Christmas 2011 – Emmanuel I & II

Christmas 2011 – Emmanuel I
by Shawn Brasseaux

[18 December 2011]

The Christmas Season is the time of year when sincere, religious people get most confused about the Bible. Of the multitudes of people who display the Nativity Scene and say “Merry Christmas,” how many really know who “Christ” even is? The “hustle and bustle” of the commercialized Christmas compounds the confusion already brought on by vain religious tradition. People get so caught up in purchasing the best gifts at the lowest prices that they forget the BEST Gift (eternal life through Jesus Christ) bought with the HIGHEST Price (the life of Jesus Christ). Society focuses on the Christmas tree with its silly trinkets, rather than on the Saviour who hung on the tree of Calvary.

In this two-part Bible study, we want to impart sound Bible doctrine to those whose minds are currently thinking about “spiritual” topics such as God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible. It is our hope and prayer that this collection of brief Christmas Bible studies will give spiritual understanding during this time of year when religious confusion abounds the greatest.

 

GOD WITH US

The Bible gives us information to date the birth of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist was six months older than Jesus (Luke 1:13,24-31). By dating John’s conception and birth, we can then estimate Christ’s conception and birth. John the Baptist’s father, Zacharias, was a priest, “of the course [order] of Abia [Abijah]” (Luke 1:5). Under King David, Israel’s priests were organized into 24 courses (1 Chronicles 24:7-19). A priest from each course served a week in the Temple ministration (and thus served one week twice a year). Israel’s calendar began with Abib/Nisan, whose Gregorian equivalent is March 16-April 15 (Exodus 12:1,2; Exodus 13:4). Passover was observed on April 14, beginning Israel’s religious calendar.

The week following Passover (The Feast of Unleavened Bread) lasted from April 15-21. The first course of priests served in the Temple around this time. Zacharias’ course, Abijah, was the eighth course after Passover (1 Chronicles 24:10), thus placing Zacharias’ service eight weeks after Passover (or June 17-23). This was the time when the angel appeared to Zacharias to announce John’s conception (Luke 1:8-22). Once Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth leave the Temple and go home, Elizabeth conceives John (late June; Luke 1:23-25).

So, Mary conceived Jesus in late December, six months after Elizabeth conceived John (Luke 1:26). Contrary to religious tradition, the birthday of Christ is not December 25. Late December is the time of Christ’s conception! If a perfect human gestation lasts 280 days (9 months), late September/early October estimates the birthday of Christ. At that time, God had Israel observing “The Feast of Tabernacles,” where the Jews would dwell in “booths” (tents, tabernacles) for seven days (Leviticus 23:39-44).

So, while Israel was observing Tabernacles in September/October, God came down, in the form of a man (Jesus Christ), was born of Mary, and dwelt (“tabernacled”) with them! Sadly, very few Jews paid any attention to Jesus, “Emmanuel,” “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). The rest of Israel ignored “God dwelling among them” (John 1:14).

 

Bethlehem Ephratah

According to the Bible, Jesus Christ’s birth in Bethlehem is significant for three reasons. The prophet Micah, speaking of the birthplace of Israel’s Messiah, wrote, circa 700 B.C.: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (5:2).

Interestingly, the Bible does not simply read “Bethlehem,” but “Bethlehem Ephratah.” This is noteworthy because Israel had two towns named “Bethlehem”: Bethlehem of Zebulun (Galilee of northern Israel) and Bethlehem of Judah (Judaea of southern Israel). Obviously, Micah specified the latter, Bethlehem-Judah (cf. Matthew 2:1-6).

According to Micah, Bethlehem is “little among the thousands of Judah.” Bethlehem is a little-known town. It is not famous and it seems insignificant. However, the Bible tells us that Bethlehem Ephratah was the birthplace of King David (1 Samuel 16:1-18). The Bible says in John 7:42 KJV: “Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?”

King David was a type/preview of Jesus Christ. In fact, the Bible explains that, one day, Jesus Christ will inherit the throne of David: “JESUS… shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:” (Luke 1:31,32). Thus, David and Jesus share Bethlehem Ephratah as their birthplace (cf. Luke 2:4). In that light, “little” Bethlehem Ephratah is NOTEWORTHY!

