Summary: Looking back on 2004, have you received one blessing after another? God would say, "yes!"
I just read the other day how a man walked into a homeless shelter and started giving away $100 bills. He gave away a total of $35,000. Apparently, he had been homeless at one time in his life, and now he just wanted to give away some joy during the Christmas season. Nobody there deserved that money. That man just wanted to give it away. In a way, that’s how God describes himself in the Bible – he is overflowing with a desire to give you blessings – and these are grace-blessings, undeserved blessings. You and I are the people living in the homeless shelter, and God is giving us one blessing after another. That is the fullness of God’s grace.
Let me ask you this – during the Christmas season, does everyone in the world get everything they want? No. In fact, there are some people who walk away from Christmas empty-handed, because things just didn’t work out for them as they would have liked. TV makes it look like everyone lives happily ever after at Christmastime. But in the real world, there are a lot of people who get absolutely nothing.
But that’s not what happens when God blesses his people. No one is left out. According to the Bible, there is no such thing as a Christian who has not been thoroughly blessed by God. And you can get that from this passage, from one little word – do you see it there in verse 16? What does it say there? From the fullness of his grace we have ALL received one blessing after another. All of us receive a ton of blessings from God. No one is left out.
A few months ago, all you heard about was the flu vaccine, and how there was a big shortage. Every day, you heard about how not everyone was going to get the flu vaccine – only certain people – and if you don’t get that vaccine, then you are in big trouble. Maybe if you stand in line, you’ll get lucky and get the vaccine. But not everyone can get it.
God doesn’t hand out his blessings that way. Everyone gets blessed. And every Christian gets a “death vaccine.” Do you know what that means? Have you really been vaccined against death? The Biblical answer is yes. Because of sin, death was supposed to be a terrible thing. Once you die, you were supposed to stay dead forever. And your soul was supposed to go to hell, where you would be punished for all of your sins forever. That’s what was supposed to happen at death.
But on Christmas, Christ came into our world, and he brought with him the “death vaccine.” Instead of you being punished for your sins, Christ is punished instead, as your substitute, in your place. Instead of you going to hell, you go to heaven, because of Jesus. And instead of your body staying dead forever, on the last day, Christ promises to raise your body from the dead, and create a brand new world for you to live in. For a Christian, death is not something you need to be terrified of. Everyone who believes in Christ receives this “vaccine” against eternal death and punishment, and it’s called “the forgiveness of sins.” You get an extra dose of that vaccine every time you hear God’s Word and take the Lord’s Supper.