Glory to God

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:14)

Last week we spoke of the Shepherds of Bethlehem and how an angel appeared and announced the birth of the Christ Child. “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 1:10-11) After which a heavenly host of angels appeared and praised God that the Savior had been given to man. Even as my eyes have not seen I am awe struck by this marvelous scene. I can imagine the whole sky about them being fill with the light of the glory of God as the angels sang across the heavens “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:14) How could one not fall down to worship the Lord God Almighty at such a display of beauty and power?

Glory to God in the highest for the incarnation of the Son has now been made known to man that the glories of God’s nature may be known unto man. That man now through the work of the Son many be reconciled unto God and to each other and live in peace. Through Jesus the glory of God in the highest heavens will now be known to man and not only to the lowly shepherds but to all men. This was not only the greatest of gifts to men but also to the angels themselves as the enduring mercy of God’s Divine nature could now be known in its fullness and the angels had a newness of events for them to look into. “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things into which angels long to look.” (1 Peter 1:12)

The incarnation of Jesus Christ is of great interest to the angels as it is of a great eternal benefit. Now Heaven and earth can enjoy the fellowship that is establish through the union of the spirit and in the end result man and the angels will become one family. “From whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.” (Ephesians 3:15-16)

Since the fall in the Garden of Eden man has been an enemy of God. Man has been in rebellion towards God’s Word and engaged in an affair with the world. Man has fallen hopelessly into the traps of his sinful nature. Man is caught in his own fleshly desires. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16)

But the angels above the pastures of Bethlehem have made know unto man a Savior has been given to man that he can become reconciled to God and have a restored relationship with Him. When we love God and have His love within us we also love one another. The trouble for man is that he has no peace between him and his Creator. The same as when we sin against our brother there is no true peace between us. When we are disobedient to God there is no true peace between us. But through Christ we can be reconciled unto God and have peace in our conscience. As we receive forgiveness through the work of Jesus we learn to show forgiveness towards one another. It is a state of goodwill that we have between us and our neighbors. Even when they are not like minded in the love of Christ we can have a state of goodwill that we desire to love them into the paths of righteousness for the glory of God. “So you will walk in the way of good men And keep to the paths of the righteous.” (Proverbs 2:20)

There can be no peace until the trespasses have been removed. There can be no clear conscience until the guilt has been removed. When we have accepted the blood of Jesus that washes away the stain of our sin, when we have received His forgiveness and God remembers our sin no more. “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12) We experience a freedom from the past and a hope for the future. This is salvation from the world that we have joy in our soul and peace in our spirit. It is a life of eternal felicity. Our repentance places the Kingdom of God at our hand. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)

This is why the angels were singing glory to God in the highest. And praising Him that because of the Child in the manger there could be peace among men. Because the Child in the manger would reconcile men unto God by shedding His blood for our atonement. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

When the sinner is atoned, he comes to a state of peace with God. He lays aside his desire to rebel against God’s Word and commits his spirit unto the Lord. By his trust and faith in Jesus, by serving Him and not the world, he receives all the spiritual blessings that God has promised. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3)

We have in the past lived our lives in the physical desires that we have become accustomed to in this world. The follower of Jesus soon realizes that life here is just for the moment and the larger life is soon to come. We shed the desire of the flesh and in faith walk in His Spirit. We lay aside are differences caused by the old way of malice, pride, lust, passion, and covetousness. We learn life to live in the fruit of His Spirit which He gives us. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

The world cries for peace and then rejects the truth. Jesus came to testify to the truth, for He is the truth. “Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37) If the truth was taught, if people would walk in that truth, if all followed Jesus in faith, then there would be no more wars and all would live in His given peace. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)

We are now making are preparations for Christmas morning. That most exciting time when we gather round the Christmas tree and exchange gifts with our loved ones. We clutch the gifts and tear off the wrapping and marvel at the prize given to us by a loved one. We marvel, we smile, we are filed with joy, and we are thankful. Then in great anticipation we watch as one opens a gift that we have given. We watch their excitement and fight back a tear of joy as a smile flashes across their face. Yes Christmas is a most wonderful time of the year. I spent many a Christmas morn on the stair steps wondering why my parents were not us a 3 AM as I was to attack the tree. In later years I spent many an hour on the steps wondering why my kids were not up at 3 AM to attack the tree.

Let us not this year forget the love of a Heavenly Father who gave to each a gift so great that the angels sang praises to His name across the heavens. He gave us a Savior that we might be reconciled unto our Creator. That we could live in a state of forgiveness and have peace in our spirits. And let us not forget that if we truly desire that all should have the peace that passes all understanding, that we will want to share the joy of being forgiven, and that we want to share God’s love with each and every one, then let us be sure to give them the greatest gift, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the new born King. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, December 16, 2015

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