“Until sin is bitter, Christ will not be sweet.” – Thomas Watson
God had a strong word to say against His people through the prophet Micah. They were guilty of greed, lust, coveting, oppressing the poor and weak, arrogance and pride, and false teaching, just to name a few issues. They did not know or remember their God and His Word. They chased after false gods, committing spiritual prostitution and spiritual sleeping around on God. They were cold and unloving, and their come-uppings were due. It was the end of the road.
We find ourselves in the same situation. We are dead in sin, lost in transgressions. We live in rebellion and sin against God. We have lied, cheated, stolen, lusted; even angry thoughts are as murder before Him. We are doomed to an eternity apart from Him, “as far as the curse is found.” God takes sin and rebellion against Him seriously, so seriously that He ultimately dealt with this problem by sending His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for your sin. Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” Peter elaborates in 1 Peter 3:18, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” Jesus Himself proclaimed in Mark 10:45, “For even I [the Son of Man] came not to be served but to serve, and to give my [his] life as a ransom for many.” This is the good news of Christmas – we can rejoice!
As Christmas approaches, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Messiah, Lord and Savior. We sing, “Let every heart prepare Him room,” and we are to prepare room for Him in our hearts by cleaning out the junk and crud. The charges God levied against His people then are the same towards us now. Where does God’s judgment need to fall today on us, His people, His church, you? Where do you need a wake-up call today? God cares about the same sins among His people today as then; where are you guilty of these sins? Where have you become blinded by these sins? Do you feel the force and weight of God’s holiness and your sin?
The first step of worshiping God at Christmas is an indictment against us, to make sin bitter, to feel the weight of, “I have sinned against my God.” We are sick in need of a physician and lost in need of a guide. Even as believers we become cold, stale, sluggish, prone to wander and leave the one we love, wrapped up in the world’s view of Christmas and losing sight of who He is. Worshipping Christ at Christmas is knowing Him and coming back, to be renewed and revived, made awake and alive to Him. “Be holy, as your Father in heaven is holy,” this Christmas. Turn away from bitter sin and taste the sweetness of Christ this Christmas.