Today is the day that our Savior was born and lived a life incarnate. How do I even think of the Immeasurable and Infinite God, pouring Himself into a human flesh with all its limitations, and living for three decades on this earth? I can’t, it defies the imagination. Even more so, His sacrifice of becoming flesh so He could die for our sins is for all time. He will never go back to being Spirit, but is the once for all sacrifice (Heb 10:10) and will remain glorified flesh forever. (Luke 24:36-43).
|Epiphany, by Giotto, circa 1320|
In His compassion, He seeks you, He draws you, He enlightens your depraved mind (Rom 10:20; John 6:44; Eph 1:18). We are too craven to seek Him on our own (Is 64:6), our hearts are too darkened (Jer 17:9) so instead He draws us to Him. This is another miracle. He seeks us fervently, and in His love, grace, and mercy, He sends the Holy Spirit to draw us to Him.
|And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 2 Peter 1:19|
I look back over my life and I clearly see the stepping stones of His drawing me to Him. The first time I really heard the Gospel was when my Aunt shared with me at age ten. She also told me that there would be a day when Jesus returned for His children and the dead will rise from their graves and the living would be caught away into the air, to be with Him always. I puzzled over the physics of that, spiritually drawn to its inherent truth but unable to understand it cognitively. I liked the story, though and I kept it in my heart.
All through my early adulthood, I attended church at times on Christmas Day, because that’s what you did. The Christmas season held opposing emotions for me, at one side I enjoyed the Christmas Carol “O Come All Ye Faithful”, singing it with gusto. At the other hand, I was insulted by things religious. My freshman Philosophy class at State University was held in a room containing a crucifix on the wall. I hated the crucifix. I stared at it and cursed it, wanting to alert the ACLU that there were state funds being spent in a place that had religion in it. Yet for Christmas break I’d happily drive home, go to church, and sing ‘O Come All Ye Faithful, Come let us adore Him’. Who did I think I was singing about?
I can see so well the work the Spirit did to keep my heart open to His truth, until the day when eventually my salvation met up with the destiny God had known about since the foundation of the world.
He pursues you, too. But here’s the thing: He doesn’t beg and He doesn’t pursue you forever. He stands at the door and knocks (Luke 12:36; Rev 3:20). He doesn’t burst in and He doesn’t capture you. He is polite. He knocks. But He will not strive with man’s spirit forever. (Genesis 6:3). At some point, the point at which He knows that you will not answer the knock, He graciously gives you your heart’s desire: to be left alone in your sin. (Rom 1:24; Rom 1:26; Rom 1:28; Acts 19:9; John 12:40). He withdraws His spirit and gives you over to your sin.
Gen 6:3 says “Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years” and the writer of the Geneva Study Bible explains: “Because man could not by won by God’s leniency and patience by which he tried to win him, he would no longer withhold his vengeance.” Do not be so vain as to think He will chase you forever, pleading with you and begging you to open the door. He won’t.
Do NOT be casual about your salvation! Do not attend church today while ignoring the knocking at your heart of hearts by the Holy Spirit. Do not lead a blessing at Christmas dinner without hearing the Spirit’s call to your salvation. Do not commune in love with family members without acknowledging it was Jesus who gave you the family and He asks you to become part of His. He will not strive with you forever. Today is a perfect day to settle your sin-debt to Him. All you have to do is acknowledge your sins and ask Him to forgive them, and in so doing you acknowledge that He is the Sinless Savior who alone has the power to answer your prayer.
What a merry Christmas it would be for you to allow the Spirit’s pursuit to catch up with you and to fold you into Glory with millions of others who opened the door to His offer of salvation.