Being eternally grateful for the gift of Jesus
Why was it necessary for Christmas to happen? Why did Jesus have to be born, live a sinless life, die on the cross and rise from the dead? Almost every American has heard John 3:16 which reads, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Not as many have heard or read the following Scriptures in verses 17-21. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
We may look at these Scriptures and think, God came up with a plan to save mankind from their sin and created a scapegoat to suffer and die in our place to redeem us from our fallen state. The Bible tells us several times the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus was planned before the foundation of the world. Before anything existed God’s plan to save people was already in His heart. Ephesians 1:3-14 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
God so loved the world He came Himself and died on the cross to redeem mankind from their sins. Acts 20:28 states, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
How great is this love, that God became a man and died a criminal’s death so we could spend eternity with Him. If we have received Christ, been born again and have eternal life, we should be the most humble and grateful people on earth. Let us honor this season with thanksgiving and praise. Thank you Jesus for your indescribable and most profound gift. I am forever grateful.
Pastor Leo Kruger of Valley Christian Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.