Standing for Truth and Defending Your Freedom
Standing for Truth and Defending Your Freedom

The Christmas Hope

by John Rabe

Jesus did not come to earth in order to get you into Heaven.

Does that statement shock you?

At this time of year, we rightfully celebrate the Christmas miracle. But do you fully understand the implications of that miracle?

The son of God, taking on human flesh and being born by a virgin (and His subsequent death and resurrection) is the central miracle—indeed, the central event—of all of human history.

Many Christians, when they think about their salvation eternity, think mainly about leaving the earth to go to an ethereal realm. In this common way of thinking, the creation left behind will be meaningless and irrelevant.

This is somewhat reflected even in John Newton’s wonderful and beloved hymn, “Amazing Grace.” Newton writes:

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow;
the sun forbear to shine.
But God who called me here below,
will be forever mine.

The ostensible basis for this is 2 Peter 3:10, which states, “…the elements will be destroyed with intense heat. The earth also and the works that are in it will be burned up.

However, if we read the Bible in its full context, a fuller picture emerges. In context, this fire is seen to be a burning of cleansing and purification, rather than annihilation. God, who created the universe and pronounced that “it is good,” will not simply crumple up His creation and throw it away because sin entered it. To do so would be to concede the victory to sin, death, and Satan. Rather, God will cleanse, purify, and glorify His creation—including this very earth!

The Apostle Paul tells us:

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but by the will of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Romans 8:20-21).

And in the Apostle John’s great vision to close the book of Revelation, we do not see humans leaving a destroyed earth in order to go to Heaven. Rather, we see:

. . . the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven, saying, “Look! The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them” (Revelation 21:2-3).

In the glorified eternal state, Heaven comes down to earth and God dwells with humanity. For now (before the resurrection of all believers takes place), our spirits leave our bodies to go to Heaven to be in the presence of the Lord when we die. But that is not the eternal state. It is a temporary, intermediate condition. Jesus has been raised from the dead in His body, and our own coming resurrection will be like His resurrection—body and all (Romans 6:5).

This brings us back again to the meaning of the Christmas miracle. The Son of God being born in a human body, in a stable, in the geographical city of Bethlehem, is God’s endorsement of His creation, and His promise to redeem His creation. Yes, God redeems our souls. But He redeems much more than that; He saves our bodies and the creation we inhabit, too.

As D. James Kennedy said:

The new heavens and new earth (for that will be the abode of the righteous, as the greatest of theologians have always maintained)—not merely in some Heaven above, but upon the reconstituted and paradisiacal Earth, throughout a whole new universe—will be the home of the redeemed . . . What a glorious city that will be!

This is why the work we do on earth truly matters. We are doing more than merely polishing the brass on the sinking Titanic. Our activity here is not simply something to pass the time while we wait for “real” life to begin in Heaven. God gave Adam and Eve dominion and stewardship over the created order, and we still have it today. We are to work in creation to glorify God. As one wit said, “Matter matters.” God the Son proved it by becoming flesh 2000 years ago.

While we await His return, we are to work in the real world (including politics, science, law, athletics, art, construction, education, and thousands of other spheres of human endeavor) to the Glory of God, with the assurance that our work is not in vain. We do not work in the anticipation of destruction; we work in the anticipation that when Christ returns, the angels will announce:

The kingdoms of the world have become
the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ,
and He shall reign forever and ever.
                                      Revelation 11:15