Peace, Love, & Joy | Overcoming the Power of Death | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 20 of 27 | December 19, 2019

The fear of death has a certain power, and that is – shortsightedness. The fear of dying, arises from the fear of unknown. It is the fear of not knowing what will happen to us after we die. The power, such fear holds on us, is one of nonchalance. It makes us care less about the future. And urges us to indulge in the present bodily pleasures. It is hedonism govern by mortality. You don’t know what happens after you die, so you might as well enjoy life while you can.

The fear of death, is the power of sin – this is the law of sin and death at play. This is one of the two laws that governs human lives; the other being the law of righteousness. (Rom 8:2) The Apostle Paul explains, you are either a slave under the law of sin, or you’re a slave under the law of righteousness. (Rom 6:15-23) The latter of which, is a status that Christ came to grant us. (Heb 2:14-15) And so, for that reason – Christ had to reincarnate as a man – to pay the debt as a man, for the sins of mankind. Because no man could meet the requirements of the law.

Piper writes, “Jesus became man because what was needed was the death of a man who was more than man. The incarnation was God’s locking himself into death row.” (pg. 39) Christmas marks this incarnation or perhaps more appropriately – incarceration. Jesus subjected Himself to the law of sin and death, that through Him we could partake in His victory over it. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1Pe 2:24, ESV) “Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.” (Rom 7:4, ESV)

Christ has overcome the power of sin and death. It means, He has granted us victory over it, and through Him, and in Him – we overcome the power of death. It means, our life after death is certain. He has secured eternity for us. If we are truly His, and if we truly believe Him, it means there is no uncertainty (after death) staring back at us. It means, fleeting moments of temporary pleasure, holds no greater sway on us, because we are confident about eternal life. It means, you are victoriously living with the whole armour of God put in place. (Eph 6:10-18) It means a life that is not indulgent in sin; which ultimately means, a life free from guilt and condemnation. In other words, overcoming the power of death means – a life of righteous living, in pursuit of holiness.

Christmas should mark a commencement of such life for you and me. Rightfully so, the Prophet Isaiah proclaimed Christ as the Father of Eternal Life. (Is 9:6) He overcame death, so you and I could begin living, as people risen in Christ.


Note: All of Piper’s quotations are from “Good News of Great Joy”


Read previous entries in this Series:

(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas (ii) December 1: Prepare the Way (iii) December 2: Mary’s Magnificent God (iv) December 3: The Confidence of Redeeming Hope (v) December 4: A Big God for Little People (vi) December 5: What He Willed to do (vii) December 6: Peace to those with whom He is pleased (viii) December 7: Messiah of all (ix) December 8: Christ is Central in Christmas(x) December 9: Two Kinds of Oppositions (xi) December 10: Our Treasure (xii) December 11: Why Jesus came (xiii) December 12: Replacing the Shadows (xiv) December 13: Christ, the Real Thing, the Perfect Priest (xv) December 14: Making Transformation Real (xvi) December 15: Abundant Life (xvii) December 16: An Unlikely Route to Victory (xviii) December 17: Freedom & Joy Secured in Him (xix) December 18: Pass Me Not

Peace, Love, & Joy | Pass Me Not | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 19 of 27 | December 18, 2019

Pass me not, O gentle Savior, hear my humble cry; While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.” – Fanny Crosby[1]

The greatest danger to our faith is not a hostile government. Our danger is not even our trials and tribulations. Our danger is not a failure in our private business venture. It is not a failure in our career. It is also not a broken marriage, home, or family. It is not social evils, ostracization, or any form of discrimination. The greatest danger to our faith is none of these. The greatest danger to our faith is disbelief.

Rev. C. B. Samuels in his sermon “Nevertheless: The Government is on His shoulders[2] expressed how we forfeit the joy of Salvation every year. (Is 9:3) Because we only want to celebrate the baby Jesus on Christmas. Because we do not want to confront Jesus the Son on whose shoulder the government will be established. (Is 9:6)

There are two reasons why we don’t want to confront the Son on Christmas. First, we don’t want to confront out sins. And second, we don’t want to submit to God.

The message of the advent was/is clear and simple: “repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Mat 3:2, NLT) The response to this message is same now, as it was when John the Baptist preached. Some stepped forward, repented, and were baptized. And some malign the very act by their mere presence. A majority of us fall on the second lot. This is how we forfeit eternal life, and its inherent joy. We take comfort in the fact that we are born (brought up) in a Christian household, or lived in a Christian community, or know a Christian, et cetera. We take false refuge in the fact that we identify as Christians – which automatically immune us from eternal damnation. The Baptist retort “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.” (Mt 3:8-9, NLT)

The second half of the message, is the announcement of YHWH’s Sovereign Rule. “The Kingdom of Heaven is neara son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders.” (Mt 3:2, Is 9:6, NLT) YHWH not only demands submission, but He declares, He is going to take it. But we don’t want to give up control. We don’t trust God enough to satisfy all our needs. We don’t want to submit to Him. We want to be the God of our own lives. And so, we forfeit the entire Kingdom of God.

