God is Waiting (cont)

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Here lies a mystery at the heart of our faith.  Whereas religion tries to make us spiritual, Christmas reminds us that God gets physical. Where religion calls us to work hard so we might ascend to be as gods, Christmas tells how God descended to become one of us.

baby-Jesus-in-a-manger1

“God put incredible trust into the hands of a very human family”

At Christmas we celebrate the untouchable becoming touchable; the unseeable becoming see-able; the all-powerful becoming vulnerable and the all self-sufficient one becoming the dependent one. The voice that once created the heavens and the earth was reduced to the cry of a new born baby.

“The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that he sunk himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding,” penned Martin Luther. Charles Wesley composed, “Our God contracted to a span; incomprehensibly made man.” Soren Kierkegaard called it the absolute paradox: the presence of the eternal in time.

Across the world again this Christmas millions will sing carols and retell the Christmas story. Yet, many will do so without ever entering into its real mystery and meaning. That will be lost, neglected and abused in the midst of the commercialism, individualism, and consumerism of our celebrations.

This is lamentable no doubt, but isn’t it as it has always been? The Word that arrived incognito over 2,000 years ago is just as easily overlooked today. For the vast majority of Australians, Christmas will again be celebrated without even a thought to the meaning and mystery the lies within it.

As a helpless and vulnerable baby, God put incredible trust into the hands of a very human family. It has been the same ever since. Rather than use force, intimidation or coercion God arrived on planet earth powerless, speechless and vulnerable. That baby could do no more than accept the care humanity would give him. Yet it is within such weakness and dependency that the invitation comes. It is an invitation to each and every one of us to a relationship with our creator. A relationship grounded in the reality we are loved, forgiven and accepted.

God is patient if nothing else. Again this Christmas the spirit of God whispers in our carols and waits for any who will listen.

In the midst of our celebrations, our family gatherings and parties, God will be present in the same vulnerable way. Just like that first Christmas, God awaits our response.

Stephen L Baxter

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5 thoughts on “God is Waiting (cont)

  1. Steve Kormanic says:

    That many will remain ignorant of the real mystery and meaning of Christmas story is indeed lamentable – for it does not bode well for their ‘eternal estate’ – should they perish in their sins. Every soul of man will spend ETERNITY somewhere : either in glory with God and His people, or in Hell – a place of eternal torment, separated from God and all His benefits – forever. Jesus warned His hearers to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [ Matthew 4:17]

    Some 2000 years ago. the apostle Paul, having been brought before the Areopagus – the judicial and legislative council of Athens – because he had been preaching ‘Jesus and the resurrection ‘ , concluded his short but powerful apologetic discourse with these words:

    “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising him from the dead.” [ Acts 17:29]

    The next verse informs us that when his audience heard of the ‘resurrection of the dead’ , some mocked, while others said they would hear Paul again on this matter.

    Jesus Christ PROVED His claim to Deity by openly declaring in front of numerous witnesses, that He would suffer at the hands of the authorities, be put to death by them, and that He would RISE FROM THE DEAD three days later – just as God’s Holy prophets had also previously declared in the Scriptures.

    Where is He now – this ‘once vulnerable baby’ ?

    The apostle Paul, writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, put it this way;
    “…keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see, to who be honor and everlasting power, Amen.” [ 1 Timothy 6:14-16]

    Hmmm…doesn’t sound quite so ‘vulnerable’ now , does HE?

    God did indeed demonstrate His gracious and loving intentions toward sinful and rebellious humanity by sending His UNIQUE SON , Jesus Christ, to take on Human form -even as a helpless child – in order to accomplish His glorious plan of redemption and reconciliation. No doubt about it. No greater demonstration of LOVE will ever be found than this , that :
    “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” [ John 3:16 ] But let’s read on !
    vv 17 -18 state:
    “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
    He who believes in Him is not condemned; but He who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

    Yes, God is indeed ‘inviting’ us to enter into a wonderful relationship with Him. But this relationship is predicated on the atoning death of His Sinless and Perfect Son Jesus Christ on the cross, Who gave His life as a ransom for sinners, the Just for the unjust, & Who shed His precious and imperishable blood on the Cross of Calvary, in order that we CAN be forgiven, and thus avoid the penalty that we justly and richly deserve, due to our sin and rebellion against the Sovereign Creator and Ruler of all Creation – even God Almighty Himself.

