by Ricky Chelette, Executive Director
No one likes to admit their faults or their weaknesses. In fact, most of us spend inordinate amounts of time trying to hide anything we perceive as less than the perceived standard we, or our culture, create in our minds. But experiential reality would quickly correct our thinking. Simple observation of humanity and its plight throughout history would indicate we are indeed flawed. We are captivated by personal advancement and innate selfishness that, by its very object, diminishes the advancement and flourishing of others. Observing little children at play will quickly show we are not altruistic creatures, but self-seekers and power-grabbers, positioning to advance ourselves at the expense of others. We seek our own glory and eagerly displace the glory of others and God. In simple terms, we are sinners.
We don’t like to admit that we sin. In fact, it seems our modern world goes to great lengths to justify our sin and our personal responsibility for it with ingenious and often psychologically reasoned blame-shifting. We cite early childhood depravations, woundings, abuse, lack of attachments, bullying, marginalization, and the list goes on and on. No doubt such things cause hurts, wounds, and hang-ups in our lives, but the core of our problem is not the wounds of others or even ourselves. Our problem is SIN.
The mere mention of the word brings disdain to the face of many moderns. We don’t like its archaic moorings, its ties to religion, or its insistence that we are less than we were created to be. We are troubled we can’t seem to prevent its allure and ultimately its seduction. We somehow believe if we say we are okay long enough and loud enough, we will be. But we are not. We are sinners.
According to Scripture, our sinfulness began soon after we did, in the garden – in that utopian environment created for human flourishing (Gen 3). Romans 5:12 puts it this way, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” And in 3:23 it says, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” The Bible seems to be clear about the sinfulness of humanity. It agrees with what we can readily observe.
This is why Christmas is so important. You see without a deep sense of our own sinfulness, Christmas has no real meaning. We should celebrate Christmas not because of presents and eggnog, or beautifully decorations and brightly lit trees, but because God provided for mankind what we could not provide for ourselves – a Savior, Christ Jesus our Lord!
Therefore, the Gospel writers herald good news when they write, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:21). Luke tells us that the One born was a fulfillment of the One promised in Isaiah 53, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). And John reports in 4:42, “we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” A Savior indicates the innate need to be saved from something and that something is the grip of sin. We are sinners in need of a Savior.
This Christmas we need to embrace the reality of our sinfulness for in owning our sin, we realize our desperate need for a Savior. “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Rom 5:19). Jesus has entered the human predicament to be what humans could not be, sinless, and therefore qualify to take on our sin so we might be made right with God (2 Cor 5:21).
As we gather around the tree, the presents, and the family meals, my prayer is that we will thank God that He did not leave us in our sin, but provided a Savior. I pray that we will embrace the reality of our sinfulness and know that our only hope is in Him. I pray we will fully understand that sin needs Christmas because we need a Savior.
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim 1:10).