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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Why God Really Sent Jesus

At some point this Christmas season, you're likely to be reminded that Jesus was born for Crucifixion.

While we shouldn't avoid the messy yet necessary message of the cross, we also cannot point so emphatically at the cross that we lose the full circle truth of why God really sent Jesus. Obtaining our salvation wasn't the end that Jesus was born to achieve, but only the means to a far greater end.

God desires relationship with us.

Self-centered, prideful, fearful human nature frustrates relationship. We often have difficulty coming to the cross, either believing salvation from sin is unnecessary because we're good enough, or we think our sin too great to make us worthy of saving. Once we bring our sin to the cross and receive God's forgiveness and salvation, we tend to gravitate toward a new set of extremes—legalism or license. Whether or not we achieve a measure of balance there, we may become so enamored with Christianity that we drift away from abiding with the Christ:

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."
~ Revelation 3:20 (NKJV)

These words are spoken to people who are already part of the church—not to the unsaved nonbelievers, but to the lukewarm believers who've forgotten to keep on inviting Jesus into their lives for relationship. The Great Commission isn't to simply get people to the cross. Our Master asks His disciples—those who have walked with Him, who have shared His death and His life—to bring others into the same relationship.

"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love... These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full."
~ Jesus, John 15:7,9 (NKJV)

God did not merely step into flesh so that He might one day be crucified. God actually became a Man. He lived with us as One of us. He suffered and wept with us, ate and laughed and had fellowship with us. He even died—with us and for us—so that we might experience His resurrection and live with Him, every single day of our lives.

God didn't save us from our sin for only our own sake, nor for only His sake. He saved us for each other, that He might have intimate, loving, "
exceeding joy" relationship with us.

Our Father, please don't let us settle for too little of You. Please use Your Spirit and Your Word and Your people to fulfill in each of us Your purpose of relationship with us, that our "joy may be full," every single day of the year. Please grant us the pleasure and privilege of bringing You joy.

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Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

8 comments:

  1. As well put as I have ever seen it in print Anne. Most gatherings will be primarily concerned with eating, playing "dirty santa" or "chinese Christmas" dealing with gifts and finally part having said nothing concerning Jesus or the reason for them being there. It is sad and I have one of those events to attend tomorrow. Not a happy thought but something to get over. I praise God for your service Anne getting the Word out in such an effective way. Merry Christ to you and your family.
    Odie

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  2. Amen, very well said sis. Merry Christmas to you, and your dear family. I love you.

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  3. Odie, I definitely appreciate how difficult it can be to meet people where they are, whether during the holydays or any other day of the year. I would imagine that Jesus might have felt the same way about some people at times.

    But ...

    "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine ...
    Won't let satan [poof!] it out ...
    Let it shine til Jesus comes,
    Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!"

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  4. Thank you, Denise. Merry Christmas to you and Lovebug! I love you too.

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  5. This time of year always reminds me of the crucifixion. They'be becoem inseparable in my head. And I hope my heart.

    Merry Christmas, Anne, to you and your family.

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  6. Thank you for the Christmas blessing, Glynn. May our Lord the crucified Christ be glorified through our lives, in every day of 2012.

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  7. Quote:

    Once we bring our sin to the cross and receive God's forgiveness and salvation, we tend to gravitate toward a new set of extremes—legalism or license.

    this post is still sticking in my craw a bit, Anne. the way i read this and understood the word "license" is in reference to grace....yes? license meaning whatever the soul pleases? because of the no more sin clause?

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  8. Bud, I say "license" as in "license to sin." I would never, ever say grace gives license to sin. God's grace looks past sinful flesh to the beloved soul when His Son's blood covers sinful flesh. But sin=death, and God's grace promotes only life and not death.

    It's not the things which truly please the body or soul which are a problem. True satisfaction of body and soul come from things deisred by the Spirit of God. The desires of flesh—our Self-ish, sinful nature—are the things which bring us to sin. I'll use eating as an example: when the Spirit of God lives in us, and we abide in Christ, our spirit desires good food to maintain health, so the body is filled with life; the flesh looks for immediate gratification without regard for health, and eats things which bring death. Although eating can satisfy either spirit and flesh, the manner and purpose of eating will be different, according to which desire we allow to prevail.

    I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
    (Galatians 5:16-18)


    Notice that says "if you are led by the Spirit." When we are led by the desires of flesh, we needlessly place ourselves back under a system of flesh and sin and death from which we've been set free. I'd guess that a good deal of the time, we tell ourselves we can get away with satisfying both spirit and flesh, and thereby don't feel too bad about indulging death. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." (Galatians 6:7)

    As for the "no more sin" clause, I wonder if you're thinking of 1 John 3:6:

    Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

    To abide in God is to walk in step with His Spirit, and indulge the Spirit rather than flesh. This is at least one fulfillment of this verse. There are surely others.

    Shalom ~

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