A Reason for Living
Christmastime is the season of love, friends, and family. A time to host large gatherings and hope your favorite gravy boat doesn’t end up a casualty. Or a time to go to the store and stock up on attractive paper plates in an effort to preserve your fine china.
However, if you brought home paper cups and found one had a hole in it, chances are you would judge it unworthy for use and condemn it to the trash. And no one would blame you.
In life we judge things constantly. Should an item we purchase be defective, we usually return it, exchange it, or get rid of it. And why not? After all, it did not do what it was created to do. But then, neither do we.
The Bible says, “You shall love the Lᴏʀᴅ your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Dt. 6:5). But most people do not. We were created to love, honor, glorify, and enjoy God forever—to serve and worship the God of Israel.
Yet we wander around this world looking for meaning in life because we have lost ours. We do not do what we were created to do, so we find ourselves feeling empty and hollow—like cups with enormous holes.
Ironically, though we are defective, we still think it unfair of God to judge us. Yet we are His creation. He made us in His image to do His work and His will. However, mankind has failed to function as God intended: “There is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin” (Eccl. 7:20). God has every right to judge us.
We would judge a defective cup, pronounce it a failure, and trash it. The cup gets the garbage; we get separation from God: “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). We are headed for the punishment we have rightly earned by our sinful actions.
God is not wrong to judge. He is righteous and just. Yet, praise Him, He does not look at us the way we look at the cup. He is merciful: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (5:8).
Heaven requires perfection. Sin cannot be allowed in. However, rather than discard us, God sent us His Son, Jesus Christ. He loved us so much that, rather than give us what we deserve, He did for us what we could not do for ourselves: take the punishment for our failures and provide us with righteousness, “even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe” (3:22).
The paper cup has no intrinsic value, so it would be odd if someone said, “Little cup, I love you so much I don’t care that you don’t work. I am going to keep you and just use my hand to try to get little bits of water at a time.” But we have value to God. He made us in His image. He loves us and will always love us because His faithfulness endures forever. He refused to let us perish but told us to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and we could be saved from our sins and our rightful punishment.
Now this is the grace of God: He goes above and beyond for us. Rather than let us remain broken, He made a way to fix us! “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:23, emphasis added).
If we take the defective paper cup and place it in a good cup, both work together to hold water. The broken cup then can function as intended, with help.
We need a lot of help. That is why God gave us Jesus. When we place our faith in Him alone, God no longer sees us as “broken.” He looks at us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He sees us “in Christ.” And once we are in Christ, we can do what He created us to do.
John 3:17 says, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” God has the right to judge us. However, it is His joy to forgive us.
It’s easy at Christmastime to see the world as a better place: People are nicer. Stores are prettier. Families get together. Yet the sad truth is we are all broken. We are all sinners who need a Savior.
Jesus was not born as a Baby in Bethlehem so we could have figgy pudding and parties with friends and family, but that through Him and in Him we might have meaning and purpose. In Jesus we not only have a reason for the season but a reason for living and a peace in dying.
For unto us was born that day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (cf. Lk. 2:11). He lived the sinless life we could not live, so we could have a perfect sacrifice for sin. He paid the price we could not pay, so we could have forgiveness. He arose glorified, so we might obtain victory in Jesus and life everlasting.
Now, knowing what we know, how can we not love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, body, and strength?