“Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18a NLT)
Many of us expect that God is ready to smite us after all we’ve done wrong. The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 forever proves that false. You’ve probably heard the story even if you haven’t read it in Scripture.
A man has two sons. One of the sons comes to the father and asks for all of his inheritance early. The father does what his son asks. But the son squanders the inheritance on wild living. He then gets a job cleaning slop from a pigpen. Starving, he realizes even the pigs he is feeding are better taken care of than he is. So the son returns home.
Instead of his father being angry and scolding him, the father runs to meet and embrace the son. The grateful father then throws a party for his long-lost son.
That’s also the story of Christmas. The Bible says all of us were dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:5). Although humanity had been created as the apex of God’s creation, we sinned and forfeited the ideal relationship we had with the Father in the Garden of Eden. But God didn’t give up on us. Instead, he gave us Christmas. He gave us Jesus.
No matter what you’ve done, who you’ve hurt, or how you’ve been treated, that’s how much God loves you right now. He loves you enough to send his Son so he can have a relationship with you.
Jesus came to reconnect you just like the prodigal son was reconnected with his father. Some people assume that God is ready to scold them when they come back to him. But God isn’t mad at you; he’s mad about you! He’s crazy about you, and he can’t stand to see what sin has done to you.
That’s the story of the Bible.
2 Corinthians 5:17-18 says, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ” (NLT).
The biblical term for what God has done through Jesus by bringing us back to him is “reconciliation.” When a married couple reconciles, it means the war is over. When warring nations reconcile, it means peace has come. When you reconcile accounts, they are no longer out of whack.
The Bible says that through Jesus we can finally have peace with God.
And it’s the greatest news we can ever discover.
Talk About It
Have you experienced the peace that comes from being reconciled to God? What difference has it made in your life?
With whom can you share the opportunity to be reconciled to Jesus Christ this Christmas season?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional ©2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.