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Advent Dec 6: ‘Tis the Season…for Forgiveness

• Sam Hodges

Posted in Advent, Devotions, Forgiveness

Advent Reading: John 1:19-34

Reflection: 'Tis the Season...for Forgiveness

You know it’s the holiday season when:

  • Your kids keep irritating you, and you keep yelling at them because they won’t leave you alone, to worry in peace, about what your mom will say about your house when she visits for Christmas.
  • You go to a friend’s Christmas party and leave filled with bitterness and envy because he has a better job than you, nicer house than you, and better-behaved kids than you. And, to top it off, your wife thinks he’s a great guy!
  • Seeing couples and families at the mall, enjoying the holidays, magnify your feelings of loneliness so much that you make a choice you later regret.

Isn’t it strange that the celebration of Christ’s first coming tends to be the occasion for so much sin? Whether it’s being too busy for God, spending more money than you should, turning to food to soothe your anxieties, or cursing out someone who takes your parking space at the mall—somehow, you’re bound to sin against God (and others) this holiday season. And when you do, remind yourself of what John the Baptist said when he saw Jesus:

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

But this verse can do more than comfort you after you’ve sinned. If you keep it at the forefront of your thinking, it can help keep you from sin. Here are two reasons why. John 1:29 reminds us that:

Sin Has Consequences

The ultimate consequence of sin is death. And Jesus suffered that consequence for us. That’s why John calls him the lamb of God. Under the Old Covenant, lambs were sacrificed for sin. So describing Jesus as a “lamb” speaks to the fact that Jesus would be offered as a sacrifice and die a brutal death for you.

But that ultimate consequence of our sin also reminds you of the ripple effects of sin that Christ’s death doesn’t exempt you from. For example, we reap what we sow. So we can’t escape the corrupting effects of sin (Galatians 6:7 & 8). Or, as Proverbs teaches, you cannot put fire (sin) into your lap without being burned (Proverbs 6:27).

No matter how “small” or “unnoticed” your sins are this holiday season, never think that they are not serious matters. Christ was crushed for your sins, and you can’t escape the intermediate consequences of them, so avoid sin at all costs.

Your Sin Has Been Taken Away

As a result of Christ’s suffering, your sins have been removed from you. As John 1:29 says, “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Perhaps reminding yourself of this truth can shield you from being discouraged by the things you don’t have, or the things that don’t go your way this holiday season. As Psalm 32:1-2 states, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity.”

Christ’s sacrifice has addressed your greatest need, so you can rejoice over your forgiveness and present your other needs and desires to him, trusting that his response will be wise and best.

May the reality of God’s forgiveness comfort you when we sin and also keep you from it.

Sam Hodges

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