Zebras at a Waterhole in Okaukejo, Etosha Pan, Namibia . PHOTO : J . Rieck

Saturday, December 25, 2010

What if Christ had never been born ?



“ For  unto you is born this day in the city of David  a Saviour , who is Christ the Lord…” ( Luke 2: 11)

Today we give  our heartfelt thanks  to  God our Father  for the  fact that He had caused  His Son to be born  as a human being  by   a supernatural conception  as the  Holy Spirit overshadows a  Jewish virgin called  Mary, who in due course  gives birth  to the Son of  God  , who is at the very  same time is  also the Son of man !
I take it  that  you  believe  in the  Lord  Jesus Christ !
There are  of course  those  who  have denied  the historicity of our Lord  Jesus altogether ; others have  denied aspects of it  (His  sinless life ,  crucifixion , death , and resurrection),  but no serious  scholar  will  attempt  to do that,  since the evidence of  Christ’s physical  life is  overwhelming.  In the Bible  He is the central figure  and hope of mankind . Christ’s life has also been attested to in  non Christian  literature ,  which has been preserved throughout the centuries .
Christ  was as real as Plato , Socrates , Aristotle , Julius Caesar or  Nero or any other ancient historical  figure  you may choose  .   Christ is even more real  than any of these  men mentioned . There is no one   that has made such an impact  in this world as Jesus Christ .  The  Lord  Jesus  Christ  is so real today. Even  2000 years after His ascension  He continues  to change   people , making them into better men and women  .  Apart from this  great fact  He  has  changed  virtually every aspect of human life . Unfortunately  many people  just cannot see this, because  His influence in the world has  just become to ordinary  .
It is a very great tragedy that  the world   through satanic  deception has learned to  commercialize and , even worse , trivialize  this great event . Many speak now of the ‘ spirit of Christmas  without any reference  to the  Lord Jesus Christ .

But now the question : “What if Christ had never been born?”

1. The most obvious  conclusion would be this  : We would not  have celebrated Christmas !  If there   were  no miraculous birth  and  no announcement  of   a Saviour born   who would save  sinners , then   there would have been no reason for celebrating Christmas today !

2. If Christ  had never been born  there  would have been no  restraint from sin , and  humanity  would have wiped  itself out by its  own sinful  greed  and selfishness . Many  people grossly underestimate  the   person  and work of Christ in this regard .  A few years  ago  I read  a  classic , “ the Mutiny  on  the Bounty” ,  which illustrates  this fact so very well. It is  the story of  Christian  Fletcher a lieutenant  on the HMS Bounty  which was sent to  the island of Tahiti  in the Pacific .  He led  a mutiny against their captain  William  Bligh on  the 28th  of April 1789 .  Some  of the  mutineers  and  some Tahitians  eventually settled on Pitcairn island – one of the remotest islands in the world . The tragedy was  that thereafter having had an opportunity to start  their  lives all over  in seclusion ,    they  actually wiped  each other out in anger  . One man , John Adams and  9 women  survived  until they were picked up by the British  navy  in 1814 . The point is  this : give  people a confined space to get  on with , and they kill each other . 
We see this amply illustrated in the Scriptures . The  first great sin after the fall was when Cain killed his brother Abel . (Gen 4) The next  great crisis came  in Genesis 6  when  God saw “ that the wickedness of man was great in the earth , and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.( Gen 6:5) . We learn from this that man is simply not able to  live for any span of time without becoming corrupt . In that instance , God had found it necessary to  wipe all of mankind ( except Noah and his family )   from the face of the earth.  And yet , once Noah was settled after the flood,  the  tragedy  of  man’s  sinful nature   continued .You know the story  !   
And so we observe  that the history of the world is  the history of the continual  rise and fall of nations.  No  nation is  able to  create its  own utopia . Sin and selfishness  always gets the better of us .
But thankfully ,  Christ was born to save sinners  . Those  who  become Christians can testify that He has made a better  woman or man  out of you . The world  unfortunately  does not recognize that true  Christians  make better citizens, better workers , more honest  people , better husbands , better children – you name it !  The truth is however  that where societies have been affected by  the Christian faith in a large measure ( such as the 16th century Protestant Reformation)  those countries had  been visibly blessed with prosperity  ! Unfortunately , as  Cotton  Mather a Puritan Pastor observedReligion  begat prosperity , but the daughter has consumed the mother”.  The point remains - If Christ had not been  born we would have remained in our sins !

