December 24 Christmas Eve

We Need Jesus, Who Forgives Our Sins

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit…I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalms 32:1-2, 5)

“Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity. Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13-14)

Christmas Eve where I am is quiet, and much like any other day except for some visitors who wouldn’t usually come on Monday. Many families are celebrating Christmas Eve by traveling to be together, attending church services, and opening gifts afterward. In my mind, there is no wrong way to enjoy the day. However, tomorrow many will non-Christians will ignore the fact that the world was changed in every possible way when Jesus Christ appeared on earth. But His birth was celebrated by hosts of angels, shepherds, wise men, and prophets. He is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” and the light that came into the world. (John 1:29:3:19). If he had not come, we would not be forgiven. 

In a quiet moment away from all the happy celebrations, believers are called to meditate on God’s mercy and blessing of forgiveness. Why would we neglect this calling? Are we so afraid to miss out on some treat or experience that we will turn our backs on our Savior today? I wasn’t ready to write this devotion before mid-afternoon today, and now that I have taken a break from visiting with friends and watching TV I come to my Lord happily and full of gratitude. It is not the when of our devotion but the what and how—Jesus Christ is the object of our faith, our Prince of Peace who blesses us with deep Shalom when we open our hearts to him. “And what tongue can tell the happiness of that hour, when the soul, oppressed by sin, is enabled freely to pour forth its sorrows before God and to take hold of his covenanted mercy in Christ Jesus! Those that would speed in prayer, must seek the Lord, when, by his providence, he calls them to seek him, and, by his Spirit, stirs them up to seek him. In a time of finding, when the heart is softened with grief, and burdened with guilt; when all human refuge fails; when no rest can be found to the troubled mind, then it is that God applies the healing balm by his Spirit.” (1)

John Gill helps us to remember that Jesus Christ is glorified when we are forgiven; confession is not a selfish act, but a humble, contrite one that magnifies God’s mercy. “[By confession]…must be meant a fresh manifestation and application of pardon to his soul: now, when confession of sin, and remission of it, are thus put together, the sense is not that confession of sin is the cause of pardon; it is not the moving cause of it, that is the grace and mercy of God; nor the procuring and meritorious cause of it, that is the blood of Christ: it is not for the sake of a sinner’s confession of sin, but for Christ’s sake, that sin is forgiven; but this is the way in which it is enjoyed; and such as truly repent of sin, and sincerely confess it, are the persons to whom the Lord manifests his forgiving love.”

Have you been forgiven by Christ today? “The orderliness and well-being in one’s life is linked to an intensely personal relationship with God. Unconfessed sin is the ultimate disorder in life. Confession and repentance leads to a restoration of a right relationship with God based on mercy…All other relationships depend on this.”

(1) Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, Psalm 32:3-7,https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-concise/psalms/32.html

(2) John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, Psalms 32:5, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-32.html

(3) The Reformation Study Bible, Proverbs 28:13, Reformation Trust Publishing (Ligonier Ministries), Sanford, Fl, 2015. 

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