Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
(The Advent: Faces within the Christmas Story.)
John 3:16-17 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16-17 (MSG)
This is how much God loved the world: 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. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.
“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him.” -AMPLIFIED
The saga of Jesus begins long before the actual Christmas story. We now turn our attention to the Master-planner. We will consider the face of the One who had everything planned and in His control from the very start.
God knew before He had even formed mankind that man would blow it and sin. The Omniscient Father knew what direction man would go; yet He still desired to form us in order to have relationship with us. He was willing to take the chance on us and so He set a plan in place to take care of our greatest need; redemption from sin.
Christmas is all about God’s great plan coming to fruition. Why? “For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction.” -(VOICE)
God loved us! Even before we were created, formed or completed God loved us. “For the Lord, your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb says this, “I am the Lord, Maker of all things, Who alone stretches out the heavens, Who spreads out the earth by Myself…” -Isaiah 44:24 (AMP)
Christmas, is God’s way of being there for us in our most desperate situation. Our sin meant certain death and separation eternally from God. There was no way to repair that relationship on our own. God saw our hopeless estate (even before it had happened) and decided that He needed to do something about it. Now that is true love!
Christmas means that God sent his Son so that we could believe and have eternal life. God gave us hope when we had no hope. “Blessed is God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! Because He has raised Jesus the Anointed from death, through His great mercy we have been reborn into a living hope—reborn for an eternal inheritance, held in reserve in heaven, that will never fade or fail.” -1 Peter 1:3-4 (VOICE)
How do we receive this gift that God has so graciously offered us? We acknowledge that we are sinners and we ask God’s forgiveness for our sin and pride. We must believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father; He is our only hope for salvation. We then must confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of our life. “So if you believe deep in your heart that God raised Jesus from the pit of death and if you voice your allegiance by confessing the truth that “Jesus is Lord,” then you will be saved!” -Romans 10:9 (VOICE)
God loves you and He wants to give you hope! I hope that you have accepted His gift personally. “I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13 (VOICE)
God, my Father, it is because of you that I have hope. Thank you. Thank you for your love that realized my hopeless estate, even before I was created. It was because of your great love that I have an opportunity for forgiveness, redemption, and relationship. You, God, have given me hope and made eternity with you possible. Thank you! ❤