3. If Christ  had never been born  , civilization as we now  know  would not have existed. It is true  that  there  have been great men  and women in history who have changed this world for better  . We thank God  for those who discovered penicillin  and  X-rays  and  all sorts of cures for the physical  body .  But  none have  ever achieved  what Jesus  did  in His brief 33 years on earth .  None  of these  had  discovered an effective cure for the  sin nature of man .
Jesus   alone  could do it , because of who He is : The Son of God – the Son of man .  It is Jesus who says in  Rev 21:5  Behold , I make all things new” . He  came to transform  this world comprehensively  . 
He transformed time  when He was born  into this world . His birth date  altered the way in which we measure time .  Everything is measured  from the perspective  of BC (before Christ) or AD ( Anno Domini – “ the year of our Lord“)  .  Even  atheists  must acknowledge Christ when they date a letter . Christ  is at the center of history!  

It is even more amazing to think that most of Christ’s influence   came after His  ascension  to heaven . For most  rulers their influence  (for good or evil) seizes when  they die .  Countries  are  visibly  relieved when  an evil  ruler dies .  The deaths  of  Lenin , Stalin , Hitler , Mao Tse tung ,    Idi Amin  came as a great relief. Those rulers left nothing but  the smell of death and ruins . But Christ  came to build and to reform  a people  for Himself  out of the ashes of humanity . His  greatest work  ( apart from His death on the cross)  lies in the church , which  He began with 12  humble  men . Despite its humble origins  the  true church  has made  more changes for good on earth  than  any other movement in history .  Remember  that the church would have not existed  of Christ  had never been born !  The church  has  made  the  single most  significant impact  upon  the world !
Here are a few  examples . ( I speak of  biblical Christianity)   : 
·        The true  church of Jesus Christ has always been pro life .  Many  would –be- aborted children  have been saved by  Christians  from the early Roman times  until now .
·       Christians have always been at the forefront  of  establishing mercy ministries . Christians have consistently cared for the poor  and  the hungry  ; the good Samaritan  ethic is deeply embedded in   a Christian life. Christians have fought for the emancipation of slaves.  
·      Christians  have always encouraged literacy  and education for the masses. The translation of the Bible in to many languages has greatly  helped  many civilizations.   Consider  the beginnings of Namibia ‘s  heritage.  Who was it that started schools and hospitals  in the country ? The church !
·        The church  of Christ  has  laboured for the dignity of  men and  women   (because of  the doctrine of the image of God in man –  Gen 1:27) . The church  has  helped  us to understand the respective role of men and women in society.  Sadly  much of the gender confusion  today  arises from the forgotten  fact   that the  wise  Creator has assigned respective  roles   for men and women, and that societies are always better off when we  do things God’s way  .   
·        Christians have fought social evils such as alcohol  and drug  abuse.
·        Christians  have fought for higher standards of justice .
·        Christians have  stood against  moral evils such as adultery , homosexuality and other sexual perversions. This has greatly helped to preserve the human race .
·         But most significantly ,  the church  has helped  countless   broken people  to  find  Christ as Lord and Saviour , thus  enabling them to  return  to a  God honoring pattern for living  and betterment for themselves .  Christians understand that  a man’s chief purpose is  to worship His Creator  .  This fact has caused the  Christian faith to be  a missionary faith. Christians understand   than men and women  who do not worship their Creator  will be consigned to  a godless  eternity . Christians  understand that the birth of Christ into this sad world was indeed God’s only remedy  for mankind .  Christ  made  salvation  possible  by His  birth  ( Advent)  and death  (  giving His life as an atoning offering for sin)    for   men and women  who are in a broken fellowship  with God and with  one another  . And so the church labours  day and night to make the person and work of  Christ known  to the world.  This is the primary goal of Christianity .   
That is why the angel  said : “ Fear not , for behold , I bring  you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For  unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour , who is Christ the  Lord !”   

Now imagine again  that Christ had been never born !
 I rest my case . Amen !

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