Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Unto you is born a Savior

Performance-ism is pervasive. It is insidious.  I’m starting to see it in more and more places.  Even during Christmas.  Maybe especially during Christmas.

I watched the movie “The Sound of Music” again this year and saw something that I had never seen before.  Remember near the end of the film where Maria is singing to the Captain?  She has just found her true love, and all will be happy ever after.  She breaks out into song (again). The chorus goes like this;
“Nothing comes from nothing
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth or childhood I must have done something good”

The subtle message being preached is that of karma; something good is happening to me now, so I must have done some good in the past to deserve it.
The message continues with Santa; you know the naughty or nice thing. If our niceness is greater than our naughtiness, then gifts will be delivered.  

Too many times, for too many people, this becomes our view of God. Sadly this is many people’s view of eternity and judgment, even for some that call themselves Christians. 
Many churches teach that blessings follow obedience, curses follow disobedience.  The book of Deuteronomy seems to confirm this.  It’s the Santa clause of the Bible.  Yes, God has given us instruction that is for our own good, because He loves us.  Yes, there are results of actions.  If I break the speed limit, I am likely to get a speeding citation. But there is more to it.

If you have lived according to these ideas, I have good news and bad news.
You can live by the Law described in the book of Deuteronomy, or you can live by the Gospel.
The bad news is; if you live by the Law and are depending on your niceness being greater than your naughtiness, it’s not enough.  God’s holiness demands perfection.  God’s Law requires perfection, not a balance of niceness greater than naughtiness.
The Good News (Gospel) is that Jesus changed everything.

Galatians 3

10 But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” 11 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” 12 This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.” 13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

Unto you is born a Savior.  Not a judge or lawgiver, a Savior.
The message of Christmas is not about naughty or nice, it is about the gift of a Savior.

John 3

16-18 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

My salvation is no longer dependent on my score.  My salvation is dependent on Jesus’ score, and it was perfect.
Jesus did live obediently, perfectly, righteously, and holy. 
The blessings that were rightfully His, He gave to us.  The curses that are rightfully ours, He took upon himself.
The great exchange occurred at the cross.  

2 Corinthians 5
21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

What is salvation if not the greatest blessing of all?  If salvation is mine through trust in Jesus, then all of the blessings are mine in the same way. 

Romans 4

When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.

Romans 10

Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.


For more on Grace vs. Karma click here.