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North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose 

    I tend to dwell on the bright side of things or at least I try. But it can’t escape a person, even a positive thinker that this world has more corruption than we’d like to admit. It taints our thinking and cultivates an attitude of suspicion, doubt, and fear for the future. Here and there, deadly swamps and treacherous quicksand make men and women prone to sinking down in despair. It can all be traced back to a three letter word we know as sin. Sin has covered the earth with wars, bullies, harassment, and cruelty.    Enter Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago who dared to take on the sins of the world; then and now. He attacked sin at its very core. On a silent night, a holy night many years ago he caught the eye and ear of all who heard of him. And he aroused the hope of all humankind. In Matthew 1:20-21, the angel proclaims, “Don’t be afraid, for a child will be born and you are to call him Jesus, for he will save people from their sins.” Christ would be no Savior worth talking about if he could not save people from their sins. That’s what Christ was born to do, and that’s what he’s doing all the time. We can face the New Year ahead because Christ delivers us from the penalty of our past sins.

    A mother came to a pastor and told him how her son was wandering away from God and how the clutches of sin was ruining his soul and body. With her face wet with tears and her hands clinched together she said, “How gladly I would die for him if I could set him back again the same pure and wholesome boy that he was ten years ago.” But this mother’s love, as strong as it was, had no power to pay the penalty of sin and make it possible for her son’s sin to be pardoned. But, “God so loved the world” that He gave Christ to die for us and redeem us. He was God’s own Son. He had no sin of his own to account for. He came to stand in our place, and offer himself as a sacrifice for us. Peter says, “Christ suffered for our sins once for all-time. He never sinned, but he died for the just and the unjust, that he would bring us safely home to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ suffered for us that he might save us from the one great cause which makes us suffer. Its sin that has brought suffering into the world and every cruel, bitter heartache that the world has known has somewhere come from that one source. People try to make themselves happy while all the time carrying past sins with them. Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and the only one who can certainly give peace to every human heart, because through his death and suffering he has conquered the great source of our suffering and our sorrow.

    A company of men, who had taken part in a rebellion during the Civil War, were captured and sentenced to have every tenth man shot; to deter others from the same kind of uprising. Among these were a father and his son. They were told to form a straight line. The first man and every tenth man thereafter were marked for death. The father and son stood together, and as the son counted the men along the line he discovered his father was a doomed man. He realized what it would mean to have his family left without the head of their household; his mother would become a widow, and their old home stripped of its life and joy. He made his father change places with him, and before the father could respond, his son fell dead in his stead. He became his father’s substitute. His father many years later could not speak of his son without breaking down with a quivering voice and tear-wet eyes. The son took his doom and died in his place.

    From the moment sin entered the world we all became doomed. Then Jesus was born, lived, and stepped in our place. He took the smiting and died on the cross for our sins. Of all the things to be happy about this Christmas season, this is the greatest news that could happen for us. For nothing is so important as the eternal state of our soul. Is there no love today that rises up within your heart to return gratitude and loving confession to the Christ that was born and died to redeem and save you from the guilt and punishment due for your sins?

    Christ dared to take on suffering, loneliness, insult, anguish, and even death to save you and me. Give him your love through open confession of gratitude and thanksgiving. “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to live and die for us while we were still sinners. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends with God” (Romans 8:2, 8, 11).

    This Christmas can be different. Remember the star, the manger, the shepherds, and the Wise Men. But most of all, let’s give Jesus his place in our hearts and our lives. This year, remember the reason for the season. Merry Christmas to all!

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a teacher, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. Amazon.com. You can contact him at: rmdobson@liberty.edu.

Posted by on Dec 24 2017. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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