Christmas 2023

As our thoughts turn to Christmas and the birth of Jesus, it’s a very busy time of year. There are presents to buy and give, travel plans to be made, a menu to plan then cook. Take time this season to consider the best gift of all, what God has done for you this Christmas.

In Romans 8:32, Paul begins, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all…” God did not keep Jesus back or refrain from giving Him up, but did so willingly, wholeheartedly, sacrificially. The Father loved the Son but was willing to part with Him, as Abraham was in Genesis 22; he was willing to sacrifice his own son, Isaac (until God intervened). God has an only-begotten Son who is uniquely the Son of God, born of the virgin, fully God and fully man. He was not created or adopted or fostered or “grafted in,” and it was the best act of love, the best gift that could be given, that God would not spare Jesus. Paul is saying, “Look at the extent to which God loves us and goes out of His way for us, how He is devoted to us! God delivers up his own Son for us.” This sounds a lot like John 3:16, “For God so loved the world He gave his only Son…” For God so loved you.

Why did God “give Him up for us all?” To give him up is to “deliver Him over to death” or “deliver Him for our trespasses,” as Paul wrote earlier in 4:5. The problem is we are sinners by nature and by birth. We lie, cheat, steal, and break God’s law. There is no one good, not even one. There is an objective “right and wrong” in the universe, and we do not obey it. We turn away to our own ways and the bill comes due and must be paid. “The wages of sin is death” and you deserve death, punishment, wrath, and hell. Do you feel the weight of your sin? Do you hear your conscience cry, “Guilty?” What can you do?

The good news is Romans 8:32 – God “gave Him up for us all.” God lays on Him your iniquity and failures and sin. Jesus, the perfect God and perfect man, atones for your sin, pays for your sin, takes the punishment for your sin, instead of you. While you were weak and in sin, an enemy of God, Christ died for you. “In your place condemned He stood.” There is no better gift that could be given or received. Have you received this gift of forgiveness, of justification, of right and legal standing before God?

If God loves you this much to give Jesus, how much more could He give? What else could He give? The TV commercials tell us, “But wait, there’s more!” He gave Him up for us all AND, “will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” God has supplied all we need to be like Christ today and in the future. We get even more in the future because we in Christ will inherit the entire recreated universe. There will be no more pain or suffering or fear or death and we will reign with Christ forever. We are reminded of all Christ’s riches and so much more God graciously gives us, through Jesus.

God did not withhold Christ from us. He loved us and gave us Himself. He will give us greater still. Christ is more than all the world or all other gifts and blessings whatsoever. He is the best gift and gift-giver.