Thursday, December 1, 2011

How long had God thought about Christmas

Hebrews 10:5 Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME;

Planning for Christmas
It always amazes me how every year the stores begin advertising for Christmas earlier and earlier.  I've seen ads a early as July, touting themes such as "Christmas in July".  When we think about Jesus Christ born in that manger in Bethlehem, many questions begin to swirl: Who was He?  Why was He born?  What's the significance?  For the next month we will be aiming to supply the reader of this blog with a Christ centered resource to communicate and capture the true meaning of Christmas.  Today we begin by asking this simple question:  how long had Christmas, or the sending of Jesus, been on the mind of the Triune God?

It was before the manger
The passage above is remarkable for at least two reasons: whom it quotes and where it derives its material.  The quote is attributed to Jesus Christ Himself as He was before He took upon Himself a human nature in the womb of the Virgin Mary.  In what the Bible describes as a "Mystery" (1 Timothy 3:15-16), God the Son agreed to come to earth and enter into time through a virgin's womb as a human baby.  As He is looks down the corridor of time He sees the moment wherein He will perform this mighty miracle.  The Bible refers to that moment as the "fulness of time" (Galatians 4:4). 

This leads us to the second reason why this verse is significant - namely that the writer of Hebrews, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, is quoting from Psalm 40:6-8.  That portion of scripture was written by King David a 1,000 years before God the Son assumed, took upon Himself a robe of humanity. 

It was before time began
As remarkable as the above text is, we discover in surveying more scriptures that the plan of salvation in the sending of God the Son was in the heart of the Trinity before time began.  2 Timothy 1:9-10 states: "who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."  Titus 1:2 echoes similar thoughts: "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began". (KJV) 

It was agreed upon in Eternity
Scripture tells us that God's plan for sending the Son was an agreement, a Covenant that was made between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in Eternity (what Bible teachers call: "The Covenant of Redemption").  As we have already seen, God the Father and the Son had agreed in Eternity that this was to be the case.  Ephesians 1:11 tells us: "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."  That last underlined phrase refers to the Triune God, within the members of the Trinity, meeting as One Counsel of God on the plan of salvation.

1. God the Father planned salvation
2. God the Son would become a man, born of a virgin, live a perfect life, die on the cross, rise and be ascended
3. God the Holy Spirit would apply salvation to all believers whom He calls and convicts

The cradle in Bethlehem was to be in the shadow of Cross
Christmas cannot and should never be without the cross.  God sent the Son with the intent that the Son would humble Himself to the point of death, even death on the cross. (Philippians 2:5-11)  As we close today's blog, let me give you the remainder of Hebrews 10:6-7 which ties the mission of the Son to His point of entry at the virgin's womb: "In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God."

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