“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” (Titus 1:2)
Christmas is a wonderful time. It’s not just the commemoration of an event. It’s also a celebration of a hope—a sure hope. Usually when you use the word “hope,” you talk about something you want to happen, but you aren’t sure that it will. For example, if you don’t like handling domestic fights (and who does?), you may tell your partner at the start of the shift, “I hope we don’t get calls for domestic fights tonight.” You have no way to be sure that you won’t get any domestic fights; you just hope you won’t get any.
Well, the hope of eternal life that the Bible talks about is not like that at all. It’s not a “maybe” hope—“I hope I get to heaven.” God’s promise of eternal life is based on promises that God made, and what God Himself did to give us eternal life. Everyone knows what a promise is. It’s a guarantee that someone makes that he’ll do a certain thing. God made a promise of eternal life. As our verse says, God cannot lie.
Say you promise to take your kids out for ice cream when you get home from work. They’re not sitting at home wondering if you’ll keep your word. No, they’re excited about the promise you made to them! But what if you got home and didn’t take them? They’d be angry, and rightly so. You’d made them a promise, and you didn’t keep it. You lied! For you to break a promise like that would be mean and wrong. Well, how much meaner and more wrong—and dishonest—would it be for God to make a promise of eternal life and not keep it! God made a promise of eternal life, and He always keeps His promises.
God’s first promise of the Saviour was after Adam and Eve sinned. God expelled them from the Garden of Eden, but He also gave them a promise. God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). Jesus would be the seed, or offspring, of the woman who would defeat the devil.
God also repeated this promise many times in various ways in the Old Testament. When God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of animals, it was a preview of Jesus’ death for man’s sin. God also told Abram (later known as Abraham), “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). That was also a promise of the coming Saviour. God’s later command to Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, was not only an obedience test for both of them, but also a preview and a promise of Jesus’ sacrifice for sins. So was Plague #10—the death of the firstborn—in the book of Exodus, when the Hebrews were held in slavery in Egypt. The blood on the doorpost was a preview of Jesus shedding His blood for our sins to keep us from God’s judgment.
Finally, the day of Jesus’ birth came: “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Galatians 4:4). God the Son took on human flesh. We know that it happened because time is divided into BC (before Christ) and AD (anno domini, Latin, “the year of our Lord”). Some people use BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era), but removing the references to Jesus won’t change the facts about Him.
Jesus promised that He’d die for sins, be buried, and rise again, and He kept all these. He also promised that anyone who’d receive Him as Saviour would be eternally forgiven of sins and have a home in heaven: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47). This promise is for anyone who will accept it by receiving Jesus as personal Saviour. That’s what Christmas is really all about: knowing Jesus as Saviour and rejoicing in His promises.
If you want to know how to accept God’s promise by receiving Jesus as Saviour, please click “Helpful Links” on the top menu and then “How Do I Go to Heaven?” on the dropdown.
Brian Miller 12/21/2016
Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216.671.2822