroyed a thoroughly evil humanity except for eight souls, through the faith of a man from a pagan nation named Abraham, through his miraculous son Isaac, through Isaac’s devious son Jacob, and down through a people who-despite the enlightenment and provision of God-exemplify all of the stupidity and rebelliousness that is common to all humanity.

The incarnation of the Son of God some 2,000 years ago is a warm and joyous event, for it displays the incredible love and mercy God has for his fallen creation.  That he would lower himself even below the angels he created, to live the hard life of a human on a primitive earth, subject to the same frailties as every other human being (fatigue, hunger, sadness, angertemptation)…the humility of our creator to live as one of us boggles the mind.

But the truth revealed in the coming of Christ to redeem his creation reveals some very unpleasant things for us humans.  The Gospel brings good news…but it also brings some bad news with which we must reckon before we can accept the good news.

Christmas brings the inescapable truth that EVERY human must come to terms with before we can receive the good news of Christmas:

  • Every one of us has committed moral crimes before our Creator, and has failed to live up to the standard of our Creator
  • Every one of us has rebelled against our Creator, and as is usually the case with rebellion, the penalty for rebellion against rightful authority is death
  • This judgment is sure, and will come inescapably to every human being
  • In order to receive a pardon from the penalty we deserve for our rebellion, we must first abandon our pride, our claim to self-sufficiency, and humble ourselves before our Creator and admit our absolute need for his mercy and pardon
  • If a person is unwilling to humble themselves before their Creator, eternal separation from God is the lot they have chosen for themselves

Even if they do not come to terms with these truths in this life, every human being will have to come to terms with these truths as they enter into eternity.

Every human being is more than just a walking chunk of meat.  Every human being is a soul first,  an eternal spirit that in this life is wrapped in a vehicle of human flesh. When that corrupted vehicle of human flesh falls away at the end of life, the soul lives on.

If you have made the decision in this life to reject God’s simple and only way of redemption, you have told your Creator that you believe you are smarter than he is, that your way is better than his way.  In doing so, you have rejected your Creator.  In rejecting your Creator, you have told your Creator you do not want to be with him.

And just as God does not force a human being to accept his Lordship and friendship in this life, he will not force a human being who does not want to be with him to spend eternity with him.

Someday, that sweet little baby in the manger will judge those who choose to continue in rebellion against the Creator who gave them a free and easy path to redemption. The Lamb of sacrifice will become the Lion of justice.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats…Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels…And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

God cannot fulfill his promise of a life of peace and freedom from strife if he allows corruption into eternity; those who have rejected their Creator’s offer of redemption have chosen their own eternal destiny apart from those who have placed themselves under the Lordship of their Creator:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

So as you can see, Christmas brings some bad news and some hard truths.  But those hard truths do not have to have an eternal hold over you.  If you come to terms with them now, and will humble yourself before your Creator, if you will admit that your Creator knows better than you do, if you will admit that you need the unmerited favor of mercy from your Creator, then your life will come to an eternal junction point, and your ever-living soul will pass from a destiny of death and separation from God, to a destiny of life and peace with your Creator.

This Christmas, choose this day whom you will serve. That choice will echo throughout eternity.

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