SALVATION IS NEAR
“For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand.” (Romans 13:11 b and 12a)
In looking to the future, Christians have two options. One is to look at the power of darkness and conclude that things will get worse and worse. The other is to look at the power of light and conclude that at some time, in some way unknown to us, light will triumph and day will come.
The prophet Isaiah looked to the future and he spoke of hope and promise. He pictured all the nations making their way to the mountain of the house of the Lord.” As they come they say, “Let us go to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us His ways and that we may walk in His paths.”
That positive hope and image seem to be less viable today. Evil and sin are not only entrenched in human life, they seem to become bolder. There are so many signs of the disintegration of society that it seems almost “Pollyanna-ish” to hold up that positive picture of the future. From a human standpoint, we know that we don’t know how to turn things around.
Advent’s message is remember what God has done, prepare for what he will do, and receive his future.
Jesus warns us not to get discouraged or overconfident. Although we do not have the answer to the future, He does. Christmas proclaims that his plans will not get thrown off the track, no matter how sin and evil may huff and puff. God came as Emmanuel (God with us) to save his people. The victory over the devil has been won at Calvary, and the Spirit of God is at work drawing a people into that victory. We have been called to be a part of that People of God, the saved and saving Remnant. We have been called to look at life squarely in the face, with all its “impossibilities,” and say, “Nevertheless, I do believe that God will have His way!” That is what we call Christian Hope. And hope is what Advent and Christmas is all about.
How wonderful that we do not have to figure it all out! We do not have to waste energy and thought on what might lie ahead! God knows, and God is leading us along our journey. He has promised to be with us all the way, even to the end of the age. And every step, for each one of His children, brings “salvation nearer than when we first believed.” What a glorious thought with which to begin our celebration of Advent and Christmas!
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your sure word of promise and hope. Quicken our vision to see that all things are hastening to the fulfillment of Your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.