Monday, December 2, 2013

Micah 7: Christmas is Christ, not Santa Claus

Mic 7:18-20 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. You will be true to Jacob, and show mercy to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our fathers in days long ago.

As I read the prophetic writings over the last few months, I keep reading the same plea and warnings from God to Israel and Judah to turn away from their sins or else face impending judgment. The motivation for God's dire warnings through the prophets is not judgement but mercy. Like when God sent Jonah to Nineveh, He was not wanting them destroyed (that's Jonah's motivation), but hoping that they would repent and return to God and experience His forgiveness and favour again. That is and will always be God's motivation for sending prophets with their repeated messages of doom for the unrepentant.

Micah affirms this attribute of God, that His motivation is mercy, not judgement: "Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgressions of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy" (Micah 7:18). Despite Judah and Israel's spiritual and moral waywardness, God continues to engage them to call them back to the right path. He is faithful to the covenant He made with their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

But today, God has given us a better covenant based on His promise in Christ. God has been calling everyone to repent and return to Him, so that every human, whatever their ethnicity or religious affiliation can experience His favour and grace revealed in Christ. The central message of Christmas is announced by the angels in Luke 2:10-14, "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord...Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

On Christmas Day, God did not start a new religion but a new relationship with His Creation. And we are all invited to participate in this new relationship with God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. We can experience His joy, peace and favour today the moment we confess Jesus Christ as Saviour & Lord. If there is any reader who has not done so, and want a relationship with God through Christ, pray this simple prayer and you will experience His grace today:

Father God, I thank You have sent Your Son Jesus Christ to earth on Christmas day. I thank You that Christ died for my sins so that I can have a relationship with You. I now ask You to forgive me for all my sins (name them) and I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and my Saviour. Come and fill me with Your Spirit. Amen.

That's it! If you have prayed the above prayer for the first time, congratulations! You have just been transferred from Satan's kingdom of darkness into Christ's kingdom of light. In Christ's kingdom, you will experience the joy, peace and favour of God! May your Christmas be blessed!

Father, we thank You that Christmas is about Jesus Christ, not Santa Claus. May Your joy, peace and favour be upon all those who have found their way back to You. Amen.

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