First Baptists Church
of Granite Shoals

A Beacon of God's Love in Central Texas

Pastor & Deacons' Blog

"The Miracle of Christmas and The Miracle of Salvation!"


Written by Bro. Danny L Malcolm   
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 17:41
Christmas is a very special time of the year.  There is love, joy, hope, and excitement in the air.  It is a time of feverish preparation and intense anticipation.  With nearly everyone, it is a time of focus on family and friends.  It seems to be the time of year that nearly everyone believes in the mysterious and the miraculous.  Can you imagine what that first Christmas must have been like?  The angel Gabriel sent by God came to the city of Nazareth, and there he appeared before a young girl named Mary.  That appearance, a miracle in itself, set in motion the Miracle of Christmas.
Gabriel told Mary that she was favored by God and had been chosen to be the mother of His Son, the Messiah.  Mary's heart must have raced and her mind must have been confused as she tried to make sense of what she had just heard.  "Highly favored (one)".  She knew she was a simple common girl and had done nothing to deserve God's favor.  "Thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus!"  She knew that what the angel proposed was a verifiable impossibility.

She was a young girl, but she knew that babies were not born of virgins.  She knew that a man had to be involved and though she was betrothed, she was still a virgin.  Her response, "How shall this be...?", was legitimate.  This was impossible!  Gabriel admitted as much in verse 37.  He gently reminded Mary of God"s power.  God had the power to suspend natural law and do the impossible.  He had already allowed Elizabeth (Mary's cousin) to conceive, even though she was an older, barren woman.
The two biggest words in the Bible are "but God".  This may have been an impossibility with men, but God can do what is impossible.  Nothing is beyond the realm of what He can do.  Gabriel explained that God would work supernaturally in her life and body through His Holy Spirit and cause her to conceive.  "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall over-shadow thee:  therefore also that Holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God!"  Mary believed this.  In faith and surrender to the will of the miracle working God, she said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."  She knew at least a little of what that surrender would mean, but surrendered nonetheless.
The Miracle of Christmas is the miracle of the virgin birth.  This is one of the foundational truths in our understanding of who Jesus is.  Without this everything else that is said about Him would be a lie.  He is the God/Man.  As much God as if He is not man at all and as much man as if He is not God at all--100% God and 100% man.  The Gospels continually show us the intersection of the human and the divine in His life.  If He was going to be "mediator....between God and man", He had to be both God and man.  He had to be able to touch both and bring them together in Himself.  Without the miracle of the virgin birth, there would have been no other miracle.  The dead would not have been raised.  The sick would not have been healed.  The multitudes would not have been fed.  If Jesus is not virgin born we have nothing to believe--He is just a man like we are just men.  But He is virgin born!  We do have something to believe!  He is our Salvation!
The Miracle of Christmas opens the door to another miracle--The Miracle of Salvation!  Salvation is a miracle because salvation itself is an impossibility for man.  In Mark 10, Jesus dealt with the rich man.  After the rich man chose his wealth and went away, Jesus said, "How hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter in the Kingdom of God!"  He was not talking about something difficult, but something impossible!  The disciples were confused because they thought riches were a sign of God's favor.  They asked, "Who then can be saved?"  Jesus responded by saying, "With men it is impossible, but not with God:  for with God all things are possible!"  He declared salvation to be impossible with man.  In addition, in John 6:44, Jesus said, "No man can come to me......!", again declaring salvation to be impossible with man.  In both cases, though, He added the "but God"!  He can do the impossible!  He can perform the Miracle of Salvation!
The Apostle Paul described salvation in Ephesians 2:1-10.  He said, "And you.......who were dead in trespasses and sins..!"  He showed how men are under the control of the devil.  He laid out the hopelessness of our situation.  We were lost and could do nothing about it.  We were spiritually dead!  Then he added the "but God", and "For by grace (unmerited favor) are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God!..."
The Miracle of Salvation is patterned after the Miracle of Christmas:
At Christmas the miracle is Incarnation--at Salvation the miracle is transformation.
At Christmas God became the Son of Man--at Salvation man becomes the son of God.
At Christmas He was born of Mary--at Salvation we are born of Him.
Like Mary "we have this treasure in earthen vessels":
At Christmas He came to live in the womb--at Salvation He comes to live in the heart.
At Christmas He was physically formed in Mary--at Salvation He is spiritually formed in us.
At Christmas He became like us--at Salvation we become like Him.
At Christmas God showed Mary unmerited favor--at Salvation God shows us unmerited favor.
At Christmas Mary died to herself, "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord...."--at Salvation we die to ourselves, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
The Miracle of Salvation is the Mystical Aspect of our Faith.  It is the Mystery of the Christian life.  What happened in the womb of Mary is to happen in the heart of every child of God.  Christ is to be formed and is to come forth.  This is God's predetermination, "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son..."  Paul described his concern for the Galatian Christians by saying, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you."  As Christians we are in union with Christ.  We become one with Him.  He comes to live in us.  He comes to live through us.  Our life becomes His life.  His life becomes our life.  He is our life!
This union with Him is to be so complete that "the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body....that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh."  Each of us must be able to say with Paul, "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."  We live no longer for this realm as we follow Paul's admonition "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God....Christ, who is our life..."  This Salvation union with Christ presents itself before the world as we "walk, even as He walked" to the point that "as He is, so are we in this world."
Our mystical union with Christ--His living in and through us--enabled Him to pray "As Thou hast sent me into the world, even so I also sent them into the world.'  It then enabled Him to declare, "as the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you."  How was Jesus sent?  How are we sent?  In speaking of Himself He said:
"I can of mine own self do nothing....because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."
"My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work."
"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
"For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."
"Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many."
"To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth."
That is why He came.  That is why we are to go.  Let us with Paul, "apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus."
The Miracle of Salvation is that I was the child of the devil, but now I am the child of God.  I used to live in "the power of darkness". but now I have been "translated..into the Kingdom of His dear Son."  I have become "a new creature:  old things are passed away; behold all things are become new."  The babe in the womb of the virgin has become the Lord and King, the Savior, living in my heart!  Praise God!  Thanksgiving and Glory to Him from which we have gained the Miracle of Christmas and the Miracle of Salvation!  He Is The Living Lord!

(Ref:  I Timothy 2:5; Mark 10:17-27; II Corinthians 4:7-11; 5:17; Luke 9:23, 56; 19:10; Romans 8:29; Galatians 2:20; 4:19; Colossians 1:13, 14; 3:1-4; I John 2:6; 4:17; John 4:34; 5:30; 17:18; 18:37; 20:21; Matthew 20:28; Philippians 3:12)

"How Many Apples Are In A Seed?"



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