Links Daily Devotional

Jesus, the Gift of God

“For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14, ESV)

A golfer’s Christmas dilemma: trading in the old rusted trusty wedge for a shiny new one? Some of us mostly favor change, thinking the newer the better. Others mostly stick to what works and has been working. Some are loyal to improvement and others are loyal to trustworthiness.

No such dilemma need apply to the Gospel; it is as old as the foundation of the world yet shines like new every day. At this time of year, however, proclaiming that Jesus is the gift of God to mankind can fall flat from overuse and continuous carols. The baby in the manger can start seeming like no big deal as we stand distracted. The torture of the ghost of present suffering, the torment of the ghost of past grief and guilt, and the taunting of the ghost of future worries are hard at work to suffocate our joy and cloud our sight of the Savior.

But the fact it that Jesus in the manger is a very big deal! Do you know this was God incarnate? That this baby was the result of the Holy Spirit working through Mary, a virgin? And since Jesus is the Creator and the Word, does his leaving his glory to atone for sins move you or cause you to wonder? Does gazing at his perfect life and death on your behalf grip your heart?

I would like to present two screens by which to dispel the fog within our hearts this Christmas. First, we must be awakened to the holiness of God. The biggest problem we will ever encounter in our lives is the holiness of God, because we are sinners. It’s not something we can wish away, run around, jump over, or forget about. God alone is righteous. His wrath is justly deserved by every one of us, and therefore we are at his mercy (Romans 11:32). Why such somber news? Because without weighing the severity of sin and the reality of his holy wrath, we cannot appreciate with fullness of joy and awe the grace that the Good News brings! For example, if we see our health as more troubling than our sin, then we are going to grumble and complain to God and entertain the ghost of self-pity instead of rejoicing at his love and mercy and our unmerited fellowship with Christ.

Second, we need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the perfection of the gift of God. Christ came to save a multitude, and “by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Believer, rejoice: the gift of God is not like earthly gifts! Jesus does not require our clumsy assembly, he won’t become outdated in a few months, and he won’t rust or cease working. The gift of God is not so; you can receive him without fear. Salvation through Christ alone is a perfect bundle of grace, with God providing what he requires from his people. By the Spirit’s work in our hearts, we are given the faith and perseverance needed to run the course, from start to finish. We are ever safe in the hands of the Savior, adorned with his intercession, and cradled in the fore-love of the Father’s heart. The perfection of Christ means that his majestic glory is absolute, so that we should not boast or fear.

We are indeed needy children this Christmas. May the Spirit open our eyes to the excellence of Jesus and the flawlessness of the gift of God! Like a shiny new toy, Lord, make your salvation shine in our hearts!

Isabelle Beisiegel
December 22, 2014
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