God with us BThe beauty of Advent is not just THAT He came, but WHY He came.  Immanuel is not just something God DOES, it is something God IS!  It is God’s nature to be with us!  It’s part of His character!  He longs to be with us, and He is willing to pay the highest price to have us in His Presence!  He became what we are, so that we could be reunited with Him and get to dwell with Him, continually, forever!

Our sinfulness separates us from God.  But God has not left us alone in our sin.  He has come, to us, and He has taken our sinfulness upon Himself.  This is what Immanuel means – not just that He is with us, but because of His work on our behalf, we can now be with Him!

The Incarnation of Immanuel IS the Gospel!  God became a man, so that He could take our flesh and our sin upon Himself, He could make atonement for our sin, and restore us back to relationship with God!

In Jeremiah 15:20, God says – “they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you.”

My favorite Bible verse, Zephaniah 3:17 says – The Lord your God is with you!  And He is mighty to save…

If you have never accepted the gracious gift of Immanuel’s Presence in your life – and of His saving work on your behalf, you can do that today, by faith!  His heart is to be with you, and through Jesus, He has made it possible for you to be with Him.

Your salvation journey can begin today, by turning away from your sin, and by responding in faith to Immanuel’s gracious work on your behalf to cleanse you from sin and restore your relationship with God.  That’s the first step: turn away from your sin, and turn toward God in faith in Christ Jesus.

The next step in the salvation journey is to tell somebody!  If you have decided to accept God’s gift of salvation by faith today, tell someone – today!  Tell a friend, tell a co-worker or neighbor or family member – leave a comment on this post and tell me if you want to!  Just don’t wait until tomorrow to do this important step – tell someone today!

The next steps are to start following Jesus: learn from His Word and from other mature Christians what it means to love Jesus and to live for His glory.  His promise is to fill you with His Spirit.  And as you learn to depend on His Spirit living and working in you, He will help you love and follow Jesus.

Even though Jesus has ascended into heaven, God continues to be Immanuel to us today.  This has been God’s plan and nature from the beginning.

In John 14:16-17, Jesus said – “I will ask the Father, and he will give you an advocate to help you and to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  But you know him, because he lives with you and is in you.”

The miracle of salvation – and the miracle of Advent! – is that you can experience Immanuel – God with you – perpetually, every day, for the rest of your life, in unbroken fellowship.

In Matthew 28:20, Jesus says to His followers – that includes you, if you accept His gift of salvation by faith – He says, I will be with you always, even until the end of the age.”

This is the power, the incomparable beauty, the majesty, the miracle of Advent – of the Incarnation of God becoming man – of “the God who is with us” literally coming to live as one of us: through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, He bought for us the ability to have eternal, unbroken fellowship with God.  And He promised to send His Spirit to be with us and to live in us.  Forever!

In the next post, we will look at a few of the many ways that Scripture assures us of God’s Presence with us, His pleasure at being with us, and His promise to always be with us.