VIDEO His Birth and Our New Birth

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23

His Birth in History. “…that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Jesus Christ was born into this world, not from it. He did not emerge out of history; He came into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human being the human race can boast of— He is a Being for whom the human race can take no credit at all. He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate— God coming into human flesh from outside it. His life is the highest and the holiest entering through the most humble of doors. Our Lord’s birth was an advent— the appearance of God in human form.

His Birth in Me. “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you…” (Galatians 4:19). Just as our Lord came into human history from outside it, He must also come into me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a “Bethlehem” for the Son of God? I cannot enter the realm of the kingdom of God unless I am born again from above by a birth totally unlike physical birth. “You must be born again” (John 3:7). This is not a command, but a fact based on the authority of God. The evidence of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that “Christ is formed” in me. And once “Christ is formed” in me, His nature immediately begins to work through me.

God Evident in the Flesh. This is what is made so profoundly possible for you and for me through the redemption of man by Jesus Christ.

Matthew 1:18-2:23 – Skip Heitzig

Christmas-Card Perfect

Even his own brothers did not believe in him. John 7:5

The Barker family Christmas video was perfect. Three robe-clad shepherds (the family’s young sons) huddled around a fire in a grassy field. Suddenly an angel descended from the hilltop—their big sister, looking resplendent, except for the pink high-top sneakers. As the soundtrack swelled, the shepherds stared skyward in amazement. A trek across a field led them to a real baby—their infant brother in a modern barn. Big sister now played the role of Mary.

Then came the “bonus features,” when their dad let us peek behind the scenes. Whiny kids complained, “I’m cold.” “I have to go to the bathroom right now!” “Can we go home?” “Guys, pay attention,” said their mom more than once. Reality was far from Christmas-card perfect.

It’s easy to view the original Christmas story through the lens of a well-edited final cut. But Jesus’ life was anything but smooth. A jealous Herod tried to kill Him in infancy (Matthew 2:13). Mary and Joseph misunderstood Him (Luke 2:41–50). The world hated Him (John 7:7). For a time, “even his own brothers did not believe in him” (v. 5). His mission led to a grisly death. He did it all to honor His Father and rescue us.

The Barkers’ video ended with these words of Jesus: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (14:6). That’s a reality we can live with—forever.

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

How do you try to appear to be perfect? How can you better acknowledge your need for Jesus’ perfect strength?

Father, thank You for sending Your Son to provide a way for me to be reconciled to You forever.

God With Man

I dwell in the high and holy place and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit … — Isaiah 57:15

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us ” (John 1:14). The Greek word used here means He “tabernacled” among us, even as the tabernacle was among the Jews. God dwelt in the visible presence of the Shekinah Glory between the cherubim over the Mercy Seat. In Jesus Christ, God has come and we beheld His glory—the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.

John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). And that Word, which was God, became flesh. “All things were created through Him, and without Him nothing was created that was created” (John 1:3). He was the Great Creator.

Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word of God, stepped out one morning onto the balcony of eternity and dipped His fingers in a chalice of light and sprinkled the vast blackness of space with scintillating, coruscating stars. He swirled with His finger and set into motion the spinning, swirling nebulae that now glow so gloriously in the night sky.

J. B. Phillips once described earth in a special way—not as “the green planet” or “the blue planet,” but as “the visited planet”—that planet which had received special visitation from the Almighty. He, the Almighty, is pleased to dwell with the lowly.

Question to ponder: Can you wrap your mind around this concept: God wants to be with you?

Beholding His Glory

1 JOHN 3:2

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”

Astoundingly, and only by the grace of God, we enter the glorious presence of God every time we gather for corporate worship (Heb. 12:18–29). Furthermore, although the Lord has His own glory that He will not give to others (Isa. 48:11), He has also created human beings in His image to reveal something of His glory to the rest of creation (Gen. 1:26–27). None of this means, however, that we have yet had a full experience or vision of divine glory. That day is coming, for in the final resurrection and consummation we will see God and His glory in its fullness (1 John 3:2).

The Bible promises us the beatific vision, the direct vision of God and His glory, but it does not give us a full picture of what that will be like. We do know that the resurrection of the body into a spiritual body—one glorified by the Holy Spirit, with the presence and effects of sin removed—will be necessary for the fullness of the vision of God to occur. First Corinthians 15:35–56, as we have seen recently, is the most comprehensive passage on the resurrected body in all Scripture, but it is interesting that it does not give us a lot of information on what our resurrected bodies will be like. We can see that while there will be discontinuity between our bodies now and our resurrected bodies, there will also be continuity. Resurrection involves the continuation, in some sense, of what we have now. Christian salvation is not ultimately salvation from the body, or the escape of the soul permanently from the body, as the ancient Greeks looked for. Instead, it is the salvation of the body, the purification and transformation of what we possess now so that it will be free from the ravages of sin and fit to live in God’s presence forever.

