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It’s a crazy thing.
We humans are still so messed up that there’s nothing we can do about it. Like all the masses of people who have gone before us, we try and try in our puny little ways to straighten out our lives, but the bottom line is that we go right on being messed up, and mixed up.
And before we start to puff out our Christian chests, let’s be clear that we believers are no better than anyone else. We sin just about as much after we become believers as we did before – sometimes in different ways from before, but we still sin nevertheless.
And we don’t like to admit it. We usually try to pretend that we don’t continue to struggle with sin, especially when we’re at church or around other believers. Maybe with our closest friends we’ll disclose some of our struggles, but most of us, deep down, knowing how messed up we really are, actually worry about whether we’re even going to be in the kingdom of God at all.
And that’s a shame, because none of us should be worrying about that. To worry about that means that we need to know who God is better than we do – and that we need to know who we are, better than we do.
We need to remember that the very reason God came to us–through Jesus Christ–was to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves. We need to remember that Jesus took all of humanity, even you and me, into himself and presents us, in himself, to the Father as perfect in Jesus’ own perfection.
We need to remember that God loves us so much that he made us one with Jesus, and he did that in such a way that we can never be outside Jesus. We need to remember that he will never stop loving us and that he will never let us go, even if we refuse his love and plant our feet in hell.
We need to remember that Jesus opened up the life of the Trinity to humanity and drew us into it through the Holy Spirit. That he stood in for us and did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves; that he reconciled us; that he secured our adoption as beloved children of the Father, and that he guaranteed our place in his life and his family.
We need to remember that he made us into a new creation in himself, and that we didn’t decide any of it. We didn’t earn any of it. We didn’t qualify for any of it. It was a gift – God’s gift, given to us out of his great kindness, mercy, and love–because he is love.
“I have been crucified with Christ,” Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20, “and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Jesus took our messed up minds and ways on himself, becoming what we are in order to reconcile us to God. He cleansed us, healed us and sanctified us all. That’s why we trust him, and not our faith or our good works, but him and only him – the Author and Finisher of our salvation.
Because of Jesus, and only because of Jesus, we can love God and love others. Remember, It is by grace that Jesus Christ is in us and we are in him.
Indeed, It is “Amazing grace,” and “how sweet the sound, to save a wretch like me!”
That’s what Christmas is all about – knowing God and knowing ourselves. And it’s done only in Jesus.
I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE!