The true meaning of Christmas

During this time of the year, many people sing Christmas carols. Most of the time, we sing these songs without ever thinking about the words. For instance, in “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” we sing:

Peace on Earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.

What does it mean “God and sinners reconciled?”

To understand this, we first need to understand a couple of other things.

What is a sinner?

A sinner is someone who sins.

What is sin?

According to 1 John 3:5, sin is the transgression of God’s law – sin is the breaking of God’s law. In Isaiah 59:2, we are told that sin separates the sinner from God. Sinners are separated from God because they broke his law and thus need to be reconciled to God.

How is a sinner reconciled to God?

According to Galatians 3:24, the law – the same law that sinners break – is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. So first, to be reconciled to God, you have to be a sinner. Let’s look at some of God’s laws to see if any of us broken them. The Ten Commandments are good place to start since those are probably the most widely known of God’s laws.

The Ninth Commandment says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” Bearing false witness is lying. Have you ever told a lie? It doesn’t matter the color – even a little white lie? If you lie, you are a liar.

The Eighth Commandment says, “Thou shalt not steal.” Have you ever stolen anything? It doesn’t matter the value – it could be something small. Something when you were a child? If you can’t think of anything, let me ask you this: have you always tithed to God on everything you ever made? If not, God says you’ve stolen from him. If you steal something, you are a thief.

The Third Commandment says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Have you ever used God’s name as a curse word? Have you ever used his Son’s name as a curse word? Have you ever swore to God to do something and then failed to do it? You have taken God’s name in vain – that is blasphemy. God’s says he will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

The Seventh Commandment says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Now, many of us will think we are safe on this one – but Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 that whoever looks with lust at a woman has commited adultery already in his heart. Remember, man may only see our actions, but God can see our heart. God judges us on our actions AND our thoughts. Have you ever looked with lust at someone? You are an adulterer.

We’ve looked at only four of the Ten Commandments and I dare to say that everyone reading this has broken all four – do we need to look at the other six to make you see you are sinner?

If God were to judge you today based on just the Ten Commandments, would you be innocent or guilty? Not one of us in here could honestly say we are innocent. The littlest white lie we told condemns us. We all are sinners and are separated from God. If we would die in this condition, we would be separated from God for all eternity. We all are liars and in Revelation 21:8 we see that ALL liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, we see that no thieves and no adulterers shall inherit the kingdom of God. Hell is the punishment that God gives for breaking his law. Some of you may say that you will just ask for forgiveness and be OK. If a murderer was brought before a human judge and said he was sorry, would the judge be a good judge if he let the murderer go because he was sorry? No, he should be sorry – but he still deserves to be punished. God is a holy and just judge. He will not let the guilty go.

So what’s this got to do with Christmas? You see, since we all are guilty before God and deserve to be punished in Hell, we needed a way to escape. If you were in a courtroom guilty of crime and the punishment was a $1,000,000 fine, you wouldn’t be able to pay it – but if someone paid it for you, the law would be satisfied and you would be free to go. One day about 2,000 years ago – which is the day we celebrate at Christmas – God sent his Son to be born of woman. His Son, Jesus, became a man and died on the cross as payment for our sins. He endured the wrath of God on the cross that we would endure in Hell. He paid our fine. But that does not mean we all are free to go. His payment has to be applied to each one of us – each one of us has to apply the payment to our account personally.

How do we apply it?

In Proverbs 28:3, we are told the one who confesses and forsakes his or her sins will have mercy. It doesn’t say just confess – we need to forsake our sins. Another word for forsaking our sins is repenting. Jesus tells us to repent. He says unless we repent we will perish. If you’ve asked God to forgive your sins but you’ve never repented – if you’ve never forsaken your sins, you will not find mercy. In Romans 10, it says whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. That doesn’t just mean saying “Jesus come in my heart and save me.” When you call upon the name of the Lord you are telling God you can’t make it to Heaven on your own name – your own reputation – you need the Lord’s name – the Lord’s reputation to get you into Heaven. You can’t make it your way anymore and you need his way. God’s way is Jesus Christ. If you want to be reconciled to God, you need to tell God you need the righteousness of his Son because your own righteousness is not good enough.

The true meaning of Christmas is that Jesus was born to die so that we (sinners) could be reconciled to God. Have you not ever repented and called upon his name? If not, why not receive the greatest gift of all this Christmas – the gift of eternal life?

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