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The Cradle and The Cross

“The Cradle and The Cross” — What do these mean to you? The CRADLE is a picture of new life and the CROSS is a picture of death. As we consider the cradle and the cross we see the true reason for this Christmas season—it is all about CHRIST.

The angel, speaking to Joseph says,  And she [Mary] shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

One of my favorite Christmas hymns was written by Ron Hamilton called “Born to Die[1].” Consider the words of the chorus:

Born to die upon Calvary, Jesus suffered my sin to forgive; 
Born to die upon Calvary, He was wounded that I might live.”

In these words we see the cradle and the cross.  As Jesus was born the cross cast its shadow over the cradle. This was the purpose for which Christ was born—He was born to die.

This sounds quite depressing if the story ended here. The great reality is that Christ’s death was not the stories’ end but a pivotal moment within the narrative of Christ’s provision for our salvation. The cross is EMPTY and so is the tomb as it could not hold Him. Christ has conquered death and has risen from the grave, just as He said He would (Matthew 16:21; 26:31-32).

The purpose for which Christ came to this earth was to die, to pay the penalty for our sin—which He did. BUT then He rose again the third day, victorious over death leaving the tomb EMPTY as evidence of a risen, living Savior.

Don’t overlook the journey from the cradle to the cross. Stop and look upon the EMPTY cross and see all the suffering Christ bore on your behalf. Then keep going from that tree to the tomb. Again, stop and look inside and see Him there no more and rejoice for He lives! But there is more…continue on from the grave to the glorious mount as He ascended, returning to the Father.

From the cradle to the cross we see how Christ lived as a perfect Example and He died as a perfect Sacrifice. In that He triumphs over the tomb we see that He lives as a conquering King and He saves as a sufficient SAVIOR.

Remember that there is a CHRIST in CHRISTmas for a reason. HE is the REASON for this season. Celebrate HIM as the greatest gift ever given. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son [Jesus], that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Because of Christ’s death on the CROSS we can enjoy the CRADLE of a new life in Christ—a life with Christ that never ends—a life with Him here on this earth and in heaven for eternity.

Do you have a relationship with Christ? Have you received this greatest gift that is eternal life? Consider Christ’s words to a religious man searching for answers about life. Jesus answered and said unto him, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again [from above], he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3) The Bible says elsewhere, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Have you responded to Christ when He says, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest [peace]” (Matthew 11:28). Christ’s call requires a response. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) But as many as received Him [JESUS], to them gave He power to become the sons of Godeven to them that believe on His name: (John 1:12)

If you haven’t placed your faith and trust in CHRIST alone for salvation won’t you consider doing that today? This Christmas enjoy the greatest gift ever given—His name is JESUS. He will never fail you for in Him alone is contentment, peace, joy, and love that truly transcends all understanding—in Him alone is true life that never ends. Consider reading “How Do I Get to Heaven” for additional insight.

Join with me this Christmas season and make JESUS the center—allow CHRIST to be at the center of your CHRISTmas.

[1] Copyright 1980 by Majesty Music, Inc.

There Is No God?…REALLY?

Do you believe this? Please consider what the Bible says:

“The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ …” (Psalm 53:1)

Please consider what the beauty of the earth around you says:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork.” (Psalm 19:1)

Would anyone consider a beautiful painting and say, “No one painted that!” or an architectural structure that you stop and admire and say, “No one built that!“? Then why would we look upon this amazing earth that we call home and say, “It happened by chance—there is no Creator!”? The vibrant colors of spring…the complexity of every living organism…the consistency of the cycle of day and night along with the season…the similarity of the orbital structure of the microscopic atom to the planetary activity in our universe—ALL proves and proclaims that God EXISTS! that HE created all of it.

The Bible says that someone who looks at this beautiful earth around him and concludes, “This happened by CHANCE—that there is no God” is foolish.

