Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

12/18/2019

Randall Caselman

 

Accepting His Joy

 

  God is love. It is a part of His nature. "This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us..." Gift giving originated within the heart of God... "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." Love and giving are inseparable.

 

  The Motive: God Loves Us. We have so misused the word love until it has lost its true meaning. We love pumpkin pie because it tastes good. We love a member of the opposite sex because they are attractive to us. We love our country because of the freedoms it affords. We love mother for what she has done for us. But God loves for another reason: He loves us because we need His love and we can’t live without it! Remove God’s love from our world and we would have neither life nor salvation. If we could sustain ourselves, forgive and save ourselves, we would not need God’s love, nor His gifts.

 

  The Gift: His Only Begotten Son. The gift is proportional to the love of the giver. When it came time for God to give, He gave—not His cattle on a thousand hills, not silver and gold, not stocks and bonds, not lands and houses— but "His only begotten Son." No other sacrifice would do! "He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption... How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences" (Hebrews 9.12-14).

 

  God in heaven becomes flesh in a womb. He who is larger than the universe becomes an embryo. The Omnipotent Creator is born of a teenage girl. God is wrapped in swaddling cloth. Spirit becomes flesh, making Himself vulnerable to human weakness, sorrow, sin, pain and death. What a gift!! "Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift."

 

  The Condition Of The Gift: Faith. This gift given by God is not for those who deserve it, not for those who earn it, not for only a chosen few, but for all who will respond to it by faith. The Hebrew writer plainly states that the blood of Christ flowed back from the cross toward Adam, and forward toward us, giving salvation to all who would step into its life-giving flow: "But now He (Christ) has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Hebrews 9.26). Rejecting Christ nullifies the gift. "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts4.12).

 

  Listen, the only gifts we will enjoy this Christmas are the ones we unwrap. Likewise, we must access the gift of Christ by responding to Him. Faith is what “unwraps” Jesus in our life: “unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” The Hebrews’ writer says, “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith,”“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Let's not try to rewrite scripture or explain it away, but just accept God’s gift on His terms through an obedient faith. Amen?

 

  Result of The Gift: Eternal Life. I believe the Bible to teach that eternal life is more than just simple longevity. It also speaks to us about a quality of living: Eternal life versus eternal death. Lost versus being saved. Fear versus comfort. Death versus life. Perishing versus salvation. Joy versus sorrow. Happiness versus pain. Light versus darkness. Losing versus winning. Heaven over Hell. Fellowship with God versus separation from Him and His gifts. I hope you're experiencing Eternal Life during this Holiday Season, and are preparing to enjoy the Eternity of Heaven.

 

  Please! Let me beg you to add genuine Joy to your life by acknowledging your faith in Jesus, accepting Him as both your Lord and King.

 

—RANDALLCASELMAN