Wednesday, 29 December 2010

2 Corinthians 5:19 A Christmas Gift - Reconciliation

If someone asked you what Christmas is all about what would you say?

The song we sang with the children provided us with some answers people give; presents, Christmas tree, tinsel. I went to a Christmas Concert a couple of weeks ago which concluded Christmas was about being together; family and friendship.

In 2006 a survey asked “What does Christmas mean to you?” The answers can be grouped into five broad categories:
(Category Mentioned by(%))
Family, friends, children, partner, togetherness 66%
Holiday, a break 29%
Food, drink, over-indulgence 25%
Religious 14%
Stress, hassle, headache, expense, etc. 14%

But what would God say Christmas is all about? Have you ever thought about it like that?
2 Cor’s 5:19 tells us what God says Christmas is about, it can be summed up in a word: reconciliation. “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.”

Reconciliation means to restore the relationship between two parties by decisively dealing with the thing which caused the rupture in the relationship.

We often assume we are ok with God, because well I’m a nice person, I go to church, I’m a good parent, whatever... But notice the Bible assumes we aren’t ok with God. It says that by nature we need reconciliation, by nature our relationship with God is broken and we are his enemies.

Did you spot the things which broke our relationship with God? The thing that needs dealing with? “Sin”, not a list of do’s or don’ts that we’ve failed to keep but simply having a heart and mind which says I rule, I determine right and wrong for myself without reference to God.

That is what causes enmity between us and God what makes us enemies not friends. But that great news of Christmas is that God sends Jesus to end the enmity and Jesus willing comes to reconcile us to God.

Did you notice how he does it? He does not count peoples sin against them. It isn’t that God just sweeps it under the carpet, he can’t because he is just, rebellion against God must be punished. Look at (21)“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God.”

The great news of Christmas is Jesus comes willingly to take our place, so that our sin is not counted against us but against him, and his perfect record, his righteousness, is counted as ours.

There is a grave stone in America that has these words on it “I want to stand where you’re standing”. It is a memorial from the American civil war. There was a firing squad about to do its duty when a 19 year old infantry man recognised one of the men to be executed. He put his musket down and approached his commanding officer. ‘Sir’, he said ‘I know this man, he has a wife and a young family. If we execute him we are condemning them to death too.’
That 19 year old went and stood in front of the man he had recognised, those words from his grave stone are the words he spoke “I want to stand where you’re standing” he took the blindfold off the man he recognised who went free and placing it on himself he stood in the firing line as his commanding officers command rang out; “fire”.

I want to stand where you’re standing – that is what Christmas is about, so that we can stand where Christ stands, so that we can know relationship with God.

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