Christmas — The Grace of God Has Appeared

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How wonderful to sing songs magnifying God for the wonder of the birth of the Son of God on Earth as the Son of Man! 

The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared:  Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.  (When I was first saved, I did not think that; but the more I am sanctified, it could very well be true.  The paradox of the cross!)  When He was born, the old man Simeon, who was just and devout, was waiting for the consolation of Israel.  He discerned the times that He was living in:  the time for the Messiah to come was near.  He spoke to the parents, Joseph and Mary, and prophesied:  “Behold, this one is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against…that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Lk 2:34-35

When Yeshua/Jesus was born, an angel of YHVH, with a multitude of the heavenly host, proclaimed the good news that the promised Savior had come, and they all sang praises to God:  “glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Lk 2:13-14)

When the times of deliverance come that God has set, it always seems to be that His people are in dire straits.  At the time for the Exodus from Egypt, the children of Israel were under hard bondage to Pharaoh, and then God sent Moses to deliver them – at the time which God had told Abraham 430 years earlier —  with a promise to bring them into the land which He had promised to give to the descendants of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; during the times of the Judges in Israel, before there was a king, the Israelis would be under great oppression by various Gentile groups, and then they would cry out to YHVH, and He would send them another judge and savior to deliver them; at the time of the Maccabees, both the Greeks and the Hellenists among the Jews, were undermining the true calling and religion of the people till there was civil war, and then God gave the victory to those faithful to His covenant; in the last days at the time of the end, we learn from the book of Daniel that the faithful remnant in Israel will be without strength, and then the Son of Man will return from Heaven to defeat His enemies, and establish the Kingdom of Heaven on the Earth with the saints.

So, too, Yeshua was born in the fullness of times to bring hope and salvation to an oppressed people under the gentile Roman yoke, with many among the Jews having no hope or helper, especially those who were weak and poor.  The people were especially heavily under the yoke of sin that the Law (Torah) could not free them from.  Messiah/Christ came to bring low the proud and to exalt the lowly.  The boy who was born the King of the Jews is Immanuel – God with us – and He, with every right to be honored and feared, instead suffered terribly at the hands of sinners, and was nailed to the cross – this painful and shameful death that was already established from the foundation of the world! (Rev 13:8)  Yeshua knew what He was coming for; it was planned long before there were Jews or Romans.

The grace of God appeared to give His life for us, that we might be saved from our sins.  His name is Yeshua, meaning that He is the Savior – not from mere slavery, or from foreign, even domestic, enemies.  He is the Savior of that, and much more:  He saves us from our sins, which separate us from God and from one another, and which lead us to death and to Hell. 

Jesus is still a rock of offense to many Jews, and to Christians — whether Jewish or Gentile.  He is holy, and He commands us to be holy.  His grace demands it, for the Gift of God, the Gift of the Father, is very costly, not to be trifled with. It is much too dear.  There is a falling away of many today – as Simeon prophesied — among the Jewish people from their unique calling as God’s chosen people and of Israel being their promised land, and in the Body of Christ from the unique truth of the gospel and of Jesus Christ.  They actually speak against the true Jesus/Yeshua – a sign spoken against.  And, there is also a rising of those — as Simeon also prophesied — whose hearts are wholly given to our Lord and Savior, who keep His commandments, who live by faith and walk in the Spirit.  

Jesus will come again at the time determined by the Father to save His people from their sins forever, and to bring the righteousness of God to govern the world in peace.  He has already planned it for His grace to come again to judge, and to save those who honor Him and His people!  Blessed are they whose hope is in the LORD, whose grace is meanwhile sufficient for us each day!  

Do what we may to make our lives better, or to see righteousness and justice in our country and in the world, God knows:  the grace of God will come at the appointed time to establish that hope once and for all.  The birth, and the death and resurrection of the Christ, was necessary in order to reveal the thoughts of the hearts of every human.  The Creator came into the world to die for our sins.  He is our Redeemer and Savior.  This was the plan of God from before the beginning. (1Pt 1:20; 2Tim 1:9)  Evil and sin are part of this very good creation.  We wait for that which is perfect to come in the new Heavens and new Earth that YHVH God will create for eternity.  He will come again for those whose hearts and minds are one with His.  Make it so with me, O God my Father! 

There will be much joy in the Holy Spirit when the King of the Jews and Savior of the World returns in great power and glory.  The birth of the Lord is a wonder!  The songs of angels and of men proclaim it!  But He is not a child anymore, but the Lord of every person.  The oppression of the world is increasing upon the people who fear God and do righteousness.  And the Corona virus does not discriminate between believer and unbeliever. 

Are we living in the generation – like Simeon and Anna were in theirs – that will see the fulfillment of the prophecies of Messiah’s return?  Does that promise fill us with hope and expectation – as it did for Anna and Simeon?

God is still extending His offer of peace on Earth and goodwill towards all peoples.  This is still “today”, the day of salvation.  We are still in the acceptable year of the LORD.  There is still time to repent – for all of us.  But the time is moving on towards the appointed day, in which the Man, Jesus Christ, will return and judge the world in righteousness. (Acts 17:30-31)   

Praise God!  Thank God for Jesus/Yeshua!  Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!  Every knee will bow, and tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is LORD!  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let us celebrate Him — on this holiday, and each and every day.

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