The sad reality is that when you don’t believe in God’s amazing work of creation, how will you ever believe in His amazing love that He displayed in His saving action? As a result you will never enter into a personal relation with the GOD who made you.

The Bible says, “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17)

“But God commendeth [proved] His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

THERE IS A GOD…REALLY!!

He loves you enough to let you enjoy this amazing creation of His that you call “home” even though many are so ungrateful and don’t even give Him credit. He also loves you enough to send His only Son to die in your place, paying your debt of sin as well as mine.

“For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23)

“For the wages of sin is DEATH; but the gift of God is eternal LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

There not only IS a God but this God wants to have a loving relationship with YOU!

“And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)

For more information about “KNOWING GOD” and having a personal relationship with Him consider reading this article: “How do I get to Heaven?“.

The Most Precious Truth

When you think of “Precious Truths” which is the greatest of them all?  For me the answer is simply God’s love.

Consider this…without the love of God, would He have sent His Son to pay our penalty of sin? Without the love of God could we enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ? Without the love of God could we have hope of eternal life?

It is the love of God which sent Christ to the manger.  It is the love of God which sent Christ to the cross.  It is the love of God which gives the gift of eternal life.

“For God SO loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son [Jesus], that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

It shows us that God loves us enough that He would send His beloved Son into this lost world in order to reconcile us to Himself through His Son’s death.

The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23). We are also told that our sin separates us from God as we earn the penalty of death (Romans 6:23).

“But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened [made us alive] us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

This is an amazing reality…this is amazing love! “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:…” (1 John 3:1)

I picture the apostle John writing these words and saying, “Wow! This is amazing! God loves me so much that He made a way possible for me to become His child!”  It still shook John to the very core, even at the end of his life, as he considered what his Savior did for him.

In the Gospel of John the apostle is only mentioned as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”  This title was what he wanted to be remembered by because of the precious truth that it displayed. What title do you and I want to be called? What do we want to be known for?

The Bible further explains how God’s love was displayed in Christ’s death.

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation [the atoning sacrifice] for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)

God “manifested” or displayed His love to us by sending His Son into this world to pay the penalty for our sin.  God poured out His just and divine wrath upon His beloved Son in the place of all of us sinners.

“But God [demonstrated] His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8)

Christ said to us in His actions, “I love you this much” as He willingly spread out His arms upon the cross and died in our place.

One of the ways the Bible defines love is found in John 15:13 where it says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Christ Jesus laid down His life for us.  He sacrificed His own life so that we could have a relationship with the Father as our Father.  In John 17, Christ prays “for them also which shall be believe on Me” (v. 20).  His desire was for us to have the same relationship that He has with the Father.  He says, “That they [those who believe] all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us:…” (v. 21) He goes on to say in verse 23 that He desires that we would be loved by the Father just as He is loved by the Father.  This self-sacrificing love was expressed upon the cross—it was done so that we could live—truly live.

As I consider the extent of the love of God I realize that these words only begin to scratch the surface, if even that.  I pray that as you read these words that you would stop and meditate upon God’s love. What does it mean for you?

The apostle Paul’s prayer was “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which [transcends] knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

This prayer of Paul is for his audience to “know the love of Christ” which transcends human understanding. Knowing the “love of God” brings change. To be “filled” is to be controlled. Being “filled with the fullness of God” is to be controlled by God as He transforms us into the image of His Son. This speaks of becoming more like Jesus Christ. Knowing the “love of Christ” leads to the likeness of Christ. The more we rest in God’s love the more we are changed by it.

Do you know the love of God? Have you entered into this wonderful relationship with God by placing your faith and trust in Him alone for salvation?

The Bible clearly says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

I close with words from a favorite hymn of mine called, “The Love of God.”  Consider the third verse and chorus…

Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made, were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade, to write the love of God above, would drain the ocean dry.  Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.

O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure the saints’ and angels’ song.”  – (hymn by Fred­er­ick Leh­man, lyr­ics are based on the Jew­ish poem Haddamut)