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Looking Forward

This is a blog written by the pastors and ministry staff of Forward Baptist Church.  It's purpose is to equip, encourage, teach, rebuke, correct, train in righteousness, and above all, point its readers to Christ.  

"So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this [the return of Christ, when all things will be made new], make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him."  
- 2 Peter 3:14
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  • Dec5Wed

    The Weary World Rejoices!

    December 5, 2018 Pastor Steve Lambert

              O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
              It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
              Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
              Till He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
              A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
              For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
              Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
              O night divine, O night when Christ was born


    This is the first verse of my favourite Christmas carol - O Holy Night.  It's a beautiful song (even if it's basically for most people to sing!) and the lyrics carry a beauty that matches the melody very well.   In the words of this song, there is a deep truth that we should celebrate all year long: the coming of Jesus changed everything!  


    Romans 5:12 tells us that “...sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin,and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned….”  This is referring to the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 1-3. Adam, the first man, disobeyed God and by doing so, condemned the world. In Genesis 3, we read that actually Eve sinned first, and Adam followed.  But the Bible always places the responsibility on Adam as the head of his family and the representative of the human race. When Adam sinned, all humanity sinned in him. That’s a hard concept to understand, but Romans 5:19 clearly says so: “...through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners…”


    What this means is that every person who is born is born a sinner by nature.  We have sin hardwired into our flesh by virtue of being a descendent of Adam. We aren’t born neutral, we’re born corrupted.  We aren’t able to follow God’s commands. We don’t want to. Romans 8:7 says it very clearly: “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”  That’s the natural state of all humanity ever since the first sin of the first man. That’s what the hymn means when it says “Long lay the world in sin and error pining”. Generation after generation of humanity lived and died under the power of sin, waiting and hoping for salvation.  


    God didn’t leave humanity to suffer without help or hope.  He gave His law to show the seriousness of sin and to point toward the promised hope. Those who trusted in God and sought to obey His law were given grace and their sins weren’t counted against them.  But that wasn’t the final solution. Those sins remained piled up, needing to be dealt with. God could not just ignore them because He is just and sin must be punished.  Who would rescue humanity from the power of sin?

              Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
              Till He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
              A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
              For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.


    When Jesus was born everything was new.  The weary world, laid down by sin rejoiced with a thrill of hope!  Why? Because Jesus was not just another human child born under the condemnation of sin.  Jesus wasn’t a normal baby following in the footsteps of His ancestor Adam. No Jesus was the Son of God.  Born of a virgin. Conceived by the Holy Spirit. Eternal God become flesh to dwell among us. God with us.  And as a result, Jesus was able to be a new Adam - a new representative for the human race. He was born sinless and He succeeded where Adam failed.  He obeyed His Father perfectly. But more than that, He took the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross. Jesus was the sacrifice that our sins required.  All those piled up sins committed in the past by those who followed God in faith are paid for in Jesus (Romans 3:25-26). And likewise, all the sins of today and the future, committed by those who follow Jesus in faith are paid for in Him (Romans 5:18-19).


    All humanity is born into Adam’s race.  We are born corrupt and sinful, hostile to God by nature.  But now we can be born again into a new race of humanity, with Jesus as our representative, rather than Adam.  He gives us a new nature through the Holy Spirit and allows us to begin the journey of growing to be more like Jesus and less like Adam.  So let’s not wait until Christmas to celebrate the coming of Jesus! Let’s rejoice in this glorious truth every day and live like Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.


    Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)

     

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