By Glenn Metts
Pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church, Carthage
Christmas brings the most glorious news mankind has ever known. We have a God who loves us and pursues us. He stepped into our world in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus. Jesus was born, lived a sinless life and took on our sin as He was lifted up on Calvary’s cross. The eternal Son of God was born to save us from our sin. In our Scripture passages this week, we have a picture of our sinful state and a God who saves.
We are confronted with the sinfulness of man. In Numbers 21:4-9, we see a picture of the sinfulness of man. The Israelites offended God by their sin of complaining and grumbling not only against Moses, but also against the Lord Himself.
I am reminded that all sin is offensive to a Holy God. Just as the Israelites’ sin offended God, my sin offended God. The Lord sent venomous snakes among them and many of the Israelites died.
The result of man in his sin is destruction, and ultimately death. Romans 6:23 tells us: “For the wages of sin is death …” But I love the rest of that verse, it says, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We are reminded of the holiness of God. Sinful human beings wrestle with the truth that God is holy, righteous and just. God is so holy, so righteous, and so just, that He will judge and punish sin. R.C. Sproul sheds some light on God’s holiness for us.
He says, “When we understand the character of God, when we grasp something of His holiness, then we begin to understand the radical character of our sin and hopelessness. Helpless sinners can survive only by grace. Our strength is futile in itself; we are spiritually impotent without the assistance of a merciful God. We may dislike giving our attention to God’s wrath and justice, but until we incline ourselves to these aspects of God’s nature, we will never appreciate what has been wrought for us by grace.
Even Johnathan Edward’s sermon on sinners in God’s hands was not designed to stress the flames of hell. The resounding accent falls not on the fiery pit but on the hands of the God who holds us and rescues us from it. The hands of God are gracious hands. They alone have the power to rescue us from certain destruction.” God’s holiness demanded that sin be punished.
The beauty of the gospel is that God’s wrath was poured out on His own Son on the cross. Holy God, in His mercy, provided a way of rescue for sinners who were on a path of eternal separation from Him.
We are pursued by a God who saves! God saves! God is merciful and He is love. He pursues us in our sinful state. In Numbers 21:8, the Lord instructed Moses to make a snake image and mount it on a pole. When anyone that was bitten looked at it, they would recover. What a powerful Old Testament image of God’s redemptive plan for sinful mankind.
In Matthew 1:21, the angel told Joseph, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Jesus did just that. When He was lifted up on a cross, He made it possible for us to be saved. Anyone who will turn from their sin, and by faith look to the Savior, they will be saved from sin’s ultimate destruction.
Oh friend, have you looked at the Savior? Have you considered what God has done that you might be saved? If you have not placed your faith in God’s only Son, would you do it today?