The promise I’m writing about in this blog is the most important, most far-reaching, most fantastic, and most inclusive promise made in human history. It is the promise related to Christmas, the holy day we Christians celebrate this time of year. I will attempt to explore the greatest promise in human history by looking at four questions:
- What is the Promise?
- When was the Promise made?
- Who is the Promise-Maker?
- Has the Promise been kept?
Christmas season is upon us again. As a matter of fact, advertisers have been pushing their goods for weeks. Undoubtedly, Christmas is the most lucrative and sales-focused time of the year. In the midst of all the frenzy and fuss that surrounds the Christmas season, it is easy to miss its essential message, a message that grew out of a promise.
The reason this promise is the most important, most far-reaching, most fantastic, and most inclusive promise in human history is because of what it offers to me, you, and the entire human race. Let me try to explain.
What is the promise?
After God created the heavens and earth and prepared the beautiful Garden of Eden, He created Adam and Eve to rule over His creation and have communion with Him. But, tragedy comes when the man and woman disobey God and break the fellowship with their Creator. According to Paul’s writings in Romans 5;12-14, Adam is the progenitor of the human race, and by his sin all human beings inherit his sinful nature and, will die physically as a result of sin.
The Garden of Eden began with man and woman living in a perfect environment and in perfect fellowship with God. Their decision to listen to the lie of Satan changed everything for them and for us. We are born sinners, who left to our own will self-destruct.
What then is the promise that points us to the true meaning of Christmas? It is the promise that God would provide the solution to our broken relationship with Him. He would bring about a way to forgive our sin and give us the eternal life that Adam and Eve forfeited in the Garden.
Think about Christmas in light of these scriptures.
“For by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.” Romans 5:15
“For God loved the world so much that He gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (My translation).
When was the promise made?
While the promise has been prophesied by Isaiah and others, the actual beginning of the promise took place in the Garden of Eden in the form of God’s pronouncement to Eve and the devil in Genesis 3:14-16.
In verse 15 God speaks of a person as the fulfillment of the promise and the battle this savior would wage against the Evil One, ” He shall bruise you (the evil one) on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” This is the beginning of the promise to restore mankind to a right relationship with God.
We see indications of God’s developing plan throughout the Old Testament as he calls out Abram (Genesis 12) to become the father of the nation of Israel through which this messiah or savior would eventually come. In the 8th century B.C., the prophet Isaiah gives some explicit details concerning the savior God had promised back in the Garden of Eden. Isaiah 9 has a lengthy passage concerning the promised one. Here is a sample of that text, ” For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us: And the government will rest on his shoulders: And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6.
The entire fifty-third chapter of Isaiah gives graphic detail of how this promised messiah would suffer to deal with the problem of rebellion which began back in the Garden of Eden. Here’s just one prophetic verse to foreshadow what is going to happen to the messiah when he actually comes to earth to help us.
“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.
The promise God made in the Garden was that while their sin would have serious consequences, He would ultimately restore the Garden for mankind and provide the solution for the broken fellowship their sin had caused.
Who is the promise-maker?
Sadly, we live in a world when many political leaders, news organizations, and talk show hosts fit their promises and narratives to further their destructive agendas. They say things like, “the border is closed, the economy is doing well”, etc. They are like the fickle and immature parent who promises his child whatever they want just to get their end goal accomplished. Foolish people continue to believe the lies, while some folks are beginning to connect the promises with results that do not resemble what they were told. Some who make promises do not have the intention or power to fulfill the hope their words have stirred in the hearts of their believers. The result; empty promises and loss of hope and trust. The character of the promise-maker determines the truth or lie behind the words.
A recent Axios poll gives a breakdown of how trust in our institutions and news media continues to decline. Notice how tv news and newspapers are near the bottom of the list. https://news.gallup.com/poll/394283/confidence-institutions-down-average-new-low.aspx
It’s a sad state of affairs when people have grown so skeptical of institutions and services that we used to depend on to tell us the truth. You will also notice about 5 places down on the list is “organized religion,” nothing for the church to brag about either. Why is this so?
God is not on the list but I imagine that he doesn’t get good numbers either because he will get lumped in with “organized religion.” The truth is that God is not organized religion. While I believe the church is supposed to be a physical representation of God in the world, it is not accurate or fair to base our trust in God’s promises on how trustworthy his “representatives” are.
So, the question boils down to this. Can the Eternal God, Creator, and Lord be trusted to keep his promise to send a savior, a messiah into the world to redeem us from the curse of sin that began in the Garden of Eden? Can we be forgiven and restored from being the enemy of God and become the children of God? Is there hope for us, or are we doomed to an earthly existence without the presence of God and an endless eternity separated from him?
The clear biblical answer is that God can be trusted. He has kept every promise he has ever made to us. The biblical references to this fact are numerous. Search the scriptures. Begin in Genesis with characters like Enoch, Noah, Abram, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Keep reading about Moses, Joshua, Caleb, the judges, King David, and the prophets. God made promises to all these people. What do you think they would say if you asked the question: “Can I trust God to keep his word, his promises?”
Has the Promise Been Kept?
The promise of a redeemer, made long before the beginning of recorded human history, was been fulfilled in the birth of a baby born to a teenage Jewish girl named Mary in a stable in Bethlehem over two millennia ago. He was named Jesus, according to the instructions of the angel who had first visited Mary to tell her of God’s plan for her.
His birth was the beginning of the final step the Promise Maker would take to complete the redemption plan he spoke about to Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Eternal God became flesh and lived among us and went to the cross, giving his life to pay for the sin each of us has committed.
How will you celebrate this Christmas this year? Recently I watched the Why the Nativity? by David Jeremiah’s Turning Point ministry. It is a beautiful and worshipful experience and i want to encourage you to take the time to watch it. https://www.davidjeremiah.org/whythenativity?gclid=CjwKCAiAp7GcBhA0EiwA9U0mtirMDfYJ11ipRPVJ3iJwVtVWblx6UgkU6IfAIfcD0R9YngNPxsOvwxoC