A little late for my “meaning of Christmas and New Years” article. This is close enough. I heard Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California talking to Piers Morgan on CNN on Christmas Eve. He was talking about the meaning of Christmas being salvation. Not just salvation of your souls, but from a more holistic point of view the salvation of your entire being.
During this interview, Pastor Rick Warren was quoted as saying “you don’t need Jesus because you’re going to die tonight, you need Him because you’re going to live tomorrow.” We don’t just need to experience salvation simply in just having our sins forgiven so we can get to heaven when we die; we need to be saved from ourselves so that we can better serve God and help build His Kingdom on earth. Eternal life isn’t something you get when you die, it starts in this life; therefore you can experience your best life now if you have the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in your life.
In Luke 17, Jesus told the religious people of His day that the Kingdom of God was within them. If it’s within them as egotistical as they are, think of how much more He’s in those that are on fire for Him. In another story in the book of John, Jesus was telling told Martha that her brother Lazarus would rise again. Martha responded by telling the Messiah Yeshua that she knew he would rise again in the resurrection.
The point is, if Martha believed in the resurrection, then why did Jesus go on and say “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever lives and believes in me, though he die, yet he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Well, do you? He’s asking.
Because the resurrection doesn’t take place in the next life. It’s completed when Jesus comes back. You are literally raised to new life the moment you receive the Son of God into your life. That’s the meaning of New Year’s. Starting over and second chances. God’s grace and mercy renew every day, every month, every hour, every second, minute, year, decade. If you are alive and your heart has not hardened so that you can still hear His voice.
The last thing Martha said was that she believed Jesus was the Anointed Messiah, the one coming into the world. All you have to do is believe. Yes, even demons believe but because they are created perfect salvation is not offered to them. You can believe something intellectually but not really receive or accept it if you are resisting it. You can’t believe in Jesus and cherry pick the bible to pick out what you believe and what you don’t. Being fully surrendered means accepting Him for who He is. If you don’t accept His teachings, then you can’t accept Him. They aren’t that hard to the spiritually discerning. Humans, for being lazy creatures, have a tendency to overcomplexify everything.
It’s all about a relationship. Jesus said in John 10:10, “I came to give them life and give it abundantly. The enemy comes to still, kill, and destroy.” If you aren’t living the abundant life maybe you don’t really believe in the Son. Of course it says in Acts that many believed but have not received the Holy Spirit. They haven’t been empowered because they don’t know who they are or what they have in Christ.
No wonder we are struggling with debt and sickness and the world can’t see the Messiah in His professing followers.