Christ concluded this reality, in clear coherent words to Nicodemus. “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God… I assure you; no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.” (Jn 3:3, 3:5-6. NLT) Let us pray, and seek Christ, that the Holy Spirit would regenerate our hearts and save us from our own disbelief. So that we could repent, be a part of His Kingdom.


[1] https://mereorthodoxy.com/reading-the-hymns-pass-me-not-o-gentle-savior-2/

[2] Delhi Bible Fellowship South, 15th December 2019


Read previous entries in this Series:

(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas (ii) December 1: Prepare the Way (iii) December 2: Mary’s Magnificent God (iv) December 3: The Confidence of Redeeming Hope (v) December 4: A Big God for Little People (vi) December 5: What He Willed to do (vii) December 6: Peace to those with whom He is pleased (viii) December 7: Messiah of all (ix) December 8: Christ is Central in Christmas(x) December 9: Two Kinds of Oppositions (xi) December 10: Our Treasure (xii) December 11: Why Jesus came (xiii) December 12: Replacing the Shadows (xiv) December 13: Christ, the Real Thing, the Perfect Priest (xv) December 14: Making Transformation Real (xvi) December 15: Abundant Life (xvii) December 16: An Unlikely Route to Victory (xviii) December 17: Freedom & Joy Secured in Him

Peace, Love, & Joy | An Unlikely Route to Victory | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 17 of 27 | December 16, 2019

He makes tactical retreats in order to win strategic victories.” – John Piper (pg. 33)

Wouldn’t the forces of evil celebrate when Jesus broke breath on the cross? They certainly would have. But that is the thing with God, His ways are higher than our ways – and His way to victory is through apparent defeat. “What an unlikely route to victory” Piper exclaimed. (pg. 34) Indeed it is. And these ‘tactical retreats to strategic victories’ is more apparently seen in Joseph’s life. He was first, disowned by his family, second, sold as a slave, third, wrongly accused, fourth, locked in prison. Joseph’s life is nowhere near to our definition of blessed. But little did we know, Joseph’s misfortunes were ordained by our Sovereign God to raise him as an authoritative figure. God raised Joseph up (in Egypt) to deliver Israel through famine. What looked like a lost life, was a divinely ordained ‘tactical retreat to a strategic victory’.

Piper notes: “But that is God’s way — even for his Son. He emptied himself and took the form of a slave. Worse than a slave — a prisoner — and was executed.” (pg. 34) “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Php 2:9-10, ESV) But most importantly, this is also what God desires from us; that we suffer along with Him to Glory. “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” (Rom 8:17, NLT)

Albert Barnes writes, “It does not mean that we suffer to the same extent that he did, but we may imitate him in the kind of our sufferings, and in the spirit with which they are borne; and thus show that we are united to him.”[1] In other words, suffering with Christ is not a matter of degree or likeness to what Christ suffered for us. It is also not about repaying our gratitude to Him. But suffering with Christ is a practical demonstration of our unity in Him – that we think like Him, and be like Him; that we are thinking like Him, and being like Him.

Suffering with Christ is not about seeking conflict with non-believers, or with people who believe differently than you. Suffering with Christ is about those setbacks in life that comes with seeking righteousness, and holiness. In other words, this suffering is about pursuing godliness in a godless world. This suffering is about seeking and serving Christ, the Church, and His Kingdom in a world that despises Christ, the Church, and His Kingdom. The Apostle Paul echoes these sentiments in his letter to Timothy. I suggest reading the entire second chapter of his second letter. But I’ll quote a few scriptures from it here, to paint a brief picture of what I am saying. And I quote: “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus… Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead… as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal… Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” (2Timothy 2:3, 8-13, ESV)

But why are we talking about something so somber as suffering during Christmas? Because trouble never takes an appointment to visit us. And if, we are truly of Christ, we ought to be ever expecting of such suffering. (Jn 15:19) We celebrate the birth of Christ, because He comes to adopt us in His family. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Gal 4:4-5, ESV) And since, we are adopted, we become His. And since we are His, we are also bound to suffer for His cause. But the crux, and the matter of all these points I am making is to tell you this: Yes. If we are Christ’s, we are bound to suffer. But we shouldn’t fret. Because, this suffering in God’s way, is the unlikely route to victory. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1Peter 4:12-13, ESV)


[1] https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-8.html


Note: All of Piper’s quotations are from “Good News of Great Joy”


Read previous entries in this Series:

(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas (ii) December 1: Prepare the Way (iii) December 2: Mary’s Magnificent God (iv) December 3: The Confidence of Redeeming Hope (v) December 4: A Big God for Little People (vi) December 5: What He Willed to do (vii) December 6: Peace to those with whom He is pleased (viii) December 7: Messiah of all (ix) December 8: Christ is Central in Christmas(x) December 9: Two Kinds of Oppositions (xi) December 10: Our Treasure (xii) December 11: Why Jesus came (xiii) December 12: Replacing the Shadows (xiv) December 13: Christ, the Real Thing, the Perfect Priest (xv) December 14: Making Transformation Real (xvi) December 15: Abundant Life

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