Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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December 12 – Free From Condemnation – The Real Gift Of Christmas

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”  Romans 8:1-4

Devotional Thought For The Day

The apostle reminds us of the blessings that are ours because of the coming of “His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.” This is what we are preparing to celebrate once again. Note that “His Son” is the eternal Son of the Father, through Whom all things were created and Who upholds the universe by His Word of power. [Heb. 1:1-3,10] Note also that in this way God could “condemn” all human sin “in the flesh,” that is, in the human flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in His suffering and death on the cross.  He became a “curse” for us [Gal. 3:13]; and He became “sin” for us [2 Cor. 5:21].  This is almost too deep for us to contemplate!  It is a marvel – the wonder of His love for us! This is the rich, deep meaning of the joy of Christmas!

He came in the “likeness” of “sinful flesh” – “He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.” [Heb. 4:15]  He had no “sinful flesh” of His own, but came in human flesh that was subject to all the temptations that we face – He lived a perfect life of righteousness and conquered in every temptation, and now His righteousness is our own, accounted to us by faith alone.  When God looks at us He sees that all of our sins are completely and fully washed away in the blood of His own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and that we have perfect and complete righteousness, full compliance to and fulfillment of all of God’s Law – for He sees only Christ’s righteousness which covers us [“for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Gal. 3:17  This is the real effect and blessedness of Christian baptism.  So Peter writes: “baptism now saves you.” 1 Pet. 3:21]

He “condemned sin in the flesh.”  Jesus came as the “substitute” for all of humanity, every human being included, under God’s justice.  All of the guilt and condemnation that sinful flesh had incurred, and ever will incur, all of this was accounted to Jesus, condemned in the flesh of Jesus, and fully paid for in Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross [“it is finished.” John 19:30].  These are not mere pious “thoughts,” some “narrative” [mythical story] invented to bring us some “hope” or “optimism,” and to create a new religion!  These are historical facts, and Divine facts in real human history, and they are the reality of our standing with God.  All of this is momentous for us – “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Others may “condemn” us; the devil may “condemn” us; our conscience may condemn us; the world [those outside of faith in Christ Jesus] may consider us insane and absurd.  All of these have no standing and are passing away; God is eternal and He shall stand in the end, and His judgment is all that matters.  And His judgment in Christ Jesus is clear and plain, and real!

This is the freedom that we live in – new and fresh every day.  It is in this freedom alone that He is able to fulfill “the righteous requirement of the law” in us.  Note carefully the syntax, the subject, the object, the verb.  God is the principle “actor,” the cause of all of this blessedness, our redemption and justification, and also our sanctification and renewal in righteousness.  We are “passive” as to the cause; we are “active” in regard to the consequence.  Those who know and believe this love of God for us in Christ Jesus now “walk according to the Spirit,” in freedom, the freedom of commitment to and orientation toward God and good.  Yes, we also now “walk” this way – not by our own power, but by the power of God’s salvation and His love for us, by the power of Christ’s redemption, our sin having been already “condemned” and dealt with fully, finally, “once and for all” [Heb. 7:27; 9:12], and completely in His flesh, in His suffering and death on the cross.

This sets us free – and it is God’s will that we grasp this freedom, rejoice in this freedom, praise Him endlessly in this freedom, and “walk” [live our lives] in this freedom!  We are “freed” from “the law of sin and death” because of the incarnation of Christ – which we celebrate at Christmas, because God condemned our sin in His flesh.  If we grasp and understand these realities, Christmas becomes much deeper, joyful, and celebratory!  Then a mere “merry Christmas” seems superficial and trivial.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, how difficult it is for us to grasp and allow to sink in all of the wonders and glory of Your love for us.  There are many even within the church who deny these things, and the world is completely ignorant of and rejecting of Your salvation.  Open our hearts and minds to the glories of Your work of redemption for us.  Fill us with joy and thanksgiving, that we may walk freely according to Your Spirit, having been freed from all condemnation.  Amen.