Christmas 2021 #1 First Peace With God
Christmas 2021 #1 First Peace With God
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger." At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
The word translated for us as peace has been derived from the picture of binding or joining together something that has been separated. This should be familiar to your ears when we look at humanity’s predicament with its estrangement from God. Peace in this sense means the reconciliation of our relationship with God.
“…when the right time came, God sent his Son…” “…He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” “It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ's sacred blood, you know.” “…Christ suffered for our sins once. He was an innocent person, but he suffered for guilty people so that he could bring you to God.”
It's impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.
There’s the question for modern humanity: Is there a God? Does God exist? No one can answer that question for you. You must decide. As you decide, remember there is no proof one way or the other, after all, faith is subjective confidence that what you believe is right. Funny, regardless if you decide yes that God exists, or no there is no supernatural Creator, you are going to exercise faith. You don’t search out to find what you know doesn’t exist. But you can decide to seek out what, or in this case, who, you know exists.
His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
A continual feeling of deferential awe keeps us loyal. We know God loves us. We know we will give God an account of the way we spent our lives. Deferential awe keeps us obedient. We know God's favor is upon us. We know that God does not tolerate sin. Deferential awe keeps us faithful. We know we have been adopted into God’s family. We know that God disciplines His children. Deferential awe puts our perspective of the relationship we share with God in proper focus. He is God, we are not. He is Creator, we are creature. He is Savior and we are the saved. Deferential awe, that fear of the Lord keeps us loyal, obedient, and faithful.
Then there was a voice out of the cloud: "This is my Son, the Chosen! Listen to him."
"Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self.
Maybe the best way to understand self-sacrifice is you make that sacrifice when you do what pleases God instead of what pleases you. You are confronted with a choice, one decision you feel is squarely in obedience to God, the other decision is not. When you choose obedience you are following Jesus. Following Jesus pleases God and the result is peace between you and Him. This will set off a series of events that will allow you to find peace with yourself and peace with others.
“Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.” Peace, uniting what once was divided, reconciling what once was estranged. Peace is God's gift to those that have faith in Him, Fear Him, and follow Him. In our season of celebrating the Incarnation, you can know the peace of God. Choose to do what pleases Him.