Galatians 3:23-29: 23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[a] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
Here in Metuchen, the fire department has done a “Santa Walk” for years now, which has more recently turned into a “Santa Drive” because of the pandemic. Because my wife serves with the department, the fire engine stopped at our house, and Santa and Mrs. Claus paid a special visit to all the children gathered at our place. Most of them were so happy to see them, but my daughter Zara was terrified. She wouldn’t even go near Santa until he offered her a candy cane. When my wife returned from the Santa drive, she told us how families with children were waiting outside in the cold with great anticipation to see Santa, and they did not even get a candy cane. Zara did not understand how special it was because she is only two.
Many of us wait for Christmas with great anticipation, but we do not understand how special it is. Some are hopeful because of the presents, traditions, and family time, and others are excited because they get some time off.
The Christian’s reasons for waiting for Christmas could not be more different than the people waiting for thousands of years to see the fulfillment of God’s promises. At a precise moment in the history of mankind, the anticipation was over. Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds, the wise men, and others witnessed the birth of the world’s savior.
The precise moment, the right time when God decisively acts in human affairs in the Bible, is called a kairos moment. Christmas was the ultimate kairos moment—the creator entered into His own creation as a created being to reveal and offer the Gospel of Christ to create a new being in us.
We and our children need to remember that Christmas is not about Santa, the presents, or the candy, though all those things are fun. Christmas is about the Gospel of Christ. But what is the Gospel? What does it do? And why does it matter?
As a church, we have been studying the book of Galatians verse by verse, and on Christmas Eve we have arrived at Galatians 3:23-29. It may not be a traditional Christmas text, but it explains the true reason and purpose for Christmas, which is the Gospel of Christ.
What is the Gospel?
In a nutshell, the Gospel is the Good News that God sent His only Son from heaven to earth to die for the sins of the world on the cross so that whoever believes in Him and confesses with their mouth that Christ is Lord and Savior can be saved from the eternal consequences of their sins and receive eternal life. Was there another way? The answer is no.
Galatians 3:23-24 says, “Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.” This means before Christ came and the Gospel was revealed, we were slaves to sin and prisoners of good works to please God. But we could never meet God’s standard of good. Consequently, we could never please God. Therefore, God liberated us from the bondage of sin and good works and declared those who believe in Christ as justified, meaning not guilty, hence completely accepted.
What does the Gospel do?
In essence, the Gospel saves us and restores our relationship with God as our father. Galatians 3:25-27 says, “ But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
When no man and no works could restore the broken relationship between God and us, on Christmas, God took on flesh and became man. The Bible teaches that He humbled Himself to the point of death and death on the cross. Through Christ’s death on the cross, we all who believe in Christ are made children of God, hence one family.
Why does the Gospel matter?
It matters because the Gospel explains that not only did God rescue, redeem, restore, and forgive us to reconcile us to Himself and make us one in Christ, but it also shows a restored and reconciled
community where the world can experience love, peace, joy, unity, and goodwill toward others.
Galatians 3:28-29 says that in Christ, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” The fulfillment of the promise to Abraham is the foretaste of the divine, the picture of heaven on earth.
The birth of Christ was not the birth of another guru or prophet to direct us to a new and improved method of being good to be acceptable by God. Rather, Christ’s birth was the birth of God in the flesh. In every religion, sacrifice and work are required to be accepted by the divine; in Christianity, the divine sacrificed Himself to make us acceptable to God.
Every religion says obey and do good works in hopes of salvation, but the Gospel says obey because you are saved by grace alone, faith alone, and Christ alone.
If you are a fellow of Christ, let this Christmas be a reminder that we do not need to try to do good to be good in order to be accepted by God because God’s standard of good is beyond our reach. Instead, he reached down to accept us as we are, and now we do good because He has been so good to us.
If you are not a follower of Christ and you are reading about all of this for the first time, I am glad you are here, because God brought you here. I believe this is your kairos moment, in which God is acting decisively in your life. I believe that by the power of His Spirit, God brought you here to hear the Gospel and give you an opportunity to respond.
If you respond positively to the opportunity and believe Jesus is the Messiah and you receive Him as your Lord and savior, you will be saved this very moment, never to be held guilty of any sin. This Christmas season will change your relationship with God forever, and you will become a child of God. My prayer is you say yes to this opportunity, and if you do, please let me know. I want to help you with the next steps.