"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 6:23 (NIV)
During the Christmas season, we love to talk about the great gift God gave us, the baby Jesus born in the manger. But, the baby was less a gift and more a step toward what was to come. One step, in a long series of steps that started in the Garden of Eden.
Take away the angel hosts singing to the shepherds, and from the outside, Jesus looks like any other baby born that night, merely the son of a carpenter. We know, from God's Word, of the immaculate conception and the angel messengers, but without our faith in God's Word, He was just a baby.
We have read of the miracles Jesus performed and His amazing aptitude for theology and parables, but those are just more embellishments to the big story. Other men even died claiming to be the Messiah.
But it was Jesus Christ of Nazareth who died on the cross for our sins, conquered death and the devil, and rose again. It is in his final acts on earth that we receive our true gift: forgiveness and life eternal.
And while it is His resurrection that gives us hope, without sin it wouldn't mean much. Adam and Eve's eviction from the Garden of Eden set in motion a series of events leading us to where we are today and to our ultimate goal: a day when we see “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9-10).
Heavenly Father, we realize that we are sinful, but we praise and thank you for your greatest gift, our forgiveness and the guarantee of an eternity in Heaven with you. We thank you for setting into motion the events that led to Jesus' death and resurrection for the redemption of all nations. Help us to share your whole story with those who are lost, just as we once were. In Jesus' name, we pray, Amen.