Friday, October 24, 2008

Emmanuel = “God With Us”

From Emmanuel

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” --which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23

Note that the angel in Holy Scripture doesn't say anything about “us with God” or “look at how good we are that God came to us and not you.” That is not how it is at all. When God almighty became incarnate as one of us it was because we could not even make the first step to go to Him. We could not please God. We could not do as God wished. We had no free will to do anything except rebel against God and incur His wrath and judgment against us. (See Romans 10:6-7; Ephesians 2:1-3; and Romans 5:8)

If this sounds hopeless, well, it is -- to a point. That point is where we must despair of any hope of saving ourselves and trust that God Himself will have mercy on us and save us unworthy sinners. Humbling? Yes, but the eternal comfort is that God has had mercy on us sinners and has rescued us from our sin through the life and death of Jesus Christ. That is why the birth of Jesus is such an amazing event in world history. We could not go to God, so God came to us. He didn’t come to us because we were somehow worthy of such great an honor. God came to us in Christ for at least two reasons: 1) to do (as a man) the good things which please God -- which we sinners couldn't begin to do because of our inherent sinfulness; and 2) to take the punishment for sin (as God and man) in our place so that we could be rescued from everlasting torment, which is the punishment for sin.

From Emmanuel
You can search every religion in the world and will find no other god in this wicked world who would humble himself and suffer and die for the sins of his creatures. Only the one, true God -- the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) would do this, and has done this for us. All the other gods of this world are false creations from man’s imagination, and it shows. All the gods of the world require some work from man to prove himself worthy of God’s favor. Though in many religions this seems tough, it is never impossible, so the followers of these religions are tormented by being required to do what is only nearly impossible. It is true that some who falsely call themselves Christian also make this claim of the Christian God -- that God requires us to attain a certain level of holiness before receiving God’s favor and forgiveness -- but that is not true. In true Christianity God recognizes that man has no hope of saving himself from his sin, so God works out our salvation for Himself by sending Jesus Christ to redeem the world, then gives forgiveness and eternal life in Paradise to us at no cost to us. This is the beauty of the Christian Gospel. This is the amazing Grace of God in Christ Jesus. This is why it is not a frightening thing that “God is with us” in Jesus. It is a comfort and a blessing.

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