“God with us” (Part 1)

“So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying “Behold the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call His name “Immanuel”, which is translated, “God with us”.

(Matthew 1:22-24)

Again Matthew turns our attention to the fact that Jesus Christ has not exploded onto the scene from nowhere. Everything about the Saviour’s arrival was heralded and spoken about beforehand in scripture and through the prophets. Here he quotes Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign; Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Not only is Jesus our saviour and the sign that salvation comes from Yahweh alone. But He is also “Immanuel” – God with us. All this is happening to fulfil what God had already promised throughout history. What an amazing statement – “God with us”. Think about it in another way – “God” with “us”. Two opposites have been brought together. “God” – the Holy infinite creator of the universe and “us” – enemies of God and people who deliberately walk in sin. The holy and the common have been brought together. The sinless and the sinner have been brought together. Jesus comes and sits with prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:13, “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ,” Jesus Christ has bridged the eternal gap between God and man. God has come and dwelt among sinful man. He is the one who has taken the step towards salvation. We read in Genesis 3 after Adam and Eve’s fall that God is the one who comes looking for them, “The the Lord God called to Adam and said to Him, ‘Where are you?'” (Genesis 3:9)

From the beginning of creation to the end of this present world God is not slow to reach out and show compassion to sinners. Even in Revelation we see Jesus Christ compassionately reaching out to a church that have shut Him out of their lives. “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” (Revelation 3:20)

Throughout history man has turned his back on God. He has constantly hidden himself from God and preferred the darkness of selfishness and sin. Everyone ever born has chosen this route naturally. John writes in his gospel, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (John 3:19) Even outward goodness and morals cannot mask the sin of people’s hearts. As Paul writes in Romans 3:10, “There is none righteous, no not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.” When we see who we really are. When we see our true standing before God. When we see that we have a catastrophic problem in our lives. And when we see that God cannot accept us as we are. It makes what He has done for us through Jesus Christ even more glorious. There is a song with these lyrics, “Lord of infinity, stooping so tenderly. Lifts our humanity to the heights of His throne.” “Immanuel” has come. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.(Matthew 4:16) We have not searched for Him. The Lord has come to us. How can this be? How can God look beyond the fact that we are His enemies. How can His holiness be satisfied with our sin and disobedience? Isaiah 53 tells us how this can be. “Immanuel” not only visits us, He gives Himself for us. Not only did our Lord leave the ivory palaces He also embraced the rugged cross. “Immanuel” was “wounded for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5) The punishment and price for our peace was put “upon Him”.

These two words, “Upon Him” sum our faith up. Our Father laid upon Him the punishment we deserve. It is all Jesus Christ’s work. His blood has brought us near to the Father. We now cast ourselves in faith upon Him for our salvation.

As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:21, For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” We hear so often in our Churches how wonderful it is that God accepts us as we are. I can think of no other lie that undermines the work and glorious sacrifice that Jesus Christ has made on our behalf. Although it is true that there is nothing we can do of ourselves to merit or attain the righteousness God requires. It is also true that God cannot and will not accept us as we are. Jesus cannot take us as we are. He can only accept us through faith in the blood of His son Jesus Christ. We are acceptable before God purely because we have faith and understand that Jesus Christ took our place on the cross and we now share in His place before the Father. Paul writes in Ephesians 1:6, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” The “Beloved” is God’s beloved son Jesus Christ. So what Paul is saying is that we have been accepted in, or through, Jesus Christ. This is why Paul preached about Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This is why people throughout the ages have died and been martyred for preaching the gospel. The way of acceptance before God is through faith in His Son’s work. God cannot welcome us as we are and many in our churches are believing a lie and are ignorant to the true message of Christianity. “Immanuel” has come and brought salvation to sinners. God has visited us and is now dwelling with us. One day we will dwell with Him in His true dwelling place – Heaven.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jo Parker November 28, 2009 at 4:27 am

I am so pleased that you are both serving and praising the Lord through thick and thin!! Hallejuah!

I know that Scott and I need to do the same .. we are certainly in a place where we haven’t got much of anything but need to be thankful for what we do have and NOT think of all we don’t have yet!! we both know that God IS going to bless, refresh and settle us and also give us the desires of our hearts!! It has been very hard moving around but we both know it is the LORD’s will that we are to be where He wants to be!!!

Your “story” of what you have learnt encourages and inspires me (and scott to keep going , finish the race and get THAT prize!!

I love you guys lots and more in The Lord Jesus!! We hope to catch up with you when/if you come back to WA!! 🙂 Jo xx

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