“Christmastime is here. Happiness and cheer.” Or so the song from A Charlie Brown Christmas goes.
Truth be told, when I look around me—at my family, my inner circle of friends, or at seemingly any headline, happiness and cheer are woefully absent. In their place are strained family relations, chronic pain and suffering, a plethora of doctors’ appointments to attend, the scars and wounds of abuse, and the terror and unrest of wars.
No, my heart doesn’t feel happy or cheerful. It feels… heavy. Downcast.
Perhaps your heart feels the same?
Perhaps, while setting out your favorite nativity scene, your hampered heart begged the question, “What difference did it make that Christ came?”
Looking around us, it’s tempting to believe that it made no difference at all.
But the truth I hope to remind you and myself of today, is that Christ’s coming made all the difference in the world. To achieve that hope, let’s explore how our lives would be affected—past, present, and future—had Christ not come.
1. We’d Have No Forgiveness for Our Past
In Charles Dickens’ classic tale, A Christmas Carol, stony hearted Ebenezer Scrooge is stayed by the ghost of his old business partner, Jacob Marley. The night of this fateful visitation, Scrooge hears Marley approaching long before he lays his wide eyes on him, as everywhere Marley goes the “clank, clank” of the chain he keeps follows close behind. For Marley was not a good man in life.
“I wear the chain I forged in life… I made it link by link and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it,” he tells Scrooge.
Had Christ not come, regardless of whether we had been “good” people or not, we would all be destined to carry the “chains we forged in life” for all eternity, just as Marley. Burdened by every sin, wrong, and horrid thing we’ve ever done, forever. We’d be shackled with shame, bound with brokenness, and weighed down with our own wickedness.
For apart from Christ, we are all wicked—every last one of us.
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23.
Had Christ not come, the curse that Adam and Eve unleashed in Eden’s paradise, the curse of being enslaved to sin, would continue to rule over us. Sin is a cruel Master. One that steals, kills, and destroys those under its rule. One that rewards its lifelong servants with death.
Our sin—that great chasm which severs our union with God—would still stand, too wide for us to cross.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:11
A Savior. Christ was born to save us who could never save ourselves.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” – Colossians 1:13-14
Christ Jesus came to deliver us from darkness and offer us forgiveness. He came to break our heavy chains of sin, that like Marley, were of our own making. He came to save and redeem us.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Because of the cleansing saving work of Christ, we are made new. We are no longer slaves of sin (Romans 6:7). Our past is forgiven, and we are redeemed.
Because of Christ, the chasm of sin between those who are saved and God is covered with a bridge of His righteousness. We no longer have enmity with God, but rather “…since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Romans 5:1).
2. We’d Have No Help for Our Present
“That’s all fine and dandy,” I hear you say. “I’m grateful for what Christ did for me on the cross all those years ago… but I don’t see that His coming makes a difference in my life right now.”
One of the greatest lies the enemy whispers to believers is that Christ is not presently active in our lives. That He came to earth, died on the cross, rose again, and ascended to heaven where He reclines in glory, never giving us a second thought.
Dear friends, that is simply not true.
Had Christ not come, we would not have a Great High Priest in Heaven who sympathizes with our weaknesses, who offers us mercy and grace in our time of need (Heb. 4:14-16). Had Christ not come, we would not have the help of the Holy Spirit who prays for us when we know not what or how to pray as we ought (Rom. 8:26). Had Christ not come, we would have to endure the suffering and trouble of this world alone, without access to the Father of compassion and God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Had Christ not come, the old covenant and its cumbersome laws would still be in effect for God’s chosen people Israel (Hebrews 8:13). Had Christ not come, it would not be possible for everyone—both Jew and Gentile—to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved (Romans 10:5-13).
Not only did Christ demonstrate His great love for us in the past when He took our place on the cross and forgave us of our sins, but He is actively demonstrating His love for us right now. Romans 8:34 tells us, “Christ Jesus… is at the right hand of God interceding for us.”
Jesus prays for you. All the time. With all zeal and great persistence.
Not only that, but He is presently helping us through the Holy Spirit whom He sent: “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you…When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth,” (John 16:7&13).
Christ justified us before God on the cross, forgiving us of our sins. But that’s not all Christ came to accomplish. He also came that we might be sanctified and is currently purifying us of our sins. If we are in Christ, we can be assured that He is at work sanctifying us right now (Heb. 2:11). Furthermore, He will be faithful to complete that good work which He began (Philippians 1:6).
Friends, our justification and sanctification from sin are our two greatest needs. And Christ has met them both!
And since He has done this, we can trust Him to help us with any and every trouble we have in this world. We can trust Him to provide sufficient grace for every weakness, hardship, and affliction (2 Cor. 12:1-10). We can trust Him to be with us in every season, never leaving us nor forsaking us (Deut. 31:8). We can trust Him to give us strength in every circumstance—be it abundant or in critical need (Philippians 4:11-13). Let this truth envelop your heart: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid,” (John 14:27).
3. We’d Have No Hope for Our Future
One of the most beautiful truths about Jesus is that He “is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb.13:8). This is why Christ’s coming to earth was so monumental—because it affected all three. He didn’t just make an impact in the past, nor is His impact limited to the present. His impact extends to the future.
Because when Christ entered this world, He became the door through which we could enter heaven (John 10:7&9).
Had Christ not come, the temporal goodness of this earthly life would be the best we could hope to experience. Not only would there be nothing better to look forward to, but the literal hell to follow our death would be much worse than any suffering we endure here on earth. Had Christ not come, the hope of an eternal home, new glorified bodies, reward for our labor, and the promise of perfect justice exacted for every evil committed would be gone. The hope of standing face to face with the Lord of All Creation, beholding His incomparable beauty and holiness, basking in His perfect love for all eternity would not exist.
What was once a bleak and miserable eternity, is now a glorious and hopeful one for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Because Christ came, we can know “that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us…” (Romans 8:18). Because Christ came, the strained family relations, chronic pain and suffering, plethora of doctors’ appointments to attend, scars and wounds of abuse, and the terror and unrest of wars will all come to an epic end. There is an expiration date for evil. And the impetus of that impending conclusion was Christ’s birth in Bethlehem.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” – Genesis 3:15
Because Jesus came, evil will come to an incredible ruin, and the future for those in Him is full of hope.What was once a bleak and miserable eternity, is now a glorious and hopeful one for those who are in Christ Jesus. Because Jesus came, evil will come to an incredible ruin, and the future for those in Him is full of hope. Click To Tweet
He Came… and He’s Coming Again
No matter what dire circumstances or weighty emotions you’re experiencing this holiday season, hold to the truth that Christ’s coming to earth indeed made a world of difference… past, present, and future.
Let the sight of the nativity cause your heart to rejoice, “He came!”
And remember His promise in Revelation 22:20: “He who testifies to these things says ‘surely I am coming soon.’…”
He came… and He is coming again. This time not as a babe in a manger, but as a mighty Warrior called Faithful and True.
“Amen. Come Lord Jesus.”