Paul Honkala | The Voice of Zion December 2020 --
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. – John 1:1–4,14
Read the entire Bible portion in John 1:1–14.
John, the Apostle of Love, wrote these words to remind us of the great love of the heavenly Father toward sin-fallen humans. We are now in the Advent season preparing for the festivities of Christmas, when families gather, sing hymns, share meals and exchange gifts. The events of the Christmas season can too easily become common practice. It’s important to pause to consider the meaning of Christmas.
God Created All People and Hope of Heaven
Our text relates; “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made.” We can see in nature the powerful hand of God, who created all things. The birth of a child and its first cry of life make us marvel at the great work of God. However, dear travel friend, we can look even closer at the work of God: that hope of heaven placed in your heart, that Christmas peace, the knowledge that you own living faith and that your sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name and blood. This is the great work of God. He has given you the gift of living faith – the greatest treasure one could own.
What is this gift of living faith? The Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of a believing person. It not only places hope in the heart, it teaches one to stay away from things that bring danger to the life of faith. It encourages us to attend services, to hear God’s Word. It teaches us to seek the safe center of the flock of God’s children. It teaches us to keep faith and a good conscience. It teaches us to comfort and care for one another. Most importantly, it gives us strength to believe our own sins forgiven in Jesus’ name and blood. God has done all of this by His Word.
John the Baptist Bore Witness
God so loved fallen people that he sent His only Son into the world that through Him sinners might be saved. As our text relates, the forerunner of Jesus was John the Baptist. John came to bear witness that all men through Christ might believe. John was given to understand the work of Jesus. It was John’s heartfelt desire that humankind would learn of God's word and believe the works that Jesus was to accomplish. This is also the heart of a believer today. When one considers the greatest gift of all – living faith – the believer wishes it for everyone.
We need to pray for a heart like John the Baptist that we could boldly speak of God’s grace for the penitent sinner. This matter of confessing our faith is not an easy one. The believer carries this earthly portion that often battles against the holy portion. We are slow to speak our own psalm of faith, and we often feel powerless. It is important to remember when we speak our own psalm to an unbelieving person, God promises to fill our mouth with words. This is not easy to believe. We are always left to that place of trusting God. We also know and understand that we cannot give faith to anyone. God prepares and opens the heart of a person in unbelief to receive His word. That is the reason that John the Baptist preached of Jesus the coming Savior. He was given to understand this great work of God’s son.
Like John, We Also Bear Witness
This same knowledge that John the Baptist understood you also know and understand. When sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name and blood, you also own Christmas peace. Through eyes of faith your hope is anchored to heaven’s shore. The believing heart has this unceasing prayer to God: keep me in living faith.
At this Christmas season we pause to consider the great gift of faith; we, along with John the Baptist, want all people to own it. We pray, that God gives each of us strength to speak of the greatest Christmas gift of all, living faith.