God’s ways are not ours. He delights in surprises. He seems to relish the unexpected. Christmas is filled with surprises, but perhaps the biggest one of all is the incarnation, God has taken on flesh. He has told us why and for almost 2000 years the world has fought against His plan. But he is God and we are not. And his plan continues to move forward, praise His holy name. Here’s a reminder of that from a 15 year old book that I have taken the liberty of updating from King James to the English Standard Version.
“For two millennia unregenerate mankind has railed against and ridiculed the Christian doctrine of the atonement: that God dispatched His ‘only begotten Son,’ Jesus Christ, into this world for the express purpose of dying on the cross. Unsaved persons, ‘religious’ and nonreligious, are appalled by the cross and precious blood that Christ shed on that cruel instrument of death.
Why did Christ have to die by shedding His blood? So He could become the substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all human beings before, during and after His incarnation, even to the end of the world or the consummation of the age.
The cross is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions, cults, and isms of the world. The cross, first of all–and, second, the resurrection. The apostle Paul forcefully declared:
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me (1 Corinthians 15:1-8, emphasis added).”
Taking Back the Gospel: The Perils of a User-Friendly Faith,
Bailey Smith, (Harvest House 1999) 14.
Hope to see you Sunday in worship of the King.