1. What It Was Not
It was not SIN!
As a pastor who labors to point people to Jesus each week, I stress the point that we are sinners in need of a Savior.
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6)
Adam and Eve were the federal heads of our humanity, perfectly created by God for this privilege. When they fell, we fell, making all of humanity sinners in desperate need of a Savior. But sin could not have been the primary “Why” of Advent, because sin was already in the world.
In Isaiah’s and Ezekiel’s references to the kings of Babylon and Tyre, we see the fall symbolically described . . . and we also see references to the spiritual power behind those kings: Satan.
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14)
You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. (Ezekiel 28:15-17)
Here we are given a glimpse behind the veil of heaven, where we see the fall of Lucifer and the sin that was in this world before the first sin of man. Jesus confirmed this in Luke 10:18, when He said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
If sin was “The Why Of Advent,” God would have sent Jesus to redeem the fallen angels. But that was not the purpose for His coming, as the writer of Hebrews confirms.
Surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:16-18)
So, if sin is not “The Why Of Advent,” what was it?
2. What It Was
God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
God came after fallen and sinful man, and the reason is located in the heart of God and His love for man: a special love . . . a redeeming love . . . a love purchased by His beloved Son on a cross so that we could be the spouse of the Son—the bride of the Bridegroom.
And that is why everything works toward your salvation. God so loved you that, if you have trusted in Christ’s redeeming work on your behalf, God is working every circumstance of life (the good, the bad, and the ugly) for your eternal good (Romans 8:28).
May this truth of God’s amazing love for you bring you glad tidings of great joy this Christmas season and all the days God gives to you!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!