Yesterday, my good friend Marco and I went to the High School for lunch. In a forty minute lunch period, there were two fights. The saddest part of this is that both were widely encouraged by the other students. There was cheering, screaming, applauding, and the obligatory phone recordings of the festivities.
That more or less affected my entire day. I was supremely saddened by the fact that there is so much violence in our world, so much hatred. It seeps down into the upcoming generations.
After being present at these events, Marco and I had a conversation about sin and it’s global nature. He made a statement that I will forever steal.
Our sin is the reason for the season.
When we approach the Christmas season, we like to say that “Jesus is the reason for the season”. To an extent this is true, and I’m not intending to split hairs. But we must acknowledge that the reason Jesus had to come in the first place is because of our sin which separates us from God. None of us come away clean, innocent, or pure in the eyes of God.
Although it’s generally not read in any Advent moments, the following passage is worth remembering:
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned – for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one to come. – Romans 5:12-14
There you have it. According to Scripture, the real reason for this Christmas season is the sin that is prevalent in me.
Our sin is the reason for the season.
Adam’s sin has been imputed to all of mankind. Each of us is born into sin. There are many different worldviews present today that teach that mankind is inherently good. The Christian worldview is not one of them. According to Scripture, all have been born into sin. Instead of being inherently good, we are inherently sinful.
We don’t offer courses at our church to teach people to sin against God. Toddlers don’t go through “Deception 101” and “Advanced Selfishness”. It’s wired into them. They are innately broken.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. – Psalm 51:5
David sang about his innate sinfulness. He knew that he was birthed in sin.
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. – Matthew 22:37-38
When I put my life up against this statement of Jesus, I realize just how sinful I am. I don’t love the Lord my God with all that is in me. So if we’re being real, we are way more sinful than we think that we are.
Yes, this is bad news.
That’s also why the good news of the gospel, the good news of Christmas, is good.
You see, the passage out of Romans 5 does not end there on the global nature of sin. It bursts into the glorious light of the gospel.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:15-17
The sin of Adam was imputed to all of mankind. The sin of Adam spread to all of mankind. This is the background of the Christmas story. The shadow of the cross of Christ is on the cradle. The birth of Jesus is ultimately about His eventual death, His sacrifice for our sins.
In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we see two beautiful things happen.
Our sins are put on Christ, and the perfect righteousness of Christ is put on us. Just as all of us are born into sin because of the sin of Adam, so we in Christ are righteous before God the Father because of Christ’s sacrificial death on our behalf.
Y’all, this is beautiful news.
I’ll be honest. Even when I write out this passage from Romans 5, my logical sensibilities are challenged by that final verse. The righteousness of Christ is a free gift. I cannot earn it. Neither can you.
We make our standing before God dependent upon our own actions and abilities, our personal holiness and righteousness. Yet the Bible makes it abundantly clear time and time again that there’s literally nothing I can do to earn what God did for me in sending His Son to die for me. Even my most noble attempts at righteousness are nowhere close to the perfect righteousness and holiness of God.
The world we live in is broken, ravaged by sin. There are wars, there are natural disasters, there is family violence and screaming matches in cafeterias. There doesn’t seem to be much peace anywhere. It is in this space that the message of the gospel can be transformative and tremendously impactful. The light of the gospel shines brightest in darkness.
This Christmas season, reflect. This Christmas season, in the midst of Sunday School parties and family, gifts and egg nog and decorating the house, reflect upon the message of the gospel.
Our sin is the reason for the season. But God the Father sent His Son Jesus to take our place.
In His Name,