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Anonymity and secrecy are a myth.  The recent Ashley Madison hacking scandal made this abundantly clear as over 30 million people were exposed as members of a website whose primary purpose was to help men and women connect to have affairs.  This exposure has left millions of homes and marriages shaken, and some broken beyond repair.
These 30 million people were lured into this trap under the promise of anonymity. “No one will ever know” was the promise/lie that led them to take this step. Now they find themselves exposed for all the world to see.
But what if this hack never happened? What if today 30 million people were still “secretly” pursuing an affair? No matter how secret your sins appear, Hosea makes it very clear that secrecy is a myth.
You may be able to hide your sin from your spouse, friends, or family. You may be able to keep those things in the dark, but ultimately, you are entirely exposed when it comes to God.  “He sees them all.”  “Small” sins or the big disgusting sins like Ashley Madison are all the same to a holy God.
Though we would like to point fingers at those on “the list” the truth is all of us have been laid bare before God.  Nothing is hidden.  This is why we all need Jesus.  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23)
None are innocent.  To know Christ is to be honest about our sin and struggle.  To turn from it and to run into the merciful, forgiving, loving arms of God.  There we can find healing, forgiveness, and strength to go to war against the devil and the sinful tug of the flesh. So before you begin pointing fingers of accusation or boldly declaring “they’re getting what they deserve” stop and realize these men and women who have had their sins exposed to the world need Jesus to cleanse them…and so do you.

Advent Devotion 19 – The Purpose of Christmas

Today’s Reading – John 4-6

John 3:16-18 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Christmas is the ultimate display of the love of God for the world.  When we were lost in darkness and depravity, He saw fit to send His one and only Son to live, die, and rise from the dead so that we could be saved.  Christmas is about the gospel.  You and I were lost in sin and separated from God.  No amount of good works or attempts to earn God’s favor would ever be enough to bridge the gap between our sin and His holiness.  God would have been entirely justified to leave us in our condition and condemn us to hell.  Yet in His great love, grace, and mercy, He saw fit to send Jesus.  When He came and died upon the cross, Jesus paid the penalty for the sin of the world.  The penalty for all past, present, and future sin was placed upon Jesus as He hung on the cross.  It is this sacrifice that allows God to remain entirely just while forgiving us.  Our sin must be paid for, and the Gospel tells us that Jesus is willing to pay our debt.  To refuse the free gift of salvation means we are still obligated to pay the penalty ourselves.  To receive the gift of salvation through repentance and faith results in our debt being paid, and not only this, but the righteousness of Jesus Christ is then credited to our account so that as God looks at us, He no longer sees our sin, but the very righteousness of Christ.  This is the Gospel.  This is the reason Christmas is such a joyous time to celebrate.  Jesus’ birth set into motion the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan, and because of this we worship Him!

Have you received the free gift of salvation?  Maybe someone you know recommended you visit this site today.  Maybe you came across this blog entry by accident.  The truth is, the fact that you are here and reading these words is a display of the grace of God on your life.  Maybe you’ve heard the gospel before.  Maybe you’ve been in church your whole life. Maybe you’ve been running from God.  Wherever you find yourself today, if the truth of the Gospel is striking something deep within you, don’t turn a deaf ear.  If the Holy Spirit is stirring your heart, the correct response is to repent and believe.  Repent means to turn from your current way of life.  Turn from your rebellious and sinful ways, and allow the Spirit of God to transform you from the inside out.  Place your faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and the Bible says you will be saved.  You will go from death and separation from God to salvation, eternal life with God when this life ends, and abundant life today as you walk with Him.

If you have questions about the Gospel or how you can be saved, please feel free to contact me directly through e-mail at abeal@colonialheights.org or by calling our church office at (601)-956-5000.  Even if I am not available by phone, there will be someone here who can share with you the hope we have in Christ and why Christmas is such a joyous time of celebration for those who know Him in a saving way.

Rest in Jesus,

Andy