“Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
‘Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began,
That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
And to remember His holy covenant,
The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.’”
Did the Lord Make Us Serve God in Holiness and Righteousness?
Christmas is a day we commemorate and celebrate that the Lord God came in the flesh of man to this earth to save all mankind from all their sins. I am very thankful to the Lord because we get to share the Word of prophecy about the birth of Messiah.
We are living in truly difficult times. It’s already been over 2,000 years since our Lord came to this earth and saved all sinners through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and there are signs all around of His Second Coming. Therefore, it is worthwhile for us to think about the Lord’s birth together with His Second Coming in this Christmas season. Thus, we have very strange feelings and are excited.
If we really just commemorated the day that the Lord came to this earth, it would suffice for us to just joyfully celebrate His birth singing, “Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King.” But now that the signs of the Lord’s Second Coming have drawn very near as this generation shows evidence of the last days, it seems that our hearts are alternating between joy and sorrow as we celebrate this Christmas. The world is gloomy when we look at it, but our hearts are joyful and glad when we think of our Lord’s birth. We don’t know how many more times we will have Christmas in the future, but we must constantly commemorate and spread the Lord’s birth, His Second Coming, and the gospel of the water and the Spirit that He gave until He comes to this earth again.
We just read Luke 1:67-75 today. This passage is the prophecy of Zacharias, John the Baptist’s father. He, inspired by the Holy Spirit, was praising the Lord. Whom was Zacharias praising in his prophecy? He was prophesying and praising Jesus Christ. He was praising that Jesus Christ would come to this earth and make us who believe in God serve the Lord all the days of our lives in holiness and righteousness without fear. What he said means that all the Words of promise made to Abraham in the Old Testament were thoroughly fulfilled.
John the Baptist’s father, Zacharias, was a person born to the house of the High Priests Aaron. Zacharias was a priest picked by God according to the rules and regulations of the Tabernacle System of the Old Testament era, and he was performing the duties of a priest for the people of Israel. He was well aware of the prophecies in the Old Testament that would be fulfilled by God’s Providence. He was also a person who experienced the hand of God sending John the Baptist through the body of his wife before the birth of Jesus Christ. God sent John the Baptist to this earth six months before Jesus Christ came. Jesus Christ came in the New Testament era to fulfill all the prophecies of the Old Testament. John the Baptist was God’s servant who was used to transfer the sins of the world onto Jesus Christ so that He could fulfill the promises of the Scriptures.
John the Baptist was the last High Priest of the Old Testament and the person whom Jesus witnessed of as “the greatest man born of women.” John the Baptist was the representative of mankind and the person who was to transfer the sins of the world to Jesus Christ. John the Baptist was born into this world by the power of God. All of these things were fulfilled by God: That the Baby Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit; that Jesus who is God and the Savior was born on this earth as the Savior of mankind; and that John the Baptist was born six months prior to Jesus’ birth―all these were realized by God. That’s why Zacharias praised Him.
Zacharias actually became mute because he didn’t believe the Word of God that the angel delivered to him at first. The angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias in the Sanctuary and spoke to him. “Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.” But Zacharias didn’t believe this and stood there with his mouth hanging open. So, the angel said to him, “You will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place.”
Later, John the Baptist was born through Zacharias’ wife, Elizabeth. It was the custom of the Israelites for a father to name his child. Since Zacharias was mute for ten months, Elizabeth asked him what to name the child after she gave birth to him. Zacharias asked for a writing tablet and wrote on it, “His name is John.” However, the name John was not one in his family. By the way, Zacharias was prophesying that we would be saved from darkness by the birth of his son, John, and the birth of the Baby Jesus a little bit later. He said that the Baby Jesus who came as the Savior of mankind would make us such that we “might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.” Because of Jesus Christ all people who believe in God put on holiness before God and become His children by being saved. They put on the righteousness of God and live before Him without fear.
Zacharias gave praises of prophecy in that manner. The Holy Spirit inspired him so that he prophesied and praised God, saying, “Jesus Christ will come to eliminate all people’s sins, and He will make them holy. He will also make them the children of God and make them live before Him without fear all the days of their lives and forever.” Jesus Christ is the Person who makes us stand before God without fear, makes us God’s children, and makes us sinless people whose hearts are holy. Zacharias knew through the Spirit the Baby Jesus who was to come in six months, and he praised Jesus Christ by writing a poem.
