Jesus stated His purpose for His first coming in Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” I pray that we will remember this today as we celebrate Christmas.
The question I want to ask is what is “that which was lost?” Paul answers this question very clearly in the epistle to the Romans. In Romans 3:10 he tells us “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” and in Romans 3:23 he says “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” In Isaiah 64:6 we are told “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” From these, and many other passages, we learn that “that which is lost” is all of humanity.
Jesus also told us who He came to call to repentance in Luke 5:32 “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” From what we have already seen there are none who are righteous so He came to call all to repentance. There are those, however, who do not hear the call because they, like the scribes and pharisees of of Jesus’ days, see themselves as righteous.
When Jesus says He did not come to call the righteous to repentance, he was saying that the call is only to those who understand their sinful condition. Those who think they are righteous may hear the call with their ears, but they will not hear it with their hearts. They will, in some way, say that is for that sinner over their, but not for me.
In Luke 18:10-14 Jesus gives us a parable which shows this principle. “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
The Pharisee thought he was righteous before God. There was no conviction of sin seen in anything he said. Note that he “prayed thus with himself.” This showed with whom he was communing. He was talking to himself even though he referred to God. The prayer was all about him and the “good things” he had done. He was full of himself and with self-righteousness.
The publican, on the other hand, saw himself as a sinner and came to God with a broken and contrite spirit. He was so ashamed of his sin that he would not even look up to God. He knew he needed God’s mercy and that he was unworthy to even receive that.
As we celebrate this Christmas let us examine ourselves to see which of the two we are most like. Do we think that we are better than others and more deserving of God’s grace than others, or do we see our unworthiness and need of God’s grace.
The greatest gift of Christmastime is the grace of God offered to all of mankind. In all of the hustle and bustle of the season have you reflected on the purpose for Christ’s coming? Have you received the grace of God, offered in His Son whose birth we celebrate, and received by simple faith, without works? (Ephesians 2:8-9). If you have, have you been especially thankful to Him at this time of the year, and have you shown your thankfulness by living a life that honors Him and draws others to Him?
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF YOU
Copyright 2017 Pierre Coovert, All rights reserved