The Christmas Quest: How deep had I fallen that I should celebrate salvation or the savior?


In our daily devotional verses, we recently shared something called 'To you, a savior is born’ and the major message of the verse was that the true story of Christmas is the born of Jesus Christ, the true savior of mankind.
 
But today, as I pondered on that Christmas-related article, I somehow thought it more helpful to share with you the exact trouble that Jesus saves us from. And this explains the birth of today’s leading article; how deep had I fallen that I should celebrate the savior?



The chief reason man doesn’t believe in Christ is ignorance (the veil-2 Corinthians 3:14-16), of what? Of, chiefly, two things; God’s full glory (who God is exactly) and his (man) unworthiness or how dead and unfit man is for anything good, moreover, good as God!


As we all celebrate this Christmas with drinks and food, celebrations, and parties, we tend to forget or take for granted the whole reason for it; the incarnation of God just for you, for us all.


And this is sad considering how unworthy we are to even be here, to even be here enjoying the little gifts and pleasures of the world when the real source of all that is good is out of the picture. 


And so tonight, let’s ponder a little on what exactly did Christ save us from. How evil are we that we deserved such great incarnation? How sinful are you that you should be grateful to be here? Why should this Christmas be more than drinks and eats? Let’s dig into it.


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The sinful man; evil, rotten, dead, smelly corpse, enemy of God!
 
Your sin is NOT what you do (perhaps, that would be easy to deal with) BUT what you are (you can’t save YOU from YOURself). Let that sink in. We don’t start sinning only when we are born and are already choosing right and wrong (actually, our evil actions and desires are simply the outcomes, the only fruits of an already dead soul, sinful corrupted nature of a fallen man), we are sinners even before conception. We are sinners even when we are still in our mother’s wombs. 

Yes, while babies look blameless (of which they are), they are still as evil as anyone else, born of evil. That is how deep sin is mingled with our lives!
 
But why? The answer is simple; it’s Adam! The Bible clearly says; “therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12, NIV). Yes, whether you believe it or not, accept it or reject it, you are a son or a daughter of Adam.


And by the fact that your ancestor is Adam, you are as evil as everyone else. John says, we are brood of vipers! (Luke 3:7). Yes, listen to this; you (we) are like a snake venom (Job 20:14), sores oozing pus (Isaiah 1:5-6), gangrene (2 Timothy 2:17), mud and dog’s vomit (2 Peter 2:22) and all sorts of dirt (Ezekiel 29:11-12). We are snakes, sons and daughters of the great serpent, the Devil himself (John 8:44, NIV). Yes, that is how ugly and evil we are; enemies of God even before conception!


Adam sinned on our behalf and the sin of one man crept into human race for it’s God’s providence that Adam represented us all. Whether we were physically and 'seminally' present in Adam when he sinned (as the realism theory suggests; see Hebrews 7:9-10) or Adam simply was a representative and natural headship of human race (as representationism theory suggests; see Paul’s comparisons in Romans chapter 5), the major point remains clear; all of us have sinned (Romans 3:23).



The wages of sin: What do we as sinners deserve or deserved?


Seriously, we have looked at how evil we are. Yes, we have seen how annoying we are to God, even before conception. We are haters of light from the beginning, the workers of iniquity, who rejoice in nothing good, but evil. 


Sometimes you could be tempted to think that some people (or maybe you) have tried to be good, oh no, that is the worst lie you can fall into. No one is good, not even the best of us all! Listen to the Founders Journal explanations concerning Paul’s theology in Romans 3:10-18;


Paul does not mean that a person living apart from Christ is unable to do any good in any sense at all, but what he does mean is that our human hearts by nature are so corrupt that we can never, apart from regeneration, willingly do any act at all for the summum bonum which is the glory of God. Those deeds that may appear good, and indeed are constructive for the well-being of human society at some inferior level, miss that pure measure of all true goodness, the conscious delight in and love for the infinitely glorious God. That has been smothered in the corruption of our hearts and manifests itself in none of our thoughts, affections, or actions prior to regeneration” (Founders Journal, Winter 2017, Issue no. 107, page 23).