Secondly, consider the meaning of the name “Bethlehem.” Recall that Jesus Christ likened Himself to the manna of the Old Testament when He claimed: “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world…. I am that bread of life: I am the bread which came down from heaven…. I am that bread of life” (John 6:33,35,41,48). We know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, just as Micah 5:2 prophesied (Matthew 2:1,5,6). “Bethlehem” is Hebrew for “the house of bread.” Thus, the “Bread of Life” was born in the “House of Bread.” Is that not fascinating?

There is a third remarkable facet to the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. Joseph (Jesus’ legal father and Mary’s future husband) lived in Nazareth. When Roman emperor Caesar Augustus sent out a decree for taxing the people of the empire (the execution of a census), Joseph was forced to leave Nazareth and go to Bethlehem of Judaea (because Joseph was of David’s lineage, Joseph had to return to David’s birthplace). Obviously, Joseph took pregnant Mary with him to Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-5) and Christ was born there in Bethlehem. Some 700 years beforehand, the Bible knew Joseph and Mary would not be in Nazareth for the birth of Christ, but in Bethlehem, thereby fulfilling the prophecy of Micah 5:2.

That is amazing! Here is evidence that the Bible is a supernatural Book—God’s Book.

 

The Virgin Conception of Christ

About 700 B.C. the prophet Isaiah wrote: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (7:14). Matthew 1:21-25 confirms:

“21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

While Christendom speaks of the “virgin birth of Christ,” according to the above Bible verses, a more accurate term would be the “virgin conception of Christ.” There was nothing unusual about Christ’s birth; it was the conception that made all the difference in the world, for the Baby Jesus conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary was of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 1:18,20; Luke 1:35).

Interestingly, Isaiah 7:14 has been the point of controversy for over a century (to Satan’s delight!). Some modern Bibles (RSV, NRSV, et al.) translate the Hebrew word for “virgin” as the meaningless “young woman,” thereby leaving room for the blasphemous idea that Joseph was Jesus’ biological father (and denying Christ’s deity)! If someone ever tells you almah (the Hebrew word translated “virgin”) can mean “young woman” or “virgin,” they are right, but point out that the key to choosing the right translation is not up to a translator, but rather the Holy Ghost!

The author of Matthew’s Gospel, filled with the Holy Ghost, knew which translation—“young woman” or “virgin”—was what God had intended in Isaiah 7:14. If we want to know what God meant in Isaiah 7:14, why not ask God? In Matthew 1:23, which quotes Isaiah 7:14, the Greek word translated “virgin,” parthenos, can only mean “virgin,” not “young woman.” Isaiah was prophesying a virgin, indicated by the words “firstborn son” (Matthew 1:25; Luke 2:7) and “Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son” (Matthew 1:25). Isaiah 7:14 meant “virgin,” as indicated by Luke 1:34, for Mary “knew not a man.” Again, the Bible is clear that Joseph was not Jesus’ biological father.

Almah in Isaiah 7:14 did not simply mean a “young woman,” who may or may not be sexually pure, but “a virgin,” a woman who never had any sexual intercourse. Thus, the Holy Ghost, not Joseph, was the Father of Jesus’ body.

 

JECONIAH

Have you ever heard of “Jeconiah?” He, being a descendant of King David, was the king of the southern Israeli kingdom of Judah, reigning around 600 B.C. We find his name in 1 Chronicles 3:16-17. Jeconiah was a wicked king, and it was during his reign that the LORD delivered Israel into the hands of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (Esther 2:6; Jeremiah 24:1; Jeremiah 27:20, Jeremiah 28:4; Jeremiah 29:1-2).

Look at Jeremiah 22:24-30 KJV:

“24 As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence;
25 And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans.
26 And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die.
27 But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return.
28 Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not?
29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.
30 Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man [Jeconiah] childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.”

According to this passage, the LORD was so righteously angered at Jeconiah’s wickedness that He said that no descendant of Jeconiah/Coniah will ever sit on David’s throne and no son of Jeconiah will ever rule over Israel as king. Notice, in verse 30, that God said to write Coniah “childless.” Now, why is this important?

