I recently received a sweet gift from my “secret sister” at church. It was a cute picture frame, but she went the extra mile and printed an adorable picture of my five grandchildren she likely found on Facebook to go in the frame. I have it sitting across from my desk at home, so I can enjoy it while I work.
Those five sweet faces are quite inspirational. They make me smile and my heart fills up every time I look at that picture. It reminds me to pray for them diligently, as our desire is that they come to know Jesus at a young age and walk with Him faithfully all the days of their lives.
As I think about how innocent they are right now, I’m reminded that there are two things working against them for a happy life. First, they are little sinners. They were born with a fallen nature, and if left to themselves, they will go down a path of rebellion against God (Romans 1). Of course, how much, and what kind of rebellion has a lot to do with what they are taught, what they are exposed to, and the experiences they have, but in and of themselves, they have no hope of becoming good enough to meet God’s standard of righteousness and spend eternity in heaven. Without God’s intervention in their little hearts, their lives might be successful by the world’s standards, but will never fulfill the purpose for which He created them.
Second, we have an enemy. His name is Satan, and he has one goal for my innocent little grandchildren: to steal, kill, and destroy. His desires are in direct opposition to those of Jesus, who came so that they may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10).
We’re on our fifth Christmas gift today, and wow, it’s such good news for me, for you, and for those five precious babies!
Gift #1 – Jesus was born so that we could be born again.
Gift #2 – Jesus walked so that we could worship.
Gift #3 – Jesus spoke so that we could see.
Gift #4 – Jesus suffered so that we could stand.
Gift #5 – Jesus died so that we could die to sin.
1 Peter 2:21-24 – For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
If I could do anything for my grandchildren, it would be to remove all possibility of the grief and pain that sin will cause them. I can’t do that, but Jesus did. Not only did He come to remove the penalty of sin, but He came to remove its power over us!
1 Peter 3:18 – For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.
Romans 5:8-9 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 – He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
In Christ, sin is optional. Because we still live in unredeemed flesh, we have the tendency to sin, but through the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in us, we can choose not to sin. In fact, scripture commands us as believers to make that choice.
Romans 6:1-2 – What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 6:11-14 – Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Jesus died so that we could die to sin.
When we surrender our lives to Christ, He takes away the wages of sin (death) and gives us power over sin so that we can live the abundant life He wants for us.
What a wonderful gift!
When I look at a picture of my five grandchildren twenty (plus) years from now, I pray that I will see the joy and presence of the Holy Spirit in their faces. I pray that God does His redemptive work in their hearts and protects them from the enemy who wants to steal, kill, and destroy all hope and peace and joy that is the inheritance Jesus came to give them.
Oh, my friend, let us never think lightly of the sin we excuse in our own lives because we are “under grace.” Jesus died for that sin, and it is the power of His death that releases us from the consequences and bondage that sin desires for our own souls, and the souls of our children.
I’m so thankful for this gift, and I pray that you have received it, and are walking in victory over sin, because Jesus came.