Beyond Christmas – Our blessed hope (22 Dec 2019)

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).

The 1st Coming of Jesus is celebrated by Christmas. Christmas marks the birth of the infant Jesus. His ancestry is traced to the king of Israel and to Adam. Like Adam, Jesus was fully human. Unlike Adam, Jesus is the WORD, the pre-existing One who spoke and created the heavens and the earth. Unlike Adam who was tempted by the Devil and disobeyed God, Jesus as the second Adam was tempted by the Devil and did not sin. As the second Adam, Jesus is the federal head that leads all who believe in Him to receive His gift of eternal life. By His death and resurrection, all who believe in Him and look for the blessed hope of His promised appearing will see Him face to face.

His promised coming was foreshadowed by the sacrificial offerings of unblemished animals. This is practised in many animistic, ancient religions and in some major religions today. Jesus came to offer Himself as the unblemished Lamb of God.

It will be noteworthy to connect Christmas with the Cross.

Christmas without the Cross is jolly merry-making without care for suffering and death. Jesus endured the Cross for all mankind. He was hung like a criminal even though He did no wrong. By His death on the Cross, and resurrection He conquered death. Everyone who believes Him can live forever.

Today, Christmas is celebrated as secular as well as religious events. In free countries, both the commercial and church communities celebrate, sometimes together, sometimes apart from each other. However, in persecuted countries, Christians celebrate Christmas quietly. They gather in house churches and in secret places. They look to the blessed hope – the appearing of our great God amd Saviour Jesus Christ. They are blessed for they are truly the salt of the earth. As salty believers who live as Christ’s witnesses, they are side-lined, marginalized and ostracised for believing Jesus Christ. Although they are poor on earth, their reward will be great in heaven! (Matt 5:11-13).

As we wait for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, in the present age, let us
1) renounce ungodliness and worldly passions,
2) live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives,
3) be zealous for good works.

During this Christmas season and coming New Year 2020, rejoice in the redemption of Jesus and yet be sober. Be sober because God’s wrath rests on all who do not believe the Gospel. Let us be glad and yet be mournful. Be mournful for those who have yet to hear or believe the Gospel.

Blessed Christmas!

 

Elder Yoong Yuen Soo