According to the genealogy listed in Matthew 1:11,12: “And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;…” Verse 16 continues the genealogy: “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” Joseph, the husband of Mary Jesus’ mother, is a descendant of Jeconiah, and the Bible says in Jeremiah 22 that no son of Jeconiah will ever sit on David’s throne! Had Jesus been Joseph’s biological son, the Lord Jesus Christ could not sit on David’s throne, and all of the prophetic promises regarding Israel’s kingdom would be destroyed! But, according to the doctrine of the virgin conception of Christ, Jesus is not Joseph’s biological son.

Now, look at Luke 3. This is Mary’s genealogy, and this is Jesus Christ’s literal physical bloodline. It goes through Nathan, another son of David! Since Christ is biologically related to Mary (who is a descendant of Nathan, David’s son; Luke 3:31), then the Lord Jesus Christ can rightfully sit on the throne of David, for through Nathan Jesus inherits David’s royal blood.

One of Satan’s attempts to destroy the Messiah’s royal bloodline was to corrupt Jeconiah, a descendant of David. After all, God promised that Israel’s Messiah would come through David’s lineage (2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16; Luke 1:32). But, through the virgin conception of Christ, God was able to “bypass” Satan’s work of corrupting Jeconiah’s blood, by allowing Jesus to be related to David through Nathan, not through Jeconiah.

*As a side-note, Bible scoffers see Matthew 1:16 and Luke 3:23 as contradictory one to another. Matthew 1:16 says “Jacob begat Joseph” and Luke 3:23 says “Joseph, which was the son of Heli.” Who is Joseph’s father? Jacob or Heli? As we stated before, Luke chapter 3 documents Mary’s genealogy, and Matthew 1 is Joseph’s genealogy. Like we stated before, the Bible predicts Jesus will assume David’s throne. Obviously, if Jesus is a descendant of Jeconiah, Jesus cannot assume the throne (Jeconiah’s bloodline is cursed, remember?). Jesus’ bloodline is not in Matthew 1 (the bloodline of Jeconiah and Joseph). Jesus’ royal bloodline, from Mary, would be that of Luke chapter 3, through King David’s son Nathan. Heli, Mary’s father, adopted Joseph as his son (as denoted by Luke 3:23), thereby allowing Jesus to have the legal right to David’s throne (through his legal father, Joseph) and Jesus assumes the blood right to David’s throne (through David’s son Nathan). This is the wisdom of God!

 

WISE MEN

When we see depictions of the Nativity Scene, we observe three wise men assembled around Baby Jesus’ manger. Actually, the Bible never indicates how many wise men there were, and they never visited Christ as a baby. According to the Bible, an indeterminate number of wise men from the east (Gentiles) saw the star of Christ in the east, so they travel to Jerusalem, inquiring where to find Christ, the King of Jews (Matthew 2:1,2).

King Herod and Jerusalem are troubled, and Herod summons Israel’s religious leaders to tell him where the Messiah will be born. They tell him, according to Micah 5:2, “Bethlehem of Judaea” (verses 3-6). Herod then sends the wise men to seek Jesus, hoping to find and destroy Him (lest He become king and end Herod’s reign). Upon leaving Herod, the wise men follow the star to Nazareth, where Joseph and Mary live in a “house”notice this is not the manger scene. “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11). Also, take note that Jesus is not a baby here, but a “young child” (verses 9,11). In fact, he is as much as two years old (verse 16). By the way, that star signified the Messiah-King of Israel (Numbers 24:17).

Interestingly, the wise men worship Jesus and bring Him “gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (verse 11). Gold is for a King, frankincense is for a Priest, and myrrh is for a Prophet—Jesus is all three (Isaiah 9:6,7; Hebrews 5:6; Deuteronomy 18:15,18). Amazingly, Isaiah 60:6 even prophesied Gentiles would bring gifts of gold and frankincense to God. Sadly, these Gentiles had more respect for Israel’s King than Israel. They recognized fulfilled prophecy… they were wise indeed!

* * *

We will conclude our Christmas lesson next week.