    Oh, what a gracious offer of amnesty!

    But let’s not forget: in order to enter in, we must first REPENT of our sin and rebellion, admit our desperate need of God’s forgiveness, and RECEIVE Jesus Christ as LORD.

    Only then, can we be ‘accepted’.

    The testimony of the Holy Spirit as delivered via the apostles remains as true today as ever it did:

    “He [Jesus Christ] came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him , the them He gave the right* [tr. note: ‘authority’ ] to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name…” [ John 1:11]

    Relationship with the Living God , even eternal life , is a gracious gift from God …but unless we are willing to repent, bow the knee, confess our sin, cry out for forgiveness, and humbly RECEIVE Jesus Christ as LORD, that priceless gift is of NO avail to us.

    Why do I take pains to write this? Because it seems to have become ‘fashionable’ these days to avoid a fundamental truth – one which sinful man finds most offensive : that we are WRETCHED & VILE sinners, so vile in fact, that it took nothing less than the death of God’s glorious Son to rescue us from ourselves.

    It has become fashionable I say, to whisper sweet nothings into the ears of sinners, making them the focal point – as though human happiness is the ‘end’ of all being- rather than directing their gaze to behold the true centre of all reality , Jesus Christ the resurrected Lord , Who alone is worthy and is the true ‘end of all being’ – even God Almighty Himself!

    I pray that we Who love the Lord Jesus Christ in truth and sincerity, would not fail to open our mouths and TESTIFY with the Holy Spirit, that Jesus Christ is LORD, and that He is coming back SOON to judge the living and the dead, and that the Father’s gracious offer of forgiveness of sins through the washing in the precious blood of His Son Jesus Christ, is available to all who would enter into eternal life through Christ, for He is “The Way , the Truth, and the Life” [John 14 :6]
    And let us not fail to WARN all men, that those who continue to reject Christ to the bitter end, will perish in their sins, only to be resurrected to face the final Judgement, the conclusion of which is to be cast into the lake of ‘fire and brimstone’ prepared for the Devil and his angels. [ Rev 20:10 – 15 ]

    In other words, let’s preach the gospel to every creature, even as our Lord Jesus Christ has commanded us to do. [ see Matthew 28:18-20 ; Mark 16:15-20]

    For those who still see Jesus as ‘vulnerable’ , see [Rev 19:11- 16; 2 Thess 1:6- 10 ]

    • Hi Steve,
      Thanks for your response to my blog on Christmas eve. We went on a break on Christmas day and I’ve just got back in the office and only now attending to the back log of emails.
      In response to your email, I basically agree with you except in the area of timing.
      Indeed there will be a day when “every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.” I look forward that day with great anticipation as no doubt you do. On that day, as Kevin used to say, some will bow willingly and some will not, but all will bow. What a magnificent day it will be.
      However, until that day God is not using force and is encountered in different ways. As Elijah found, “the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:11-12).
      My blog did not say God is not all powerful, for indeed God is, but rather that at this stage in history God’s chosen means of communication is reflected in the mystery of the incarnation where God took upon himself human flesh and was born as a baby. That’s all I was trying to get across.
      I trust that is helpful.
      Stephen

  2. Steve Kormanic says:

    Thanks Steve. You say you agree with me “except in the area of timing.” Not sure what basis for disagreement you find there. In my first comment, I did not deny that God has in the last times chosen to communicate His redemptive work in the incarnation of His unique and glorious Son Jesus Christ. In fact, I affirmed this fact with accompanying Scripture.
    Moreover, I DID NOT say that God is now ‘forcing’ people to repent and acknowledge Him as the Sovereign LORD over all creation – so why should you put it in those terms. Are you trying to put words in my mouth?

