Summary: Salvation is an event and a process through which God intervenes to remove the penalty for our sin and draws us into intimacy with Him by His grace and mercy.
GLOW – God’s Gift of Grace
A children’s ministry was putting on a Christmas Pageant about Mary/Joseph coming to the inn. One boy, who really wanted to be Joseph, was quite unhappy when he was given the part of the innkeeper. To make matters worse, his biggest rival got the part he wanted. So during rehearsal, he thought of how he could sabotage his rival. So at the performance, when Mary/Joseph knocked on the door to the inn, he opened the door and asked what they wanted. Joseph said, “We’d like to have a room for the night.” Suddenly the innkeeper threw open the door and said, “Great, come on in. I’m going to give you the best room in the house!” Stunned, poor little Joseph didn’t know what to do, but thinking quick on his feet, he poked his head into the room and exclaimed, “No wife of mine is going to stay in a dump like this. Come on Mary, let’s go to the barn!”
Have you ever noticed how quickly we can get caught up into our wants and miss the point of Christmas?
I read a story of a girl who realized her parents had gotten lost in the Christmas shuffle. Dad was consumed w/ work and year-end details while mom was preoccupied w/ parties and presents. So one night at bedtime she knelt and prayed – Our Father, who art in heaven – forgive us our Christmases as we forgive those who Christmas against us.
Karl Barth was one of the more brilliant/complex thinkers of the 20th century who’s credited w/ many thought-provoking and profound writings concerning life/faith. On one occasion when he was visiting the U.S., a student at a theological seminary asked, "Dr. Barth, what is the greatest thought to have ever crossed your mind?” W/ everyone on edge to hear what he’d say – after a long, contemplative pause – Barth said, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."
Christmas is about God’s love for you and me. It is about God stepping into time/space to rescue us from our sin.
Such a statement is founded on what is easily the most recognized and quoted verse in the Bible – John 3:16. (Say) This verse is about one thing – our need for salvation and God’s single provision to save us – Jesus!
A few weeks ago we began a study in 1st Peter entitled – GLOW. When something glows it emits or reflects a steady radiance of light. We learn in 1st Peter that as Christians, we’re called to GLOW by reflecting the steady radiance of Christ in us to our world.
In 1 Peter 1, Peter has been focusing on the one thing that should cause us to GLOW – a life that’s been transformed by the grace of God in salvation! So far we’ve learned that in salvation we’ve been chosen by the Father, changed by the H.S., and cleansed by the Son.
Today, in light of the Christmas season and the advent of Christ, I want to continue our discussion on God’s great and life-changing gift of grace found in Jesus Christ.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and w/ the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the H.S. sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. 1 Peter 1:10-12
salvation (soterion) means deliverance from sin’s penalty.
B/c we all are born into a sinful condition, we all need to be saved (rescued) – we all need salvation b/c we’re sinners by nature and by choice. The interesting thing about salvation is that no one can save themselves – it requires the intervention of an outside Source. Salvation is an event and a process thru which God intervenes to remove the penalty for our sin and draws us into intimacy w/ Him by His grace/mercy.
But this salvation didn’t just happen – it was predicted by the prophets of God long before the Savior arrived.
The theme of the Bible is – salvation through Jesus. One message in 66 books, over 1,400 yrs, written by God thru human agents under the influence of the H.S. – all written w/ an amazing unity/continuity from Genesis to Revelation. As one read the O.T. and N.T., they’ll quickly discover that these writings go together to explain a Divine plan of redemption. The new is in the old contained; and the old is the new explained.