Oh holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine
Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Although one rarely “pines” anymore, when I read this line, I feel hopelessness and helplessness pressing in. In Paul’s letter to the Roman church, he said: And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin…(Romans 7:18-19, 24-25) Sounds pretty hopeless. But then comes Romans 8:1 – So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
That’s where the hope comes in, and the thrill of it, allowing us to rejoice, because we belong to Jesus.
God did this because he wanted you Gentiles to understand his wonderful and glorious mystery. And the mystery is that Christ lives in you, and he is your hope of sharing in God’s glory. (Colossians 1:27)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)
Iniquities prevail against me; as for our transgressions, You forgive them. (Psalm 65:3)
How powerful is sin? When you look at the different translations of the word prevail, you find phrases like: get us down, overwhelmed, fill our hearts, too much for us. David knew he was stuck; there was nothing he could do except confess. His iniquity got him down; was overwhelmed by it; it filled his heart; and was too much for him. Sounds pretty bleak and hopeless. It should. Until Christ came, there was not an answer for the devastation of sin. For the rituals which came by the law couldn’t help: But the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. It only reminds people of their sins from one year to the next.The priests do their work each day, and they keep on offering sacrifices that can never take away sins. But Christ offered himself as a sacrifice that is good forever. (Heb 10:3, 4; 11,12)
So how ruined by sin are we? How about helpless and hopeless. That’s why Christ had to die for our sins, because nothing in this world could pay for it.
Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:12)
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)
Like David, we too have been overwhelmed by sin. But God has forgiven us through Christ. Indeed, the word forgiven is most often translated as atoned. It literally means to be covered over. And that is what Christ did for us with His blood.
Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. (Hebrews 9:14)
We are all dead in our sins. But you can find forgiveness and new life in Christ!