As we reflect on Christmas, one of the amazing truths of the story of Jesus is that in Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection, everything we need for relationship with God and righteousness in God’s eyes is accomplished fully. It’s the do-done Christmas difference…
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
10 The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
The truth is, we can do nothing to become acceptable to God in heaven apart from accepting the gift of his son Jesus for us.
While on vacation earlier in December, I met a young man who needed to hear this message. Our faithful cabana boy, Adiel, grew up in America, moving back to Mexico six years ago. I asked him one morning about his faith background. I assumed he would be Catholic as many Mexican people are.
When asked the question, he told me that his mother identifies herself as Christian. Interesting that when asked about his faith, he answered about his Mom. Adiel is watching her life. He is looking for the evidence of her faith in her life. Like most millennials, Adiel needs to see the value and purpose and fruit of faith in order for it to be authentic for him.
Do people see the evidence of my faith in my life? Are those around me, young and old, seeing the authenticity and fruit of my faith? Faith is the assurance of things we hope for, and certainty of things we do not see… (Hebrews 11:1). Do people see that in my life? If not, how meaningful and influential would it be for people to see that evidence of my faith in my life? Would it make a difference in their own faith experience?
Adiel mentioned that he didn’t think he needed religion in order to believe in God. True that. A powerful observation by my astute cabana boy…
I shared with Adiel the do-done difference in the world of faith. Religious people do things to earn favour with God. Some are looking to earn a better fate in reincarnation. Some are looking to appease God for their sins by recitals and acts of generosity. Some hope to earn an after-life in paradise in which they are surrounded by virgins.
Adiel asked me what I believe.
I shared that in contrast to all those religions, true Christianity is focused on what is done: the central truth is that I don’t have to do anything because Jesus has done it all. I cannot earn the favour of God. On the contrary, I rely only and always on the work Jesus did for me on the cross. Jesus earned my favour with God by paying for my sins.
I told Adiel that our relationships with God are through Jesus and are not about rules or rituals or feasts…
Thanks be to God that we are free from the chains of religiosity. And praise God for his son Jesus.