December 4

God Sent Us Salvation

“The righteous hates falsehood, but the wicked brings shame and disgrace. Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but sin overthrows the wicked.” (Proverbs 13:5-6)

It’s only the fourth day of December, but we have already been hearing Christmas carols and hymns for weeks. You would think that we would be tired of them. I have had the pleasure of attending two short concerts lately, of mostly instrumental Christmas music. Rather than grow tired of the songs, I have thoroughly enjoyed listening, as the brilliant, biblical words run through my mind, (at least those I remember). 

Here are just a few of my favorite phrases:

“Down in a lowly manger, Our humble Christ was born, And God send us salvation, That blessed Christmas morn: Go, Tell It On The Mountain, Over the hills and everywhere; Go, Tell It On The Mountain, That Jesus Christ is born.” (1)

“This day is born a Savior, Of pure Virgin bright, To free all those who trust in Him. From Satan’s power and might. O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy.” (2)

“O holy night, the stars are brightly shining; It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born!” (3)

How can we grow tired of hearing the good news—Jesus Christ was born for our holiness? Every time we read about righteousness in the Bible, we should be reminded of the gospel, without which God’s righteousness would completely escape us. But we are delivered through the gospel because Jesus Christ suffered the consequences of our self-righteousness by his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. When Proverbs speaks of “righteousness,” Solomon most probably means “An honest desire to do right, [that] preserves a man from fatal mistakes, better than a thousand fine-drawn distinctions.” (4) We who are consecrated to God, sanctified for his glory, read Scripture differently than those without personal faith in Christ’s atoning work. When we see words like righteousness, holiness, integrity, honesty, and blamelessness we should always remember Christ and the gospel, without which we would be wicked, disgraced, shameful, full of falsehood and sin, no matter how subtle or hidden from ourselves and the world.

This Christmas season I intend to apply the gospel as I celebrate Christ’s incarnation, to enjoy so many reminders of his righteousness. By God’s grace, I will be able to avoid a lot of commercialization this year, since having major, elective surgery will keep me out of the stores and restaurants. But would I be able to hold my focus if I were not so restricted? What will your focus be as the season progresses and how will you keep it?

(1) “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” Lyrics copied from: http://ldsguy.tripod.com/Christmas.carols.html#Angels%20From%20The%20Realm%20Of%20Glory

(2) “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” Ibid.

(3) “Oh Holy Night,” Ibid.

(4) Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, Proverbs 13:6, https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-concise/proverbs/13.html

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