NOTES AND QUOTES FOR TODAY:
Why Do We Celebrate Christmas?
“…..that at that time ye were without Christ being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, and having no hope, and without God in the world:…” Ephesians 2:12
Why do we celebrate the first coming of Christ to earth? Or, we can put it this way; How is Christ’s first coming of significance to us? Do we have any valid standing (right) for the celebration of Christmas at all?
We read in Ephesians 2:11, “… Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called the uncircumcision by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands…” In the Old Testament economy there were two groups of people: those who are called the circumcision – the Jews. And those who are not of the circumcision – broadly known as the Gentiles! Before we were saved we were all either Jews or Gentiles!
And in verse 12 of Ephesians 2, we read, “…that at that time ye (the Gentiles) were without Christ, being aliens from the common wealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world…” That used to be our condition; and as a result of that we were without God and without hope in the world. Then our status was changed, through the first advent of Christ, and going all the way to the Cross paying our sin debt!! So we read in verse 13, “…But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
Speaking of Jews, and Gentiles who are saved, and are known as Christians or believers we read in Verse 14-17, “….For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity even the law of commandments contained in the ordinances; for to make of himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
Yes, we used to be without hope, but now we are partakers of the heavenly hope! In Galatians 3 :26-29 we read, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus…. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be in Christ, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” As by faith we have become children of God in Christ; all those things which did not apply to us, now do!
We find this truth delineated in Romans 9:23-25 which reads, “… And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?…. I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.” Yes, there was time when we had no part! And God said, there will come a time when “I will call those people (the Gentiles) who are not my people!”
Dearly beloved, that is a wonderful news; to those of us who were once Gentiles, called the uncircumcision. The Apostle Paul by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit asks this “ What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which if of faith…”
At the end of Romans chapter 10 we read, “….. I will provoke you to jealousy (that is the Jewish people) by them that are no people (that is us the Gentiles), and by a foolish nation I will anger you.” And in speaking of the Gentiles again in verse 20, he said, “… I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.” And in rebuking Israel for their unbelief he said in verse 21, “…. All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”
God always intended that when Christ came there would be an extension of those promises to the Gentile people. So when Christ came in his first advent, though He came to the Jews (John 1:11), it was not merely for the Jews that He came; but to the whole world to settle the sin question once and for all. He was to become salvation before the face of all earth. We read in Luke 2:31-32 Simeon, that just and devout man, waiting for the consolation of Israel said, “… For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel…”
The Jews don’t celebrate Christmas! In Romans 11:11 The Apostle Paul asks this question and answers it, “ I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” Israel as a nation is set aside, due to the rejection of their Messiah, that they have been blinded. We read in Romans 11:25, that, “ blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the e Gentiles become in. And so all Israel shall be saved…” . In this dispensation of the Church individual Jews who believed the gospel and are saved and added to the church; where as the nation as such is set aside for the time being!
Dearly beloved, we celebrate Christ’s first advent – Christmas, because God regardless of our race, and nationality came to us in his Son the Lord Jesus Christ!! That first advent of Christ was for us Gentiles! Yes, His coming to this earth was not only to the Jews, but to the rest of us Gentiles also – the whole world!
– We who were no people, are now the people of God
– We who were not beloved are now become the beloved.
– We who have no part in God’s salvation; now salvation is extended to us.
When the world celebrates Christmas, if at all their focus is on the holiday, it will be focused on the baby in the manger. Much of the time even that part of the story is obscured under piles of presents and brightly shining lights. But for those of us who know the Lord, Christmas is only the beginning of story that ends with a cross and an empty tomb. We celebrate Christmas with the knowledge of both the cause and the cost and marvel that Jesus was willing to pay such a high price for our redemption. We rejoice in the arrival of the promised Savior.
“Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” 2nd Corinthians 9:15
From The Staff of The Peoples Gospel Hour
The Bible reveals two ways which people are following to get into heaven. One way, the true way, is God’s way. God’s way into heaven is the way of peace and truth and righteousness. It is the only way approved of God. This way centers in the Lord Jesus Christ who said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). The Bible declares that there is another way. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12).
There are so many popular ways today filled with lost multitudes all over the land, such as the way of morality, the way of respectability, the way of religion, the way of churchianity, the way of baptism, the way of christening, the way of confirmation, the way of penance, the way of confession, the way of “doing the best I can”, the way of self, the way of education, the way of philosophy, the way of false isms and cults that crowd the street. Little wonder then when we speak to people about the way of salvation, that so many have asked, “How can I know which is the true way? There are so many different ideas and so many religions.”
But there is ONE difference between God’s way of salvation and man’s way, and that difference is found in a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. You will notice that man leaves Christ out of the center of his way. You will discover that the modern false cults and isms demote Christ to a mere man and add something to what He has already done for your salvation and mine. We become children of God through a supernatural birth. Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Jesus also said, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:7)
“May the Lord bless you, and make you a blessing!” – The PGH Staff.