    However, the idea that ” …at this stage of history, God’s chosen means of communication is reflected in the mystery of the incarnation…” requires, in my opinion, some examination.

    In my opinion, your article is yet another example of the ‘Jesus meek and mild’ , syndrome which is so often peddled by those who seek to avoid the severity of God.
    God is love – true. But God is also Holy, and Just.

    Neither Jesus or His apostles shrank back from the fact that the very one who was born into this world as a baby, also demonstrated His Deity in diverse ways, overcoming death just as the Scriptures foretold, showing that He is the One Who is worthy – not only to die for our sins – but also to judge the living and the dead in righteousness, at the appointed time.

    It seems to me ( and I am not alone in this opinion) , that far too many well meaning Christians, seek to focus on the ‘warm and fuzzy’ aspect of Jesus’ incarnation, refusing to see and present the FULLNESS of God’s Superlative Attributes, Character and Purposes – which include the fact that God does not force sinful men to receive Him as LORD and Master now, He has CLEARLY communicated that the penalty for rejecting His loving and gracious offer of amnesty is exceedingly dire, and to be avoided at all cost.

    As disciples of Christ, we do a great disservice to those we hope to win to Christ, when we fail to warn men of those consequences.

    Steve Kormnic

  3. Steve Kormanic says:

    *Steve Kormanic

  4. Steve Kormanic says:

    With respect to the second last paragraph , sorry about the poor grammar ( I was pressed for time ) , here is the edited version ( perhaps you will do me the courtesy of deleting the first? I can’t seem to find an option which allows me to delete my posts.
    ————————————————————————->
    Thanks Steve. You say you agree with me “except in the area of timing.” Not sure what basis for disagreement you find there. In my first comment, I did not deny that God has in the last times chosen to communicate His redemptive work via the incarnation of His unique and glorious Son Jesus Christ. In fact, I affirmed this fact with accompanying Scripture.
    Moreover, I DID NOT say that God is now ‘forcing’ people to repent and acknowledge Him as the Sovereign LORD over all creation – so why should you put it in those terms. Are you trying to put words in my mouth?

    However, the idea that “…at this stage of history, God’s chosen means of communication is reflected in the mystery of the incarnation…” requires, in my opinion, some examination.

    Your article strikes me as yet another example of the ‘Jesus meek and mild’ syndrome, which is so often peddled by those who seek to avoid the severity of God.

    God is love – true. But God is also Holy, and Just.

    Neither Jesus or His apostles shrank back from the fact that the very one who was born into this world as a baby, also went on to demonstrate His Deity in diverse ways, even overcoming death just as the Scriptures foretold, showing that He is the One Who is worthy – not only to die for our sins – but also to judge the living and the dead in righteousness, at the appointed time.

    It seems to me ( and I am not alone in this opinion) , that far too many well meaning Christians, seek to focus on the ‘warm and fuzzy’ aspect of Jesus’ incarnation, refusing to see and present the FULLNESS of God’s Superlative Attributes, Character and Purposes – which includes the fact that while God does not force sinful men to receive Him as LORD and Master now, He has nevertheless CLEARLY communicated that, the penalty for rejecting His loving and gracious offer of amnesty is exceedingly dire, and to be avoided at all cost. That penalty is of course eternal separation from God and all His benefits in a literal place of eternal torment, for ever and ever, without reprieve.The Bible calls it “Hell” .

    As disciples of Christ, we do a great disservice to those we hope to win to Christ – when we fail to warn men of those consequences.

    No wonder the Apostle Paul , inspired by the Spirit of God, wrote :
    “Him we preach, warning every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” [Col 1:28]

    Hope this clarifies the matter somewhat.

    Steve Kormanic

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