And so having fallen that far? What did we deserve?


Not salvation BUT condemnation! Yes, we had or have sinned on our own accord and we deserved nothing like salvation or pardon. That is the real truth. God had made it clear to our forefather; “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17, NIV).


What kills man? It’s not God, it’s sin. Yes, death does not come upon us because God is literally angry and is having vengeance, no, death is the automatic outcome or consequence of sin. Period.


God is not obliged to save us; He doesn’t tempt (creating the desire to do evil) us to sin nor is He tempted (James 1:13-14). We sin on our own accord (we are tempted by our own desires as Satan works through them) and we deserve the results of our disobedience; death and everlasting separation from God. Some theologian said that we are blind walking zombies on our way to hell, where we belong!


Oh dear brother and sister, death, condemnation, and all sorts of evil and pain is all we deserve or deserved. We should be condemned, not allowed to near God, or experience anything good or like love. 


We should be scratching our skins with stones, gnashing our teeth in hell, burning with everlasting fire. That is where we fairly belong; we sinned against God, made fun of all His mercy, love, and Providences and decided to fall for the least good, the least of all pleasures. And we lost the best of it all; God. And no matter how hard we try, we can’t (or couldn’t) save ourselves.


Why you can’t save yourself: The depravity of sinful man


We have already shared something to do with our source of sin; it’s intertwined in us, in our nature. Yes, we don’t sin by only what we do, think, and say (those are simply the results or fruits of who we truly are, the sin) but we ourselves are the sin. Sin is our nature, nothing good can come out of us. 


We are dead in our souls and we can’t make ourselves alive; someone else (if there is any) must help us (if he wills for we don’t deserve help nor are we in position to demand for assistance).


The Bible clearly says that we are “brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did our mothers conceive us” (paraphrased a little, Psalm 51:4). Our hearts seek nothing else but are deceptive (Jeremiah 17:9). We are born inclined to obeying flesh and indulging in sin and not obeying God (Romans 7:18; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 2:3). The second London Confession makes this plain in these words;


“Our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them whereby death came upon all: all becoming dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body” (cited from The Founders Journal, Winter 2017, Issue 107, page 21)


Are you getting the picture? What am I saying today? I am saying that we inherited a sinful nature from Adam. This means that we are born corrupt in all our faculties and senses. This explains why we choose the least pleasures of this world over the great Joy of being with Christ. 

Yes, we choose sin over righteousness because all our faculties and soul are dead and have no taste or sight or feel of the goodness of the Lord and His Law. 

And I am not only talking about the daily choices of doing good and bad (we still often try to override God’s word for our selfish and yet destructive desires), but the fundamental choice of accepting Christ in our lives (yes, we refuse or reject Christ and waste our lives in pleasures of sin).


If the above was not the case, then we would sing with David; Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). Or with Paul; I saw all that seemed good and profitable as loss for the sake of knowing Christ! We would arise with St. Augustine;


How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose. You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood, you who outshine all light, yet are hidden deeper than any secret in our hearts, you who surpass all honor, though not in the eyes of men who see all honor in themselves. O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation” (St. Augustine, Confessions book IX; cited in John Piper’s The Legacy of Sovereign Joy, page 40).


But we never confess the above, do we? And if you do, thank God Christmas makes sense to you now.


And so with us depraved as deeply as we have described above, our faculties, soul, and will tied up in choosing only evil, what do we need? What do we deserve? The answer to the latter has already been given; death! And the answer to the former is here given; Savior. Yes, all we deserved was nothing but death and condemnation from the face of God whom we had or we have wronged or sinned against. 


