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Because Christ Came

By Dr. Charles Stanley

This time of year, church services typically focus on the amazing narrative of Jesus’ humble birth. Unfortunately, this story can become so familiar that we take for granted the miracle of God taking on human flesh and walking among us. We also have difficulty understanding the profound impact Christ’s advent (or coming) had on humanity’s relationship to the Father. Let’s examine just a few benefits we can enjoy because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

1. Complete Assurance of Forgiveness

Under Old Testament law, God prescribed sacrifices and other rituals that would serve as reminders about the seriousness of sin.

  • In what way was the system limited, according to Hebrews 10:1-4?
  • Why do we no longer have to offer animal sacrifices (Heb. 9:11-12; 24-26)?

2. The Guarantee of Eternal Life

First John 5:13 says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (emphasis added).

  • Read 1 John 5:1-13, paying special attention to verses 1-5 and 11-12. What “things” does John mention to help a person know if he or she possesses eternal life?
  • Sum up the analogy Jesus used in John 10:27-29 to indicate the secure nature of our relationship with Him.
  • Even when believers sin, they don’t forfeit eternal life. Why not (Romans 8:1-2; 33-39)?

3. Personal Access to God’s Presence

The Hebrew temple was divided into sections. Only Jewish men were allowed into the inner court; Gentiles and Jewish women were restricted to the outer courts. Access to the Holy of Holies, where the presence of the Lord dwelled, was even more limited.

  • How often did someone enter the Holy of Holies (Heb. 9:6-7)? What rituals had to be observed beforehand?
  • What happened when Christ rose from the dead (Matt. 27:50-51)? Explain the symbolic significance of this event.
  • Read Hebrews 10:19-22. Who is now the high priest for all believers? Why can we approach the throne of God confidently?
  • Reflect on how limited access to the Father would have been under the old covenant, especially for a Gentile or woman. How does this impact your perspective on spending time alone with God?

4. The Indwelling Holy Spirit

Old Testament saints experienced the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit resting on them, often to help in carrying out God’s specific plans. But His presence in their lives was not guaranteed.

  • The first two kings of Israel, Saul and David, both had the Spirit of God rest on them. Why did the Spirit depart from Saul (1 Sam. 15:22-23; 16:14)?
  • Under the New Covenant, what is the requirement for receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, according to Acts 2:38?
  • For believers today, fellowship with God is available all the time. How does 1 Corinthians 6:19 describe the relationship between the Spirit and a follower of Christ?

    The Holy Spirit performs many functions in the life of a believer. He reminds us of Christ’s words (John 14:26), is a deposit guaranteeing eternal life (Eph. 1:13-14), intercedes on our behalf (Rom. 8:26), and equips us to speak the gospel boldly (Acts 4:31). One of the Spirit’s most important functions is that He changes our nature and empowers us to live righteously.

  • Describe the benefit of being a “new creation” in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).

5. Freedom from the Law

Because of the advent of Christ, followers of God no longer have to carry out the rituals described in Exodus and Leviticus. For instance, Christians don’t have to avoid certain foods for spiritual reasons or make animal sacrifices to atone for our sins.

  • The Galatians—mostly Gentile believers—were under pressure from some of the Jewish Christians to follow the old covenant ritual of circumcision. What was Paul’s reminder to them (Gal. 5:1)?
  • List two cautions regarding freedom from the law (Gal. 5:13, 18).
  • Meditate on the fact that you don’t have to follow spiritual rules to earn your salvation (Rom. 3:28). How does that make you feel?

    This doesn’t mean that believers have permission to live unrestrained lives, but that we are now governed internally. The Holy Spirit changes our fundamental nature so we no longer want to sin—we desire to please God with our lives (Jer. 31:31-33).

    Fill your mind with biblical truth and surrender to the Spirit’s leading. He will give you the power to resist sin and accomplish God’s will (Gal. 2:20-21).

  • Do you have questions about how to depend on the Holy Spirit for holy living?

Trust the Lord to reveal the answers to you in His timing.

Prayer: The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus radically changed the way in which humanity can relate to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Express your gratitude to the Father, and ask Him to show you how to meditate on His gifts in the midst of this year’s Christmas festivities.

 

Related Resources

Related Video

An Intimate Look At The Birth Of Jesus

The birth of Jesus is primarily about God's unconditional love for the world. Every year around Christmastime, many believers read the account of Jesus' birth. But perhaps we've forgotten just how important it is. More often than not, we skim over the verses, telling ourselves we already understand them. However, without a deeper, more intimate look at our Savior's birth, we'll miss the truths the Lord wants us to learn and apply to our lives. (Watch An Intimate Look At The Birth Of Jesus.)

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.


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  • December 20, 2012 02:27 PM

    by

    i appreciate Dr. Stanley's sermons. i will even recommend these texts and videos to my students in theology 2 (new testament). God bless, you ministry Dr. Charles Stanley. -Ram/PH
  • December 17, 2012 08:17 AM

    by

    I have been listening to Dr charles comments on Christmas, aND i JUST WANT TO SHARE THE WORDS SO ABLY EXPRESSED WITH OTHERS
  • December 16, 2012 05:18 PM

    by

    all these years i to put emphasis on the birth of Jesus. Thank you pastor Stanley for enlightening us on your message today. What a wonderful service. So now this christmas I will have and read more to my grandchildren about his wonderful fullfilling Love. Brenda
  • December 16, 2012 03:55 PM

    by

    Beautiful devotion! I can't describe it. Praise God for His glory!
  • December 16, 2012 06:26 AM

    by

    This is very important truth ! Without Christ we have death. With Christ we have abundant life !
  • February 26, 2012 04:41 AM

    by Shoulders to Lean On, Inc. B.R.

    Praise the it's a blessing to be able to share the WORD and the Ways of the LORD with others :)
  • February 11, 2012 12:09 PM

    by

    very good content. the showing of verses helps me to see what god meant.

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