God created the world and all was well. The situation changed when the enemy of souls tempted Eve in to taking fruit from the tree of good and evil. The woman did not have the strength to resist the temptation. Instead she took the fruit and ate it. Then she gave it to her husband and he ate it also.
God called the fallen ones and spoke to them. The Lord cursed the snake and put enmity between the seed of the snake and seed of the wife. At the same time, God informed that the wife’s seed would crush the head of the snake.
This was the promise of salvation and redemption of which the Father and Son had spoken about from the beginning of time: “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” (Ps. 2:7-8). The son willingly promised to fulfill the Father’s will (Ps. 40:9).
In the falling, God’s image in man was corrupted and man found favor in evil. He did not love God, only himself and the world. The Apostle Paul states that there is no good in him, because sin lives in his flesh and blood.
Many people have searched for peace in their conscience without understanding that man is saved only through faith, grace and Jesus Christ. Without this understanding, they may have searched for the gracious God through their own work, prayer, reading the Bible or practicing good deeds.
Only through Christ
The heavenly Father’s love, God’s grace and living faith are inseparably connected to Jesus, who is our salvation. Paul writes to the Corinthians: “that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5:19).
God’s grace approaches man through the pardoned sinner or preacher of the Holy Spirit. The sin-distressed one is directed to the redeemer of all sins: Jesus. In the preaching of the gospel, God bestows faith with which He cleanses the heart. The servants, believing people, put on the finest clothing of the begotten child. It is the wedding garment, righteousness, which Jesus has prepared for every person.
We watch in faith
Jesus’ birth is the largest event in the history of the world. But it is even more than that. If Jesus hadn’t been born, no person would obtain everlasting life. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23).
The prophets’ predictions of the Messiah came true literally in the birth of the Redeemer on the first Christmas, in his public work, in suffering on Good Friday and dying on the cross, and in the victorious resurrection and ascension into heaven.
The New Testament children of God wait in faith, watching, for that day when Jesus will come a second time to Earth. Then he will not redeem anyone anymore. Then he will give each one their fair judgement. The Father’s blessed ones will be called to everlasting glory in heaven, but the cursed ones will end up in eternal damnation. Only God knows when the last day will come.
Born of the virgin Mary
God had chosen the virgin Mary to mother His own son. The angel told the young Mary: “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:31,35).
The believer Josef, who had secretly planned to abandon his pregnant fiancée, received a message from the angel: “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:20-21).
Many deny that Jesus was born of a virgin. Man’s reason cannot comprehend the myst ery of faith. Faith opens up understanding. God’s Son was without sin, holy and pure from the time of conception. Jesus Christ’s redemption work covers the whole life of a person: from the beginning moments in the mother’s womb to the last moment before death. Life is a unique miracle and gift from God, for which man is responsible to this giver of life.
Jesus redeemed our sins
On Good Friday, Jesus Christ was before God and cried out in pain: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” With his last words the Redeemer said: “It is fulfilled.” With love for all people, Jesus suffered, died on the cross, shed his blood and fulfilled on their behalf God’s demanding law. Without the shedding of blood there is not forgiveness of sins.
Paul taught the Galatians: “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” (Gal. 4:4-5).
God encouraged his own already through Isaiah: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isa. 43:1-2).
On the third day Jesus arose from the dead to make us righteous. Through the resurrection he won over the power of sin and death. In this way Jesus made us acceptable to God and opened the way to heaven to those who believe the word of salvation.
Translation: Angela Hänninen
Published: Vuosikirja Tulevaisuuteen ja toivoon, SRK 2000. This text is shortened.
Poikkeusolojen vuoksi radion ja netin välityksellä lähetetyt Suviseurat saivat kuulijoiden palautteen perusteella positiivisen vastaanoton. Historiallisten Suviseurojen järjestelyt sujuivat suunnitelmien mukaisesti, eikä suurempia häiriöitä ilmennyt. Seurojen keskeinen sanoma välittyi kaikkialle maailmaan ja seurapuheet käännettiin yhdeksälle kielelle.