For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
The Grace of God Appeared
“Words, words, words! I’m so sick of words!” Eliza Doolittle exploded in exasperation at the incessant wooing of a suitor in the musical, My Fair Lady. “Don’t talk of stars burning above. If you’re in love, show me!” Do you know someone who is all talk and no action? All of a person’s promises and beautiful words are meaningless if they don’t follow through.
At the beginning of the world, when our first parents disobeyed and brought death’s curse on our race, God made them a promise. The “Seed of the woman” would undo Satan’s evil work. God repeated and expanded on that promise through his prophets and priests, inspiring his people to patiently wait for a coming Savior. Some gave up hope. And even those who trusted in God still asked in their desperation, when will you send your Servant? When will you free us from sin and death?
On Christmas, we celebrate the historical fact that God was true to his word. In the person of Jesus Christ, the grace of God has appeared, visibly, powerfully, to save us. Despite our unworthiness, the eternal Son of God redeemed mankind from the curse of sin through his perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection. We read about these actions of love and their gracious results in God’s Word, but they are not merely words. The Holy Spirit works powerfully through the words of the Bible to bring us to repentance and to work in us the fruits of faith.
While we wait for Christ’s return on the last day, will we give him empty lip-service on this holy day? Or will we offer our lives in service to him, who was born to die for us?
Let us all with gladsome voice praise the God of heaven, who to bid our hearts rejoice, his own Son has given. Amen.