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  • Dr. Bob Phillips, Pastor

It's Going To Be OK

"Fear not."

How many times do we read in the Scriptures where God, either directly or through his messengers, uttered those words to his people? I started to run the number down, but gave up counting because there were so many.

We live in an age of fear. COVID. Crime and violence. Government overreach. Religious persecution. The economy. International tensions. Threats from within and without. It is, as it always has been in history, a dangerous world beyond our doors. But the God who created and sustains all things does not want us to live in fear.

The world we see around us (not to mention the ugliness we see within us) is not how God made everything. In the beginning he brought order out of chaos, gave light in the midst of darkness, and brought life from lifeless elements. All around us we see the wonders he wrought when he spoke into the darkness and brought all that exists out of nothing. If he could do all these amazing things, don't you think he could look after you as well?

And he does watch over us. Just as he knows the exact number of stars in the night sky and calls each by name, so he knows the very hairs of your head (or lack thereof) and knows your name as well. He clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds of the air. Not a sparrow falls without his awareness and to him you are of far more value than a whole flock of sparrows. So what happened?

Sin happened. Our sin to be exact. We made choices contrary to God's will and brought death with all its terrible consequences into our lives and into the world he gave us. The shock of our sin has reverberated throughout the entire created order, creating misery and death, alienating us from the God who made and loves us. So what can we do about it? Nothing.

You see, there is no way in God's universe we ever could raise ourselves back to where we were. Companionship with God was gone and there was no getting it back by any effort we could put forth. We broke it and we can't fix it. So, God did the most extraordinary thing. He came down to us. And that brings us to Christmas.

Right now is the Advent season, the time of year when we look back to God's very personal and amazing intrusion into time and space. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. For nine months God the Son dwelt in the womb of a virgin after which he experienced the trauma of birth and began his personal journey through the wilderness of this world only to die in agony upon a Roman cross. All for naught? Hardly. This was in fact the plan all along.

The cross was God's means of dealing with the problem of sin and all its ruinous effects. As a holy God, he could not simply overlook our rebellion like an indulgent grandfather. Nor could he freely bestow pardon for sin as if he were some celestial Santa Claus. Sin had to be dealt with ruthlessly. It demands the death penalty and the bill had to be paid. So God paid it himself. For us. But why?

Because in addition to being holy and righteous, God also is love. He loves his creation and every creature in it. That includes you and me, guilty and shameful as we are. And he's not letting us go without a fight. So he sent his Son into the world to be our Champion. Jesus lived the life we fail to live and suffered the death we so richly deserve. All to save us from our sins. Having been raised from the dead and installed at the Father's right hand as our Redeemer and Lord, God now offers us forgiveness of all our sins and eternal life through him. There is something you and I are required to do, however.

We must turn from our rebellious ways and put our trust in Christ alone as our Savior and Lord. If you're willing to do that God is more than willing to accept you, forgive your sins, clothe you with his righteousness, change your heart, and give you a new beginning along with eternal life in the world to come. If you're not willing, there is no place left to go but to judgment and to hell, from which there is no return and no escape. Forever. And that will be your fault, not God's.

There is a second aspect to this Advent season. It is about looking ahead to our Lord's return in glory. When his kingdom comes his will shall surely be done on earth as it is in heaven. He will do away forever with sin and its deadly effects, execute justice and judgment upon his enemies and the enemies of his people, and gather his redeemed to himself to live forever with him in a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. And then begins the everlasting adventure.

So you see? For God's children it's going to be OK after all.

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