Faith: The judgment of Christmas
“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:19)
As I am writing this, I am listening to Chanticleer’s rendering of one of my favorite carols, “Away in a Manger” as it snows outside. Does it get anymore Christmas than this? One of the blessings of living in Northwest Colorado is you are pretty much guaranteed a white Christmas every year.
This time of the year is special for most people. I don’t know very many people who don’t enjoy the holiday season. Everyone seems to enjoy the traditions of the Christmas season. But Christmas is more than presents, it’s more than music, it’s more than our favorite Christmas movies and family get togethers.
Christmas is about judgment. Because of this judgment, there had to be an incarnation. The word incarnation literally means “taking on flesh.” Christmas is all about God becoming man. God in the form of the Son Jesus Christ, became a man in every sense of the word except He was without sin.
The incarnation was necessary because ultimately this time of the year is a reminder that mankind is sinful and depraved. God became man because mankind was and is in open rebellion against God. Romans 3:10 says, “There is none righteous, not even one.” Every single person is a sinner, and because of our sin, we are in opposition to God. The consequence of this opposition is God’s judgment, God’s wrath.
But God in His great compassion, mercy and grace provided a way. That way is His Son Jesus Christ. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world would be saved through Him.”
Sinners are already under judgment. Verse 19 says, “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world.” Judgment has already been made. What is that judgment? Part of it is that God sent “the Light,” His Son so that sinners can be forgiven of their sins.
The other part of this judgment is that mankind loves the dark. “Men loved the darkness,” it says. This means that people love their sin, “rather than the Light.” We see this evidenced all over our culture today. We witness this in the church’s compromise on the clear teaching of Scripture in regards to the LGBTQ agenda. We see this in the church’s capitulation on God’s Biblical model for marriage and human sexuality. We this in the results of the mid-term elections, which was partially the result of people’s anger over the possibility of losing their perceived right to kill babies. The last phrase in verse 19 sums this up, “for their deeds were evil.”
There is no hope for our culture and for individuals who reject “the Light,” the gift of Christ. If you have rejected Christ or if you are living your life as a practical atheist. In other words, you may belong to a church, you may claim Christ, but you live your life as if He does not exist and you have no hope. But there is the ultimate hope for those who believe. Verse 16, one of the more well-known verses in the Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
What does it mean to believe? The very last verse of John 3 answers this question: “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light.” Believing is more than a mere verbal confession, it is more than an intellectual assent to the existence of Christ. Believing is practicing “the truth.” If one truly believes in Christ, then they will practice “the truth” of God’s Word. Belief is not a one-time event; it is the total transformation of one’s life. It is turning from the sin in our lives, the sin in our culture, and it is turning to the truth of God’s Word.
As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember that God sent His Son to save sinners, which every single one of us is. If you have never repented of your sins and believed in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, please do that today. There could be no greater and more profound way to celebrate the incarnation than to turn from darkness to Light.
Tim Adams is pastor at Sovereign Grace Community Church of the Yampa Valley.
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