From arC Ministries to you and your family, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

Christmas 2011 – Emmanuel II
by Shawn Brasseaux

[25 December 2011]

The Christmas Season is a time of year when spiritual confusion abounds the most.  Currently, many dear, sincere souls are talking about the Baby Jesus and God sending His Son to earth, but how many even know the significance of this Person and that event. Precious few! This time of year is a time of gathering with family and friends, a time for sharing gifts, giving and receiving tokens of appreciation, love, kinship, and companionship. How many are focusing on the best gifts at the lowest price, but totally ignoring the GREATEST gift, salvation through Jesus Christ, at the HIGHEST price, the life of Jesus Christ? Most!

It is quite disturbing to realize that most people who celebrate Christmas have a head knowledge of some spiritual truth, but they have never believed on this truth with the heart. Their church and/or denomination has told them only portions of the “Christmas Story.” What little they are told about Christ’s birth is presented from a denominationally biased viewpoint, something designed to perpetuate church tradition rather than communicate the simple truths of God’s pure Word.

Faith is belief in God’s Word (Romans 10:17), so if they believe something that is not God’s Word, that is not faith, that is unbelief (Romans 10:14). In part II of our Christmas Bible study for this year, we aim to present the dilemma of mankind and God’s solution, the Gospel of the Grace of God. Our goal is to present sound Bible doctrine on which faith can then rest!

* * *

 

We All Deserve Lumps of Coal…

We are all familiar with the Christmas folklore that teaches that naughty children receive lumps of coal in their stockings. (Of course, we know that parents use this an incentive to persuade their children to behave properly.) The truth is, throughout the year, the parents have been just as naughty as their kids: “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)—no exceptions!

Philosophers such as John Locke (1632–1704) promoted the idea of “the innate goodness of man.” Is mankind naturally good, or is this simply “wishful thinking?” In this evil world system that seeks only relative truth, man’s behavior is not subject to one overall standard, just different “norms” unique to various cultures. It is said that what is “right” to me may be “wrong” for you, and/or vice versa. Is truth relative, subjective, varying from person to person, or is it absolute, objective, and applicable to all people?

One of the strongest arguments against atheism (the belief that God does not exist) is the justification of good deeds and the condemnation of evil deeds. While laws expose crimes, they do not explain why those activities are crimes. We can say they are crimes, but, without God, we cannot explain why murder or theft is wrong. There must be some overall standard from which the laws of society have originated, thus enabling us to declare what is right (or what is wrong), and why it is right (or why it is wrong). Surely, there is absolute truth. Any argument to the contrary is not only willfully foolish, but also utterly absurd.

God’s preserved Word in the English language, the King James Bible, is the absolute truth, the only standard we English-speaking people have to evaluate right and wrong. That standard exposes mankind as a devilish sinner… this is quite unfortunate for those who confuse human self-righteousness with God’s righteousness. The Bible exalts God’s righteousness and exposes sinful man by firmly proving that mankind falls short of the Lord Jesus Christ’s righteousness: “For all have sinned, and come short of THE GLORY OF GOD” (Romans 3:23). There is a standard and there is an infallible authority of absolute truth: God’s written Word, the Bible.

The righteousness described in the Bible is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the righteousness we do not have in and of ourselves. It is this standard of righteousness that enables us to determine which actions are right (or wrong), and why are they right (or wrong).

Galatians 5:19-21 exposes man’s sinful heart: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Again, the heart of man is evil (Jeremiah 17:9): “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Our Lord Jesus declared: “That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:20-23 KJV).

Can the Bible be any plainer? Because of Adam, we are all inherently sinners: “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned… For if through the offence of one [Adam] many be dead… for the judgment was by one [Adam] to condemnation… For if by one man’s [Adam’s] offence death reigned by one… Therefore as by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation… For as by one man’s [Adam’s] disobedience many were mad sinners…” (Romans 5:12,15-19 KJV).

Psalm 14:2,3 KJV reads: “The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:3 KJV).

