“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
When the angel appeared to the shepherds that first Christmas night, he brought “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10). But while the Good News is for mankind, we are not the primary focus of Christmas—God is. The great host of angels came to sing the praises and glory of the God who had planned our salvation and was providing the means whereby we might escape the penalty of sin and spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
The message of salvation is to be given to all, and all who receive it in faith reap the amazing benefits that come from accepting the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Yet we must never forget that salvation is all of God. We do not earn it, deserve it, or somehow find ways to contribute to the process. All of us were sinners, hopelessly lost and apart from God when in love He reached out to us and offered us salvation.
In the great hymn “Rock of Ages” Augustus Toplady expressed this truth:
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.
There are no good works we can do to merit salvation. We simply acknowledge our sinfulness, believe in Christ’s sacrifice, and receive His gift. Because salvation is completely God’s work—not our good works—He alone receives honor and glory when the gospel is presented and the lost are saved. Jesus said, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:8).
Dr. Paul Chappell