Summary: To think beyond the temporal gifts that we recieve, to recognizing the greatest gift given to mankind.
OUR HOPE FOR THE SEASON
My brothers and my sisters we are now into a season in which we will find some kind of hope or another. Sadly to say that most of the hope we find is temporal at best. There is the hope of gift receiving, the hope of family gatherings, and the hope of finding joy, peace and good will toward all men. But once all the gifts had been given and the wrapping paper and Christmas decorations are all put away, we revert back to the way things are. I recall as a child that this season always begins with me becoming the model child. I did what I was told immediately. My room at least my side of the room was spotless, and there was this effort to be the best that I could be. Even at church I wanted to be in everything just in case someone wanted to convince my parents that I was a great kid. I recognized that this season of hope was worth waiting for. But with all the hope that I had, I can never remember when that hope was unfulfilled, that is not to say that I got everything that I wanted, but I was thankful because I had something new under the Christmas tree, and I never gave it much thought that someone somewhere might not have a small amount of what I got, neither did I think of the greater hope, the Hope of Glory, I could have received. So many of us wrap our hope in the things that are short lived at best, instead of wrapping our hope into the things that are eternal. But the thing that make the Christmas season so special is that everyone starts out with the same hope. And this year will be no different from others.
First of all in verse 1our text starts out with . . .
1. A GIFT OF ITS OWN (V 1)
“Therefore being justified by faith,”
Paul in the text speaks of some precious gifts that only the Lord can give. The reason we give people gifts is because we like them or because they gave us one. But Christ goes one step further, He does not give us gifts for the same reasons we give gifts, He gives them to us because He loves us. The eighth verse proves this, it says “But God commended His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. So, the Lord gives us gifts of justification and peace, gifts of grace and hopes and unlike the gift that we hope to find under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning, we can have these gifts throughout the year, and they are found under a tree called the cross. The Apostle Paul wrote, “therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The word justification is an interesting word. It is the judicial act of God, by which he pardons all the sins of those who believe in His Son who died on the cross to settled all our sin accounts. What justification does is, it presents us in the Father’ eyes as being perfect. For instance, I remember some time ago I got Alonzo a radio controlled formula one racing car, it wasn’t a Christmas gift or anything it was a Daddy gift. He was maybe 4 or 5 years old and in fact he still has that car. But when I got us the car the instructions call for charging the batteries for twelve hours. But Alonzo wanted to play with it right away and after so many hours the car would run but not the way I thought it should, but to Alonzo it was perfect. That is the way the Lord is with us although we are not fully charged in Scriptures and not fully charged in the way we walk before Him, and still some have some walking problems, but because we have the Son and the Son justified us, thus, the Father sees us as perfect, as the world sees us just like I saw the car as imperfect. This is why we should know how important it is to have faith, because if our faith would allow us to believe that we are justified then we will be justified not because we deserve to be justified, but because we’ve been justified by faith.
Secondly, verse 1b shows us that we can have . . .
2. PEACE WITH GOD FOR THE SEASON(v 1b)
“we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”:
The second gift that we will receive is our peace. During the season we worry ourselves about what to get certain people and when we get it then we worry about paying for it. It appears that the peace we seek outside of seeking the peace of the Lord, is a peace that seems to elude us. One moment it is there, the next it is disturbed. In fact we have this habit of finding our own version of peace. Some find peace in getting revenge, some find peace in telling people off, and even the nations of this world talk peace to end wars, but as soon as world peace is obtained by warring countries, war would break out in another, I tell you peace as the world knows it is very elusive. But God can give you peace in the midst of a war, and if we have the peace of God it would cause us to follow peace with all men. You see the peace of God can give you peace in the midst of what you are going through. If you are having family problems, He’ll give you peace to wait on Him; if you receive a pink slip, He’ll give you peace to believe that there is something better coming your way; if you are worried about that wayward boy or girl, God can give you peace, if you turn them over to Him. We hear people saying that the Lord is a heavy load bearer, and I will be the first to agree with that, but you have to first give your problems to the Lord, He and only He can work it out. But if the truth be told, we have this habit of almost giving God our problems. If you would ask someone about a problem that they might be having, their response would be, “I turned it over to Jesus.” Now my question is if you turned it over to Jesus, why is it still surfacing as a problem? You see what we’ll say is, “Jesus, I place this problem into your hands,” and before the day is done and because the Lord did not move when you thought He should, we’ll take the problem back and trying to handle it yourself. So, if you want the peace of God you need to trust God in all things.