We are sinners, not because we sin, but we sin because we are sinners. It is human nature to sin because human nature is sinful. In Psalm 51:5, King David expressed it best: Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” No matter how many “good” deeds we do, that does not change our anti-God, sinful nature. We are born “children of disobedience” and “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1-3).

The Bible exposes man for what he really is—a vile, rebellious narcissist who readily blasphemes God’s name and eagerly stabs his fellow man in the back. God’s Word being “The Final Authority,” the Standard of Absolute Truth, makes man uncomfortable, so the Bible is extremely unpopular with man.

If man can rid himself of the Bible, then he will not appear sinful—man has been trying to rid himself of the Bible since Adam’s first sin, some 6,000 years ago! In the eyes of a holy, righteous God, that sin and those sins need to be dealt with. God’s justice demands that sin be punished, one way or another.

“[God] Who will render to every man according to his deeds: Unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation, and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;” (Romans 2:6,8,9 KJV). We sinners are deserving of God’s wrath. We all deserve lumps of coal. However, there is Good News….

 

…But We Have Been Given God’s Grace

The sinful human race is worthy of our holy Creator God’s wrath. God has created a special place, hell, for Satan and those who follow his sinful rebellion against God (Matthew 25:41). The simple truth is that, because of our sinful nature (and the resulting sinful actions), we all deserve to go to hell, and ultimately, separated from God forever in the lake of fire (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 20:14,15; Revelation 21:8; et al.). All of the world’s sin “treasures up wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5).

Earlier, we saw that the Bible says in Ephesians 2:1-3 KJV:

“1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

Mankind’s sin (the sinful nature) and sins (the individual, sinful actions produced by the sinful nature) gender the righteous indignation of God. The sins of the world are great and bountiful, “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20b). Something abounds far greater than the sin of mankind—THE GRACE OF GOD!

Ephesians 2:4-9 KJV read:

“4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

God, in His grace, dealt with our sin at Calvary’s cross, and took it out of the way. Through the finished crosswork of God incarnate, Jesus Christ, the riches of God’s grace are manifest. Everything that God can do for us, He already accomplished through His Son Jesus Christ at Calvary’s cross! Romans 1:16-17 says that the Gospel of Christ declares both man’s unrighteousness, and God’s righteousness. It declares God’s wrath against sin (the wrath of God was poured out on His Son at Calvary). But, the Good News is:

Romans 5:17-19 KJV read:

“17 For if by one man’s [Adam’s] offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore as by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [Jesus Christ] the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19 For as by one man’s [Adam’s] disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one [Jesus Christ] shall many be made righteous.”

Adam plunged the human race into sin, misery, and death. Jesus Christ, “the second/last Adam/man” (1 Corinthians 15:45,47) has restored the human race so that it can now have free and total access to God. In Adam, we are sinners. In Christ, we are saints. In Adam, we die. In Christ, we live.

God left heaven’s glory to become “Emmanuel,” “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Mathew 1:23). Jesus Christ, God the Son, “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8). Why?

  • To commend God’s love toward us (Romans 5:8).
  • To be our mediator to God and “give his life a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
  • To die, not simply for us, but as us (Romans 6:3-9; Colossians 2:11-15).
  • To undo the damage caused by sinful Adam (Romans 5:12-21; Colossians 1:20-21).
  • To “put away [our] sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).
  • To deliver us from Satan’s policy of evil, and make us sinners saints (Colossians 1:12-14).
  • To “give himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour” (Ephesians 5:2).
  • To give us everlasting life…His life (Galatians 2:20) and thus, do for us what we could not do for ourselves—accomplish our salvation from the second death (spiritual death) (Ephesians 2:1-9)!
  • To give us “peace with God” (Romans 5:1).

Although our world deserves God’s wrath, today, God is not imputing the world’s sins unto it (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). Instead of receiving “coal” (God’s wrath), we have been given the gift of God’s grace to us in Christ Jesus! Everyone, regardless of religion, race, or social standing, can now receive forgiveness through the Lord Jesus Christ. All they have to do is place their faith/trust exclusively in the Gospel of Grace as found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4—“that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again for our justification!”

Have you trusted exclusively in the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sin and sins? I hope and pray that you have.
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM arC MINISTRIES!

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