In our glorified state, we will see God face-to-face (see also 1 Cor. 13:12). But how will that be possible, given that the Lord is invisible and thus cannot be seen with our physical eyes (1 Tim. 1:17)? Here, again, Scripture does not give us a full explanation. Over the centuries, theologians have suggested how this might be possible. Jonathan Edwards said that perhaps the vision of God will be an immediate apprehension of Him by our minds. That is, there is nothing in the Bible that says the Lord could not bypass our eyes so that we have a direct encounter with Him using our minds and their capacities. Whether that will be the case, we do not know, but we do know that we will see God, and that the vision of Him will fully satisfy our deepest longings forever.

Coram Deo

Since the vision of God is the highest end of human beings, that vision must be far more glorious, beautiful, and satisfying than we can imagine. The best experiences of this life cannot even begin to be compared to what it will be like to see God. Do we really believe that? Do we long to see the face of God? Let us seek the Lord and ask Him on a regular basis to give us a longing to see Him as He is.

God in the Flesh

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.Luke 2:16

The mystery and miracle of the Incarnation—God coming to take our humanity and our flesh, yet without sin. Luke quotes the message of the angel Gabriel to Mary:

Thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest….The Holy Ghost shall…overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:30-32, 35)

The overshadowing of the Most High, the Father; the energy of the Holy Spirit; the enfleshment of the eternal Son—here were the Persons of the Godhead cooperating in a gracious act on behalf of lost men and women. JAF129-130

Lord Jesus, reign in us, we pray,

And make us Thine alone,

Who with the Father ever art,

And Holy Spirit, one. HCL066

[The Holy Spirit] is indivisible from the Father and the Son, and He is all God and exercises all the rights of God and He merits all worship and all love and all obedience. TTPI, Book 2/046

God Knows All

Our Lord is great, vast in power; His understanding is infinite.Psalm 147:5

Two aspects of God’s nature which cannot be examined separately are His knowledge and His wisdom. I link these two characteristics together because really it is almost impossible to consider one without considering the other.

The difference between knowledge and wisdom has been described like this: “Knowledge is what we know; wisdom is the right application of what we know.” God, of course, knows everything: everything possible, everything actual. He is perfectly acquainted with every detail in the life of every being in heaven, in earth, and in hell. Daniel said of Him: “He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him” (Dn 2:22). Nothing escapes His notice, nothing can be hidden from Him, and nothing can be forgotten by Him.

Many Christians, when referring to their conversion, say that God has forgotten their sins, but strictly speaking that is not so. God never forgets anything. What He promises to do with our sins is “never again remember” (Jr 31:34). There is a great difference between forgetting something and deciding not to remember it. Realizing, then, as we do, that God knows everything ought to strengthen our faith and cause us to bow in adoration before Him. The hymnist put it effectively when he wrote these words:

The knowledge of this life is small,

The eye of faith is dim,

But ’tis enough that God knows all

And I shall be with Him.


O Father, how consoling it is to know that You know everything. Nothing ever escapes Your attention. This means I can relax, for what I don’t know You know. And because You know it, then what I don’t know can’t hurt me. Amen.

Further Study

Jb 31:1-4; 34:21-25; Ps 147:5; Ezk 11:5

What was Job’s question?

What was Elihu’s response?

Spontaneous Praise

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. . . ”—Luke 1:46–47

Praise is the spontaneous response of a grateful child of God in His presence. The person who knows God and experiences Him intimately sings to the Lord with deepest praise! Mary was overwhelmed by the Lord’s goodness to her. In response she sang one of the most beautiful and profound songs of praise found in Scripture. Trying to stop the praise of a thankful heart would be like trying to arrest the flow of a mighty waterfall! God created us to praise Him; praise will be our activity when we are gathered around His throne in heaven.

You should never have difficulty thinking of reasons why God deserves your praise. You should enjoy the times you have to praise your Lord, both privately and publicly in worship. If your life is not filled with praise, it may be that you have lost your appreciation for God’s merciful activity in your life. Never forget what God has saved you from. Never take for granted what it means to have the assurance of eternity with God. Do not disregard the spiritual kinship you enjoy with other believers. Take time often to recount the blessings He has poured out upon you and your family. As you contemplate the boundless love and mercy God has shown you, you will want to sing His praises as Mary did. Spontaneous praise is authentic praise. It does not have to be manipulated or orchestrated. It is a real and personal expression of a grateful heart and wonder-filled life that has encountered holy God!