Thursday, December 16, 2010

Righteousness and Peace Have Kissed...

Psalms 85:10 says,

"Mercy and truth have met together;

Righteousness and peace have kissed."

We see this fulfillment in the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, our Savior. Yes, it is the celebration of His birth, and with it the beginning of the fulfillment of this scripture. Righteousness represents the law which was never meant to be more than our "schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ," (Gal 3:2) but Peace is representative of the grace and mercy which Christ brings.

Imagine two separate worlds, one where we as sinners live, the other as Heaven where God abides. Now, Imagine the cross joining these two worlds with Christ's death and resurrection. Remember the Holy of Holies in the temple? Only a few, privileged priests were allowed into this sanctuary with the presence of God Himself. But, Christ bridged the gap, as we read in Mark 15:38, making a way for us to enter! The veil was torn asunder and the way was made for us to "cross over."

While we celebrate Christ's birth with all the beautiful lights, gifts and spectacular musical tributes, let's not forget the reason that Jesus came. He came to bring together sinners with the sinless King of Kings; He came so that righteousness and truth might come together in perfect harmony; He came so that the law might be fulfilled. The fulfillment of the law meant a perfect sacrifice must be made for sins. Christ fulfilled that righteous requirement perfectly when He bore sins' penalty on the cross. He also fulfilled the need for grace, peace and mercy. How desperately we need that! By paying for our sins, He has brought all of the grace, peace and mercy we need.

In John 1:14, 16-17, we read of this amazing phenomenon... "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth…And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."

No wonder the angels sang that night! No wonder the shepherds "came with haste" to the manger of the newborn king! No wonder we love Christmas! For indeed, righteousness and peace have come together...the gulf is gone!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Women in the Line of Christ

Have you ever wondered about the four women other than Mary, mentioned in Christ's lineage in Matthew 1? Two of them were prostitutes, one was a Moabitess, and the other was an adulteress. When we consider these four women in the line of Jesus, we should never doubt that God can use anyone regardless of their past!

First, there was Tamar whom we read about in Genesis 38. She became a childless widow after she married Judah's oldest son and he passed away.
Judah, her father-in-law, did not keep his promise to find her a replacement husband by giving her to his second son, so she took matters into her own hand and "played the harlot" with her own father-in-law! In due time, she bore twin sons, Perez and Zerah. Through the family line of Perez, we have our Savior, Jesus Christ.

In Joshua chapters two and six, we read of Rahab who hid the spies. She was not only a harlot, but also was not Jewish. She saved her whole family when the wall of Jericho fell, and she became the wife of Salmon and their son was Boaz, which brings us to Boaz's wife, Ruth. She came from the land of Moab whose people descended from the incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughter. She was not one of the chosen people through birth, but was grafted in when she proclaimed that she would follow the true God of Israel. We read her remarkable account in the book which bears her name. She became a widow when her husband, Naomi's son died and followed her mother-in-law, back to Israel and became a part of God's chosen people.

And finally, we come to Bathsheba. Perhaps we all know this account in II Samuel chapters 11-12. Here we see King David lusting after a woman who was another man's wife. Their immoral relationship brought about the birth of a child that died as God's judgment was upon them. But, God was gracious and later gave them Solomon from whose line, Christ came.

Who would've thought that Christ would have such "mothers?" We are tempted to dismiss such women as too tainted by sin to be much of anything. How often in society, these women are shunned or their children are looked down on. This in no way excuses their sin, for the Bible is clear regarding purity. Yet, we must remember that Christ came to bring forgiveness and cleansing to even the most vile.

For we read Christ's own words in Matthew 18:11, "For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost." No one is too far gone for Him!

Are you feeling lost? Do you feel your past is tainted with some sin too ugly to imagine Christ forgiving you? Then, look at those whom He included in His own family! Surely, there is a message of forgiveness and redemption to be found here. Will you trust Him, the babe in the manger with all of your past, sins and all? He is waiting for you!