Advent is a time we can refresh our amazement in the prophecy and arrival of Jesus the Messiah, growing closer to Him as we proclaim our longing for His coming again. We pray this devotional will challenge and remind you of the hope, joy, preparation, and love that we experience as we anticipate Christ’s birth.
We know that God is with us.
We know that God loves us. We know that we are forgiven, but why then do we continue to sin? Christmas proves that God is with us even in our failures. There is no wrath left in His heart for the people of God because of our Immanuel.
Spend a few moments before we get started being honest with God about the following questions:
Are there any sin struggles you feel a lingering sense of shame over?
Have you ever wondered if struggles or sufferings that you face are a result of God punishing you?
Do you feel like God wants good for you, or do you ever feel like He’s only punishing you?
Read Genesis 9:8-17
Who does God make a covenant with? What are the promises of the covenant? What is the sign of the covenant?
Noah’s ark must have been one of the most horrific events ever to be experienced. Imagine Noah, seeing God’s wrath, facing the punishment. Even though he knew he was safe, it must have been terrifying.
How do you think Noah felt when he sucked in fresh air for the first time in months and heard the news from God punctuated with the rainbow in the sky? God said, Never again. I will never do this again.
Read Hebrews 10:11-14
In this life, even as Christians, we still experience failure. To live as a believer in Christ does not mean that you are free from sinning, but it does mean that you no longer live at peace with your sin. Thankfully, because Jesus bore the weight of our sin and lived a perfect life, He became the sacrifice we needed for our sin and gave us His righteousness! So when you fail, remember the promise He made with you that as long as you live you are being made more into the image of your Savior. God is not finished with you yet.
What does this text say about what Christ has already accomplished for you? What is your status before God? According to verse 14, when does that status expire?
This is the gift that caused shepherds to weep and kings to bow: a Savior who could proclaim “perfect” over people who weren’t yet perfect. It is why today you don’t have to fear punishment, irritation, or frustration from God, because Christ has already perfected you — even as you are being sanctified. How? He did it by taking the full punishment for any past, present, or future failure for you on the cross.
This is our Immanuel. He suffers with us and struggles with us, but when it comes to facing the wrath of God, He refuses to take us with Him. He goes alone. He goes before the Father for punishment not with us, but for us.
What are some sins you have struggled with that you still feel a lingering sense of shame over? Now imagine the most horrific event in history. Imagine seeing the fullness of God’s wrath poured out on Christ on the cross. Now hear the words of the new covenant ring true: ‘Never again. I will never do this again. It is finished.’ The freedom from fear of God’s punishment is what Jesus purchased for us. We can instead receive and be motivated by His amazing love.
This Jumpstart Advent series was written and produced by Park Community Church in Chicago, IL.