Summary: Christ gives every believer the Holy Spirit who delivers us from the penalty and power of sin, dwells within us to give us a different attitude and destiny, and directs us to intimacy with our Heavenly Father. This is the true Spirit of Christmas.
Just a few days before Christmas one year, a postal worker at one of the main sorting offices found an unstamped, handwritten, messy envelope addressed to God. Curious, he opened it and discovered that it was from an elderly woman who was in great distress because all of her savings – $200 – had been stolen. As a result, she wouldn’t have anything to eat for Christmas.
The man went to his fellow postal workers and took up a collection for the woman. They all dug deep and came up with $180. Putting the money in a plain envelope, with no note or anything, the postal workers sent it by special courier to the woman that very day. A week later, the same postal worker noticed another unstamped letter that had been addressed to God in the same handwriting. In it, he found a brief note:
Dear God, Thank you for the $180 that you sent me for Christmas, which would have been so bleak otherwise. P.S. It was $20 short, but that was probably those thieving workers at the post office. (www.SermonCentral.com)
There are times when it seems we can’t do anything right. People criticize and complain no matter what we do, so a lot of us just give up.
Well, I’ve got good news this Christmas for all of us who believe in Christ. No matter what people say or think, God Himself does not condemn us. On the contrary, God has generously poured out on us His Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Savior (Titus 3:6). The Holy Spirit is Christ’s gift to us this Christmas and all year round; and wow, what a gift He is!
If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Romans 8, Romans 8, where we see just how wonderful it is to have such a gift. Up until now, in the book of Romans, the Holy Spirit has only been mentioned once (in Romans 5:5). But here in Romans 8, He is mentioned 19 times!
Romans 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (NIV)
The Spirit sets us free! When we trust Christ as our Savior…
THE HOLY SPIRIT DELIVERS US.
He liberates us from the law, which could only arouse our sin and then condemn us for it. What a wonderful gift Christ has given us in His Spirit. Now, we are no longer trapped and condemned. Instead, we are free to live and be all that God intended for us to be.
Oswald Chambers once said, “The Spirit of God is always the spirit of liberty; the spirit that is not of God is the spirit of bondage, the spirit of oppression and depression. The Spirit of God convicts vividly and tensely, but He is always the Spirit of liberty. God who made the birds never made birdcages; it is men who make birdcages, and after a while we become cramped and can do nothing but chirp and stand on one leg.” (Oswald Chambers, “The Moral Foundations of Life,” Christianity Today, Vol. 32, no.13)
That’s where a lot of people are today. They feel cramped and trapped, because they are trying so hard to “be good." They are trying so hard to please somebody they know they could never please – whether it’s a parent, a spouse, or a god who is always frowning on them. It’s like they’re trying to be good so Santa Claus will bring them some nice presents. You know how the old song puts it:
You better watch out! You better not cry!
Better not pout, I’m telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town.
He’s making a list and checking it twice;
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.
Santa Claus is coming to town.
He sees you when you’re sleeping.
He knows when you’re awake.
He knows if you’ve been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!
Santa is very performance oriented. You better be good, or else you might just get a lump of coal for Christmas. Well, God is NOT like Santa Claus. God does not base His gifts on our behavior. No! God has already blessed every believer with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). & We live out of the abundance of God’s blessing, not with a need to earn His blessing.
No believer EVER has to fear ANY condemnation whatsoever. That means God will NEVER punish ANY believer for his or her sins, because God has already punished Jesus Christ His Son for our sins. There is no double jeopardy with God. Our sins are already paid for. Jesus paid for them on the cross. So we are absolutely free from the penalty of sin.