It's so simple, really. Sometimes it seems too simple- and good- to be true. But it's not. It's the truest thing you will ever hear. And I want to share it with you, in my own words. Because it's for you- yes you. No matter who you are. No matter what your day has been like. No matter what your week, or your year, or your life has been like so far. The Gospel is for YOU.
There is a perfect, holy God who created the universe and all the grass, trees, oceans, mountains, living creatures in just six days. On that sixth day He created His prized possession- mankind. The first man and woman were named Adam and Eve, and they were created in the image of God. He breathed into them the breath of life and from nothing, made man with a soul, and the world with all of its beauty. He placed within man a desire for relationship with this holy God, and in the beginning they walked and talked as friends in the Garden of Eden. There was only one tree in the entire garden that God forbid man to eat from. But man disobeyed, and with the bite of that tree's fruit, sin entered the world. God had to banish Adam and Eve from the garden and from His presence because He is holy and cannot commune with sin and unrighteousness.
Adam and Eve went on and had lots of children, and grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Each generation had the same sinful heart condition that had begun in the garden- sin. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death, so with sin came death, and the people who were designed to live forever began to taste death and sorrow and pain and heartache. God's heart was grieved, too. He wanted to commune with His children. In His determined love, He went before them in a cloud by day and a fire by night. He had them build a tabernacle in the wilderness where His presence could come and dwell among them. But the sin in their hearts kept them separated from the perfect, holy God.
So God came up with a plan to rescue His people once and for all. To save them from their sins and redeem their broken lives. He sent His Son Jesus into the world to die and pay the wages of sin for all mankind, once and for all. As sin and death came through one man, Adam, so grace and redemption came through one man, Jesus (Romans 5:12-21). With the death of Jesus on the cross came freedom from perishing and death. "For God SO LOVED the world (YOU!), that He gave His only Son, that WHOSOEVER (you!) believes on Him SHALL NOT PERISH, but have EVERLASTING LIFE." -John 3:16
His birth is what we celebrate on Christmas. God coming down as flesh and dwelling among us. Deity in a diaper. Majesty in the midst of the mundane. The hands that created the world loved us so much that they became helpless newborn flesh to redeem us. Jesus walked on the earth as God in human form and showed us how to live, how to love. He faced death on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins.
But Jesus rose from the dead three days later, more powerful than the grave. He showed us that He had conquered death and was victorious over even the grave. Only Someone like that can offer eternal life. He descended to heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of God, waiting for just the perfect moment to come again and take His believing children home to heaven forever and ever.
So what does that mean for you? Oh it's the best news of your life! It means that NO MATTER WHAT, the blood of Jesus can set you free from the bondage of sin and death and you can live free and victorious eternally. "For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us in to the Kingdom of the Son He loves, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins . . . For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through Him God reconciled everything to Himself" -Colossians 1:13-14, 19-20. You can be rescued, reconciled and redeemed! No matter who you are!
My 12 year old daughter was lamenting her "boring" testimony yesterday while we were driving in the car. She said, "Some people have these amazing testimonies of being radically saved when they were in the depths of despair. I was saved at VBS when I was seven years old. BORING." I had to correct her. I began to recount to her the numerous fingerprints of God I could see all over her life before that point that brought her to salvation. I could see from the outside that God was protecting her, calling her, wooing her to Himself. No matter what your story, God's fingerprints are all over it, too. He loves YOU. He is pursuing a relationship with YOU. The very fact that He led you to read this blog tells me that He wanted YOU to hear the Gospel. God is speaking to YOU. And if you look closely, no matter what your life has been like thus far, He has been there, involved in the details. Look for it. Ask Him to show you. He will be faithful. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, "Though you are one of the teeming millions in this world, and though the world would have you believe that you do not count but are merely a speck in the mass, God says, 'I know you.'" Deuteronomy 2:7 says, "The Lord your God . . has watched over your journey through this vast desert. . . He has been with you, and you have lacked nothing." If you are alive today, and you are honest with yourself, you can say that. God has brought you here to radically rescue and redeem your life from the pit.
This Gospel message is what I am celebrating this Christmas. Jesus, God made flesh, coming to dwell among men because He loves us so much. What a thought. What a truth. What a Savior.