And in that state, we desperately needed a savior (this will be a topic for another day for this ‘need’ is defined from God’s love and consideration and not ours. In our fallen state, we don’t even have the awareness that we need the savior)



The true story of Christmas; the unmerited gift of the savior


For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, ESV)


Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11, NIV)


Yes, out of love (nothing else, but gracious or unmerited love), God decided to descend down and pay up our price (the death) and redeem us from the slavery of sin. This is the wonderful news of Christmas; God came down for you, for us.




The prophecies of Isaiah are said to have been put down between 700 B.C and 650 B.C. In other words, the prophecy of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, was given to people about 700 years before! Amazing! Considering the context of our Chapter 9 today, it seems the context is about two nations or people (those of Israel and Syria-the nations to be destroyed) and also the people of Galilee (Judah).


Considering the previous chapter (Isaiah 8), God threatens to punish both Israel and Syria using Assyria and the sign would be the prophet’s son; “name the boy Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, because the king of Assyria will take away all wealth and possessions of Damascus (the great city of Syria) and Samaria (the capital of Israel) before the boy learns to say ‘my father’ or ‘my mother’” (Isaiah 8:3-4, NCV)). Why? Disobedience as always (verse 6)


But wait! The above invasion of Syria and Israel would not end with the two nations only but Judah as well (see 2 Chronicles 28 and also 2 Kings 18). Judah was accused of inviting Assyria (the pagan nation) for help during the times the two nations of Syria and Israel (10 tribes) were against Judah; an act that plunged Judah into the dangerous sin of worshiping other gods (Assyrian gods). So this time Assyria would come for the above two nations (Syria and Israel), and the mightiness of the army would also swallow up Judah including Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:13).


And here is the interesting thing; it doesn’t end in destruction but redemption! See this; make your plans for the fight, but they will be defeated. Give orders to your armies, but they will be useless, because God is with us (Isaiah 8:10). In other words, just as Israel and Syria had always failed in their plots against Judah (2 Kings 16:5), Assyria would also not manage to destroy Jerusalem or Judah completely till the Messiah is born in that place.


Oh how good the Lord is to His people, even when they are sinful! We have sinned on our own accord. We deserve nothing but destruction. But God still loves and cares for us; He loves us so much. Isn’t it Micah who warned;


Enemy, don’t laugh at me. I have fallen but I will get up again. I sit in the shadow of trouble now but the Lord will be a light for me. I sinned against the Lord, so he is angry with me, but he will defend my case in court. He will bring about what is right for me. The he will bring me out into the light and I will see him set things right” (Micah 7:8-9). 


God’s people are not forsaken even when they fall and, I suppose, it’s a dangerous temptation or trap to take advantage of God’s people when they fall or are in danger or are weak. Why? Because God, their parent, is still for them and not for you.


Chapter 9 comes with hope for the people of Judea (Galilee). The time was coming when people (both Jews and gentiles) would see light, raise their heads from shame and be upright, become happy and find everlasting joy just as farmers do after a great harvest or soldiers after a war victory (9:1-5). And do you see why the above is possible? Our verses come into play well here; for to us, a savior is born


Jesus is the ONLY reason for any possible joy, conquer, peace, and everlasting life. And He did not descend down for fallen angels or anything else, but you and me. How amazing His love is!


Yes, Jesus would be given as a great gift from God. His name would be wonderful (indeed, everything about Christ was or is wonderful; his miraculous birth, his baptism, his knowledge and wisdom, his upright living, his teachings, miracles and wonders, his mercy, sympathy, humility, and meekness, his death and all that happened due to it, and yes, his resurrection.


What is not wonderful about Him? Nothing! Counselor (Yes, the wise one, one who was consulted in creation, and providence, in punishment of law-breakers of Gomorrah or even Babel, the redemption of His people and the salvation of man). The son would be called Jesus for He would save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). He is Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23).


