It’s today! The day when the western world celebrates the birth of our Saviour (at least in theory). Today I want to shout it loud:
There you go .. I feel better now. So, back to today’s blog. This is the twelfth post in a series through Pauls first letter to Timothy and today I want to keep things brief and write very quickly about what makes today (Christmas day for those of you reading this at a later date) so special. Here’s what Paul says:
16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16
Here I want to highlight 6 things that Paul writes about Christmas Day but before we get to them there is this little phrase I just want to unpack:
16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness
The term godliness is used 9 times in this letter and it simply means to have a life centred around God. Sounds simple but of course, the practice of it is much more difficult. In a nutshell, Paul has already said in verse 15 that we should behave as the household of God, now he says that we do this by making much of Jesus. The mystery of godliness then is how God makes much of Jesus .. and this is how …
- JESUS WAS GOD COME TO US. He was “God .. manifested in the flesh”. This is the incarnation that we’ve been talking about on Sunday’s mornings. Jesus was 100% God and 100% man – and was thus manifested in the flesh.
- JESUS WAS ALWAYS RIGHTEOUS. He was “vindicated by the Spirit” – declared to be, by the Holy Spirit, what He always was – completely justified before the Father (1 Peter 3:18; Acts 2:32-33)
- JESUS WAS A WONDER. He was “seen by angels” – just as the birth of Jesus was announced by angels (Mark 1:13), His death was announced by angels (Luke 22:41-43), His resurrection was announced by angels (Matthew 28:2-7) and His ascension was also announced by angels (Acts 1:10-11).
“The Godhead was seen in Christ by angels, as they had never seen it before. They had beheld the attribute of justice, they had seen the attribute of power, they had marked the attribute of wisdom, and seen the Prerogative of sovereignty; but never had angels seen love, and condescension, and tenderness, and pity, in God as they saw these things resplendent in the person and the life of Christ.” (Spurgeon)
4. JESUS TRANSFORMED THE WORLD. He was “proclaimed among the nations”. People encountered the truth of the gospel and lives changed, cultures changed.
5. JESUS IS STILL WORKING TODAY. He is “believed on in the world”. Today is the day of Salvation says Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:2. He is the Saviour of the World. Right now, people all over the world are believing in His name and experiencing salvation from the penalty of sin. Be encouraged Christian! God is still saving people today!
6. JESUS IS ALIVE. He was “taken up in glory” – Jesus finished the work on our behalf (Hebrews 1:3) and is now present interceding for us (1 John 2:1).