2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT - This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Colossians 3:3 NLT - For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.
The message of Christmas is that Christ invites you in. In to new life. In to new possibilities. In to Him.
John 14:20 NLT - When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
John 15:4–5 NLT - Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
>>> The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome would expound on this truth about what it means to be in Christ.
Romans 8:1 NIV - Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
Do you believe that if you are in Christ, then you stand uncondemned?
2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV - God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Romans 8:2–3 NLT - And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
You see, the Law cannot:
Produce a new heart in a sinner
Save a lost soul
Justify a guilty person
Draw a wanderer back to God
>>> So God had to do what the law could not do by sending His Son. This is what we celebrate on Christmas day!
Romans 8:4 NLT - He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
God sent Jesus so that once and for all the requirements of the law would be satisfied.
Romans 8:5–9 NLT - Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. 9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)
Paul here lays out a vital test that all believers should take. He implores us to search and see what spirit is in us, so that we can discern whose child we are.
Matthew 7:21–23 NLT - “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
This Christmas, let us take time to examine which spirit we follow. Is your life characterized by following the leading of the Spirit?
Romans 8:10–11 NLT - And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
Paul declares that this spirit within us is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead!
Romans 8:12–14 NLT - Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
Paul suggest a continuous activity where the believer day after day puts to death the deeds of our sinful nature.
Along with the privilege of being “IN” comes responsibility. The responsibility of putting our sinful nature to death.
Spirit leads the believer into:
Repentance (John 16:8)
Thinking much of Jesus (John 14:15)
Wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:10)
Love (John 13:35)
Heart for the lost (Romans 10:15)
Holiness (1 Peter 1:2)
Godliness (2 Peter 1:3)
Usefulness (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)
Romans 8:15–16 NLT - So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
Instead, we have been adopted as children. We don’t live in fear—we call out “Abba, Father.” Daddy.
Romans 8:17a NLT - And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.
We are heirs to all that God has
God himself belongs to us
The portion of each child of God is not only what God has, but what God himself is.
Romans 8:17–19 NLT - And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. 18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.
Christmas looks ahead to the day when, for the final time, we will be invited in. The Scriptures promise us that on this day there will be no more sorrow and no more tears. That pain and suffering will be no more.
Yet today, here’s what’s so amazing—Christ stands at the door of your heart and knocks. He didn’t wait for you to come knock on His door. He, just like on Christmas morning, took the first step. He came first. And He invites you IN to the fullness of life.
The message of Christmas is not that Jesus came so that you could live your old life better. Christ came to let you in. To offer you a brand new life full of the new possibilities that come from being in Christ--a child of God and co-heir of the Kingdom. This is the way in a manger. Welcome in.