He is Mighty God, Powerful everlasting father, and Prince of Peace. Yes, Jesus is indeed God, the Mighty one who has revealed Himself through History and providence, prince of all princes (both good and bad, punishing the bad ones and rewarding good ones), and prince of peace (indeed, He is the author of peace in our hearts when He reconciles us with God and with ourselves and with our neighbors-the Jews and gentiles alike). And yes, His government shall have no end.


The above is the message, the true Christmas story. So Luke writes; Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is Messiah, the Lord.  

While Luke’s message was written around 60 A.D, the message is in present tense bringing a direct application to whoever it is read to. “Today’, he says, “a savior has been born to you”. Jesus came for you and me. We had fallen far away from God’s glory. Our sinful nature makes us rotten, dead, smelly enemies of God who deserve nothing but punishment but God’s mercy and love extended much further and sought us from the deep darkness, the death. This is the Christmas message; God came for you, for us all.


And do you know why the Lord will accomplish all the above? Because that is Him; It’s His nature and Zeal to see man get saved (Isaiah 9:7, last part of the verse).


And what are we required of? Nothing! God has come for us and demands nothing from us except accepting His good offer. For He plainly says it; God so loved the world (you) and gave up His only begotten, Son, to come and die for us so that whoever believes in Him (yes, in that mercy and sacrifice of his body and blood just for you, for us) will not perish (Romans 8:1) but shall have everlasting life (John 3:16).


And he again reminds you; see I stand at your door and I am knocking. If you listen to me and open up your door, promise you, I will come in and we share all I have for you (Revelation 3:20). 


And I kindly ask you brother or sister; won’t you open for Him really? I mean, aren’t you tired of the oppression and slavery to sin and Satan? He (Jesus) came just for you, to be with you, today and always. Give Him a chance in your life.



Conclusion

My dear brother and sister, this is the true story of Christmas. I really don’t know how you feel and think about this whole thing, but we have covered important facts that you and I can’t run away from. We were created by God. In His image, we were created. Everything was beautiful; our relationship with God our father, our friends or spouses, and ourselves, and all the rest of creation was so perfect and awesome. We had it all!


But sin crept into our lives through our forefather who gave in to the temptations from the evil one and disobeyed God, the true maker and sustainer of life, joy, happiness, and all that is good. Since we had sinned on our own accord, we deserved nothing good but the prescribed results of sin; death and condemnation from the face of God.


This sinful nature couldn’t allow us to even be aware of how far we had fallen or that we needed savior; we were like fools parading on the way to the slaughter room (zombies on the way to hell). And miraculously and graciously, God, in His mercy and abundant love offered to come and save us by offering to pay up the price for the sin; Jesus offered to come and die in our place so that all our sins could die with Him. And when He resurrected, we resurrect with Him for the new joy and life forever.


The essence of Christmas is the celebration of that unmerited gift of Jesus coming down as a man, taking on our suffering and death just for me and you. And I, along His lovely and sweet voice, ask you again; won’t you open your door for him (Jesus) and share this Christmas with Him while He makes everything in and about you great?



God Bless You






      
About the Author
 


Nemeyimana Vicent (Nemvicx) is a professional nurse and public health officer, an inspirational author, singer, and speaker Currently, he is pursuing masters in biblical and theological studies at Worldwide Evangelical Seminary. He does blogging at www.nemvicx.com. Vicent is married to Amulen Winfred (also a professional midwife and counselor). They currently live in Kampala, from where they serve God and others.



Merry Christmas And Happy New Year

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Born from Uganda, Nemeyimana Vicent (Nemvicx) has become what people call, "coming from nothing to something". Professionally, he is both a nurse and public health officer and currently works with Mulago National Referral Hospital. In 2016, he wedded his wife and great sweetheart, Amulen Winfred (also a professional Midwife and counsellor). Besides their professions, Nemvicx is an inspirational writer, singer, motivational speaker, author of several digital books. He a theologian and blogger at www.nemvicx.com (The Complete You Ministry).

Contact them at thecompletey@gmail.com