Joy to the World – Pt. 3

joy-to-the-world.jpgThe third verse of this hymn, like all of the other verses, is rich with important biblical truth that we cannot afford to miss.  As Christians, we’re called to delight in God’s truth and understanding the content of verse 3 should cause us to delight in God.  Verse three says –

No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found,

Far as the curse is found,

Far as, far as, the curse is found.

Sins, Sorrows, Thorns and a Curse

This verse is describing what redemption looks like. Much like what Part 2 discussed, the world is presently under a curse because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion. Part of the curse, pronounced to Adam in Genesis 3 says-

17And to Adam he said,“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life, 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken, for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

After mankind’s rebellion, part of the curse described is creation working against man. No longer would Adam’s work as a cultivator of the ground be easy and bear plentiful produce. His labor would be painfully hard and the harmony between man and the rest of creation would be strenuous.  Like Adam, we live in a world where our work is often riddled with proverbial thorns, not often enjoyed nor yielding the “fruit” we desire.  In addition, the very ground that Adam was supposed to rule would ultimately consume him. That is our lot without a redeemer.  We are born into this life under God’s curse for Adam’s sin with death and eternal condemnation as our lot (Rom. 5:12,18-19). As stated in previous writings, all of creation is under a curse longing for a liberator.

Cosmic Redemption & Everlasting Joy

That liberator is Jesus.  During Christ’s earthly ministry He often stated that the kingdom of God had arrived, yet it wasn’t always understood nor was it fully actualized. His ministry not only consisted of teaching His Father’s truths, but He also demonstrated authority over creation (Mk. 4:35-41), over disease (Matt. 8:1-3, Mk. 5:21-34)  and over death (Mk. 5:35-43, Jhn 11:1-44). His ministry was to demonstrate the in-breaking of the kingdom of God and provide glimpses of victory over Satan and the effects of sin – especially on man. In essence, Christ’s victory in His death and resurrection reversed the curse pronounced in Genesis 3.

At the second coming of Christ, which will bring judgment for the unrepentant, also brings salvation for His people. No more will the effects of sin rule and dominate the earth nor His people. His redemption will be consummate as far as the curse is found.  God and man will be reconciled. Man and man will be in unity in Christ. The new heavens and new earth will be in perfect harmony with man. God’s dwelling place with be forever be with man on the earth where there will be everlasting joy (Rev. 21:3-4). Sin and sorrows will grow no more as they will be non-existent.

Why This Matters at Christmas

While this season looks back at the birth of Christ, it is imperative that we understand why looking back is crucial to what lies ahead. If there was no birth, there could be no death. No death of a redeemer means we’re still in bondage to sin, under God’s curse and fit for His eternal wrath.  Christ came to die for His people that they might live forever in peace and joy with God! His second coming will complete God’s plan of redemption that was planned from before the foundation of the world! 

Merry Christmas!

The Significance of Advent

adventI admit that I love the fall holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Perhaps it’s because of the joys I’ve experienced in the past and still do experience when I gather with loved ones, sharing time, space, and meals. Essentially, we’re sharing our lives and for a particular purpose – gratitude to God for the work accomplished through His Son, Jesus Christ.

That wasn’t always the case for me though. Before I was a Christian, the holidays served a selfish purpose for me. I was more concerned about being free from the responsibilities of school or work, and consumed with eating, drinking, being merry and getting gifts. I was a consummate  professional at being selfish. But that changed in 1998 when the LORD saved me and placed me in union with Christ.

This year, Advent season starts December 1st. Advent means “arrival” or “coming” and is the season that celebrates the coming or the birth of Jesus Christ. This is known as His First Advent. It also is a season that points to His promised Second Coming (Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 3:11, 4:13-18).  Since becoming a Christian, this season of celebration is much more profound and special to me. It is a season that is well suited for sharing the gospel and reflecting on the greatest example of giving there was or ever will be. Of course, we should be sharing the gospel irrespective of holidays, but Advent rolls out the red carpet for gospel proclamation.

The coming of Jesus marked what some believe is the most significant event in human history. While His whole life was significant, including his death and resurrection, His coming marked a pivotal moment in God’s redemptive plan. The promised offspring (Gen. 3; Gal. 3:16), the Last Adam (Rom. 5:12-21), the True Israel and Son of God (Hos. 11:1; Matt. 2:13-14), the Promised King (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:5; Rev. 19:11-16) came and dwelt among men to fulfill God’s Law in every way and defeat sin, thus securing eternal hope for His people.

To understand the significance of Advent, we must understand the coming of Jesus in light of God’s plan of redemption throughout human history.

Here is a great article providing an overview of the Bible, which gives us insight to God’s plan of redemption: Overview of The Bible

Desiring God has urecently re-released their Advent devotional, Good News of Great Joy, as a free PDF download.

May we all reflect on the significance of Advent and worship Christ, our Lord, Savior and King!

Grace & Peace,

d.