From the Heart of a local Pastor, Phillip Slaughter

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At Christmas, we celebrate when God became human. The Bible claims that Jesus is God and has always existed as such (See John 1:1 and Colossians 1:15-20 for examples). So, why would God leave heaven and become a human with the capacity to suffer? Beginning with the first man and continuing through today we have all done what is wrong in God’s eyes. The Bible calls this sin, and it tells us the result of that sin is an eternal separation between God and man (physical and spiritual death). Mankind did evil. Therefore, mankind would have to suffer the appropriate punishment.

However, before God ever created us, he knew we would do wrong and already had a plan for that. Jesus would be born as a man in order to take the punishment that man deserved. Jesus never sinned and deserved no punishment, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, ESV). Jesus died on a Friday to pay our debt, but the grave could not hold him. He rose again that Sunday as proof that he is God. If we put our faith in him, not only are our sins forgiven, but we get to experience new life with Jesus (Romans 6:23). We will still experience a physical death due to the effects of sin on our current bodies, but we are promised new bodies unaffected by sin in a world unaffected by sin.

We celebrate Easter because he suffered, died, and rose from the grave victoriously. We celebrate Christmas because he was willing to be born as a man in order to do what was necessary for Easter to occur. Jesus deserves for us to trust him. I pray that God will give you the faith to do so. If you already have faith, then join me as I strive to live my life like him. Look for opportunities during the holidays to serve others in a way that honors Jesus.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5–11, ESV).

Phillip Slaughter
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Mansfield

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