The Baby Jesus was the Son of God who came to save all humankind from all their sins. He is our Savior and God. Concerning the question of who made us holy, the answer is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He gave us the Law and He made us who believe in God’s righteousness into holy people before Him by cleansing us of all our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God made us live forever as holy people. How could we become holy people in God’s sight if it were not for the gospel of the water and the Spirit? How could we dare to insist that we could become holy and clean by our endeavors of the flesh? All of this holiness can come about through Jesus Christ who is God, and that’s the way it’s turned out. If not for God, it would be impossible for us to become holy people. Since we, through Jesus Christ, have become God’s children by putting on holiness with faith, and by putting on God’s righteousness, we are now able to stand before God without fear and praise His righteousness.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and He made us. Jesus Christ told us what is right, what is sin, and what the gospel of the water and the Spirit is in order to make us holy all at once through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and to make us live forever in holiness before God. He took all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, taught us what the righteousness and love of God are, and saved us all at once from all the sins of the world through the salvation of baptism and the Cross that constitutes the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
By giving us salvation that contains God’s righteousness, He made us fearless before God, made us praise God who gave us salvation, and made us live gloriously forever. Jesus Christ came to this earth as the Son of God the Father and as our Savior. Jesus Christ made us able to live by becoming God’s holy children without fear before the Holy Trinity that came to us in the Spirit of holiness. We have received the grace of eternal salvation from God by believing in Jesus Christ through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
How Could the Fear in Our Hearts Disappear?
It is through God’s righteousness, not by our own strength, that we are able to live without fear before God, that we have become the righteous without any sins in our hearts, and that we have become God’s children. It would be absolutely impossible without God’s righteousness. Our very existences would not have come to pass if not for God’s righteousness, and there could be nothing before our eyes without God. So, because of the righteousness of God, He has given us holiness from sin through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He makes those who believe His children, and gives blessings so that they can live joyfully before Him without fear.
Zacharias told the people at that time through the Spirit that God gave these blessings to those who believe in His righteousness and all those who are the descendants of Abraham by faith. That’s right. How can we praise this way if not for God? If not for God, how could we live before Him without fear? The question is: “How could we who cannot help but live in sin out of our weakness live without fear if not for God’s righteousness?” Because of His righteousness, we are able to live without fear through it. We who believe can become absolutely sinless and holy righteous by Jesus Christ receiving the transference of all our sins through the baptism He received from John the Baptist.
All this grace that the Lord has given us was due to God’s righteousness. That’s right. Just as Zacharias made all of these praises by putting on the fullness of the Spirit, we can also live by praising God’s righteousness by the same faith. We can now live a life that returns glory to God. That is truly the case. Since being saved from sin, putting on holiness, and living before God without fear are all due to God’s righteousness, let’s once again think of God this Christmas and the salvation and much grace that was given us by Him, and let’s give thanks before Him once again. My fellow believers, you cannot just be thankful merely for Jesus’ coming to this earth. In order to give us holiness, God put on the flesh of man and came to this earth. He pulled us from sin, destruction, damnation, darkness, and despair so that those who believe in Him could live before Him without fear. We are always thankful for and think of this grace of God.
We must think of and be thankful for the grace of salvation God has given us, no matter what situation we are in. We must become people who meditate on it and are thankful for it from the depths of our souls, just like Zacharias did. We can’t have our hearts swell, be light-hearted, and just think, “Wow, Christmas is here. I’d better have some fun today.” When Christmas arrives, above all else, we must first think of all the grace God has given us. We must be thankful for the love of God’s righteousness. We must write new hymns and praise God’s righteousness. We must also be thankful once again for the grace of salvation with which He saved us from sin, and we must be thankful for His love. I hope that we can use this Christmas as an opportunity to once again be thankful that God has given us the grace of salvation to be able to live without fear with the holiness and righteousness He gave us. Then, this Christmas will become a very beneficial one. We can never forget this, no matter when and no matter what situations we are in. We must never forget the grace of the Lord with which God loved us, gave us holiness, gave us His righteousness, and gave us the blessing to be able to live without fear.
