We’ve introduced this new song that picks up the theme of one of our most beloved Christmas carols, to help us see the nature of the Gospel from a different angle. Often, when we hear the same message said the same way for too long, we start missing parts of the meaning. And it’s profoundly helpful when preachers and hymn writers help us see the treasure of the Gospel and the glories of Christ in fresh ways.
One of the greatest glories of God’s salvation plan is that it comes to the lowly first. In fact, the Gospel is made for those, and really can only be taken hold of by those who know they’re sinners and haven’t merited any goodness before God. We know Jesus’ parable of the pharisee and the tax collector who both went up to the temple to worship: the pharisee thanked God he wasn’t as bad as the other man, while the tax collector stood far off and cried, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:9-14). Jesus tells us it was the tax collector, who knew he could only trust in God’s mercy to grant repentance, who went away from the temple justified before God. In the same way, we can’t really treasure the Gospel if we don’t first know, REALLY know, that we need God to be merciful and gracious to us.
The first announcement of the birth of our long-awaited Savior came to shepherds, not to princes. The angels came to the lowly, not the impressive. Jesus Christ was born in a stable, not in some royal hall. And this was only the beginning: He would humble Himself to death, even death on a cross, to bear all of our sins away (Philippians 2:8).
So God tells us to bring our need, our unworthiness, our unfaithfulness to Him, and be found and saved and transformed by His Son. God delights to save the most unworthy, because we’re exactly that. But the Son is worthy, and in Christ we who were far off are made sons of God if we only trust Him.
Don’t try to clean up your life before you come to Christ. He’s the one who gives new hearts and grants repentance from sin. And Christian, if you’re weary and discouraged, if you’ve been unfaithful to Him, draw near again to our Savior. He’s our Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6), who descended to save us and sympathize with our weaknesses. He knows our needs. And He is an ever-present help.
Charles Spurgeon once preached, “In being laid in a manger, Christ did, as it were, give an invitation to the most humble to come to Him … If you desire to come to Christ you may come to Him just as you are; you may come now. Whoever has the desire in his heart to trust Christ is free to do it. Jesus is free to you; He will receive you; He will welcome you with gladness, and to show this, I think, the young child was cradled in a manger.”
Let’s not wait, but let’s all of us draw near to Christ this Christmas, because He first drew near to us.
Merry Christmas, church family!