There is a strong sense within our hearts that there must be more to this life than just this life. As the writer of Ecclesiastes says, God has “set eternity in the hearts of men.” We can try to ignore this longing or bury it under a flurry of activity, but in our quietest moments, that still, small voice can be heard. The reason why we often don’t feel at home in this world is that this world is not our ultimate home.
There are two important aspects to the theology of forgiveness. The first aspect is that God forgives. The second aspect is that the people of God—the communion of the saints—is the platform on which the forgiveness of God is made visible to the world around us. We believe only through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ and repentance from sin can one be reconciled to God and experience true life and joy.
In our culture, many people see the church as nothing more than a building or an institution. However, the church was originally intended to be a movement. It has become fashionable to say, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” Far too many Christians have embraced faith in Christ but walked away from His family. We can never be the people we are called to be if we try to live out our faith apart from the church.
Just before his crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples that he was about to leave but that God would send “another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of Truth.” The coming of the Spirit represented a significant change in God’s way of impacting the world: Jesus was “Emmanuel”—God with us—but the Holy Spirit is God in us. When Jesus walked the earth, God’s presence in this world was subject to the limitations of time and space. But today, the Holy Spirit indwells all true believers. God’s presence goes wherever his people go.
The baby in a manger is also the King who lives today and is coming again one day—not as an infant, but as the King of all. In our times of hope and uncertainty, it is good for us to remember that sin, death, injustice and pain will not have the last word. Jesus will have the last word, and it will be good