It doesn’t mean much to agonize over what we can do to repay all the grace that has been given us, think of some new way to do so, and make the pledge to do that this year. People usually like new things, but what is truly precious is really old. New things aren’t precious; what is truly precious is that which hasn’t changed even though it’s been around for a long, long time. God’s eternal salvation and His eternal love are still the most precious things in our hearts. We in this generation, too, think of and are thankful for this salvation that was totally accomplished out of God’s love, and we should be thankful for the blessings He gave us long, long ago.
There is a proverb that goes, “Friends and wine improve with age.” They say that the older something is, the more precious it is. As we celebrate this Christmas, we must think dearly of God who existed before the creation of the heavens and the earth and who, therefore, made the universe and us a very long time ago. We must be thankful for His salvation, the holiness He has given us, and His righteousness. God planned and achieved our salvation through Jesus Christ a very long time ago in order to make us live before Him without fear. He gave His blessings and love to those who believe in His wonderful salvation.
In this Christmas season, we must once again think of the blessed love with which God loved us since a very long time ago and give thanks once again for that eternal and truly precious grace of the Lord. Our hearts are truly full of God’s grace, just as Zacharias praised the Lord while filled with the Holy Spirit. Today’s world has changed quite a lot, but we are truly thankful and our hearts are full beyond measure because of the love of our Lord and this Word of God that was given to us a long time ago. Our hearts are full of joy and peace because of God. My fellow believers, I hope you truly have joy and are thankful, unshaken, and satisfied because of God.
There is no reason for us to be unsatisfied for we have the righteousness of God. We are unsatisfied and have fallen into our own useless thoughts if we don’t have the God of righteousness. But we are satisfied when we think of the God of righteousness, even if we live in a shack. We rejoice and are satisfied with the Lord even if we own nothing. But if we think of something without God’s righteousness and live without Him, things are hard and we are unsatisfied with everything. However, God always makes us rich in our hearts. If we attend on Him and serve Him, we are always rich.
I hope that we’ll all spend this Christmas thinking of and being thankful for God’s righteousness, His love, and all the blessings that He has given us. Let’s enjoy watching the Christmas plays and praise the Lord with hearts of children this Christmas. I also became an actor, prepared for Christmas plays, and sang Christmas carols a long time ago. Those adult brothers among us say they couldn’t prepare well because they are very busy, but they finished without practicing much because they have innate skills. Let’s watch together to see how they do.
Since they were busy, as soon as they met to practice, they told one another they were good, so they wouldn’t need to practice long. They just looked at the script one time through, each practiced their parts on their own, and went through it together for just a short time. It was unavoidable because their jobs are so busy. But they will probably do well with their wisdom and quick spontaneity from their life-long experiences. I’m excited to see it, anyway. I believe that not just the adult brothers but also the middle school students, high school students, young adults, and the adult sisters will also show wonderful and satisfactory performances. I hope that we do everything for the glory of God, whether we present a Christmas play, sing praises, preach the gospel, eat, drink, or whatever we do.
I think a lot of people will come into God’s Church this Christmas because this generation is gloomy. A long time ago, people who didn’t usually come out to church all came to church on Christmas. The elderly and those who believe in Confucianism came to church on Christmas. It seems that this generation is like that. Christmas is a day when those who had chided us before and those who live near us might come. It is a day we preach sermons, too, but it is also a day we give good food, a day people can see some Christmas plays for free, and a day when people’s hearts are merry and joyous for some reason.
Therefore, people who don’t believe in Jesus will come to God’s Church in crowds. There will be some of your parents who didn’t believe, listen to the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and see some Christmas plays. Some of them will accept Jesus as their Savior after being touched by the Holy Spirit like Zacharias. I hope that you really prepare and pray for the feast of Christmas Eve in all sincerity and faith for the glory of God.
My fellow believers, Christmas is approaching and the world is in agitation. So I admonish you to not follow the world, go crazy, and go completely out into it. It’s useless going out into the world. Let’s just live together in grace and glory while eating a lot of food spiritually and physically in the Church. I hope that the sisters will especially make a lot of tasty food this Christmas.