Dr. Marc Drake, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church Sun Lakes
Most men are not fans of shopping. It’s been said that they approach shopping trips the way a CIA team approaches covert missions: identify the target, know where it is, do not deviate to the left or the right, and be out of the store before the next customer has even advanced to the counter! Of course, during the Christmas season, shopping becomes even more of a challenge. For some people the solution to the mayhem is online shopping. After all, you don’t even have to go outside. No need to face traffic snarls, crowds and the tempers of last minute shoppers. Online shopping can be done in your pajamas.
Also, by the time your package arrives, you can’t quite remember what you ordered. So, it’s like someone has sent you a surprise present! And because that someone is you, there’s no possibility you won’t like it. You could say it’s you in the past sending gifts to you in the future (sort of like time travel).
Now, with that in mind, think about this: God in the past has sent a gift to us in the future. And it’s the gift of all gifts, the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. As the Bible says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15). Oh, this is the most priceless gift ever offered! We were dead in our sins but Jesus paid the penalty for all of them in full on the cross.
Therefore, grace is all one-sided; it completely dismisses human ability and merit. Indeed, we bring nothing to God but our sins. It is His grace that brings salvation to those who place their faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life. So, when we come to Christ, we don’t come just to be made better; we come to be made alive. We don’t come to be helped; we come to be rescued. For grace doesn’t just give us a hand. It gives us a resurrection! Christ alone raises us from the dead spiritually.
During these days leading up to Christmas, let’s constantly call to mind God’s amazing grace in sending His Son to live, die, and rise from the dead for us. The great hymn of John Newton, first published in 1779, still says it so well:
Amazing grace! how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Consider the fact that God didn’t just shout to us from heaven: “I am a God of love. I am a God of grace.” No, He demonstrated His love and grace by sending His Son. And to have Him is to have life (spiritual, abundant, and eternal). Jesus – plus nothing – equals everything!
That’s grace. Christmas grace.