Christmas. Christians celebrate the birth of the savior all over the world. They put up nativities and decorations. They attend special services. They remember that God was born into this world defenseless and small.
But, He was also born as the Warrior King; sent into battle against the enemy. Like David, He was called to do battle. The battle he faced was with the world, the flesh and the devil. And He won the battle against these three enemies without firing a shot, swinging a sword or slinging a stone. He won it by being sacrificed as the perfect offering to God the Father for the sin of all mankind.
This is a very good God.
Christians, though, are conflicted. We want to have a savior to “rescue us”, but we want to paddle as we sit in the lifeboat. We want to be completely covered and forgiven for all our sin, but we want to improve ourselves in God’s sight. This desire is rooted in the heart of the old Adam.
The Old Adam wants a self-improvement project to work on. That’s why he gets sucked into various anti-Christian notions like legalism, emotionalism, or mysticism. He’s got things to do!
But all these things are just a defense mechanism against the cross. It’s an effort to avoid our death at the hands of our Savior. We are desperately addicted to religion without a cross. We are desperately addicted to the self. And this is exactly why Christ had to be born. To set us free from ourselves. The only way He cures this addiction is by crucifying us.
And, if He crucifies us, He will resurrect us. He will make us into new creatures; “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NASB). In fact, He already has crucified and resurrected us. Romans 6:11: “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Now and forevermore.
Merry Christmas, Amen.