Birth of Christ: From Baby to Birthing a New Creation
We at times, because of the historical focus on the fact Jesus for a period of time, was an infant, miss the extraordinary meaning and implication of His birth.
Many think of “baby Jesus,” while Satan and his human followers knew the difference. There’s a reason an attempt was made on the life of Jesus when He was young; the Devil knew He was the true King that was spoken of in the Scriptures, and Herod was threatened because he thought of it as a threat to his regional power.
Either way, reports of a new king being born generated outrage and fear. With the undertone of the people being in acknowledgement of the new king being born, the immediate response was to kill Him before He had a chance to exercise His earthly authority, and then delegate His authority to those that put their faith in Him after His sacrificial death, burial and resurrection.
Herod knew the baby was considered to be the Messiah
Understand, Herod, while protective of his power among the Jews, knew that this was Christ that was reportedly born. Matthew 2:4 says that after he was queried about the King of the Jews being born by the wise men, he gathered together the scribes and chief priest in order to tell him where Christ was born.
After being outmaneuvered by the God and the wise men, in anger Herod had all the male children two years old and younger in Bethlehem and the surrounding area to be murdered.
The hope was the broad net would capture and bring about the death of the Christ child.
Christians know about the salvation that came about because of the work of Jesus on the cross, but fewer know about the greatness of that salvation, in the sense of what it initiated when Jesus Christ ascended to heaven and sent the Spirit to dwell within those that put their faith in Him.
We can’t ever underestimate the cost to Jesus to secure our salvation from sins, but that was only the beginning of the work He did on the cross. Yes, He had to deal with the sin issue; we had to be justified before we could move on with the purpose God had for mankind from before the foundation of the world.
The best way I can think of communicating it is we had to be saved and justified in order to bring us back to the eternal purpose of God, which was to be image bearers of Him on the earth. The fulness of His purpose for the people of God is that we are to be conformed to His image.
In other words, salvation brings us back onto the path of what God had in mind when planning and initiating the creation of the world and the people that were meant to have dominion over it.
The image of God
So far it shouldn’t be too hard to understand what is being said. Where it gets more detailed is when the image of God is discussed, and what it is He is thinking when it comes to His expectations for His redeemed people.
The broad and general umbrella of God’s image include His character, His holiness and His authority.
In relationship to His people, when I talk about the character of God, I mean primarily Galatian 5:22-23 and Ephesians 5:8-10, along with 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. There is obviously more to God than that, but I see His character and way of life as tied up into the revelation embodied in these scriptures.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Concerning His holiness, His people are expected to walk in obedience to His commands. John in his first letter very clearly confirms this.
1 John 2:3-6 says:
3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Anyone that attempts to say we are no longer expected to or required to obey God’s laws, have to answer this very clear mandate from the Holy Spirit that was written down by John.
Many are confused because they don’t differentiate between justification and sanctification. Obeying the law can’t justify us before God, only the finished work on the Cross by Jesus Christ and our faith in Him and that work, makes us right with God.
Sanctification on the other hand, is the practical application of that work to the end that we are increasingly conformed to the image of God as revealed in Christ Jesus. That not only includes His character and holiness, but also dominion.
God created mankind to have dominion over, or manage the rest of creation. This is the part of the image of God that so few Christians focus on. Much of that comes from escapism theology and resistance to taking responsibility for what God has put us in charge of.
Last, it’s also because of the lack of material and training that can empower believers to take dominion over the earth. It’s our responsibility, heritage, and an aspect of the image of God we can’t escape. New Creation Civilization exists for the purpose of helping remedy these problems.
Within the boundaries and parameters of our calling in God, we as the people of God are expected to exercise dominion in all areas of life. For the vast majority of believers that means in the localities we live in.
In the person of Jesus Christ, all the things mentioned above, and more, arrived on planet earth at His birth. When He ascended to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, He came down with all of who He was and now dwells within His people by the Spirit. This is the new creation spoken of by the prophets and the apostles.
All that Christ is as a man, including His character, holiness and authority, now resides within all of those that have been truly born from above. That which is within us is expected to flow out like living water to all of the world. It starts with our justification in Christ, and expands to embrace all areas of life. Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth, not just heaven. His rule on earth is through His delegated representatives. It is time for us to start learning and preparing to exercise that dominion, with the caveat we’re to also take on His character and holiness as well.
Holiness in man is reflected in learning and walking in obedience to His commands, as is stated throughout the entire Bible.
Similar to the original command given to Adam and Eve, people were to be fruitful and multiply, filling the earth. So it is with God’s people today. Before sin the idea was the world would be filled with the image of God reflected in all that inhabited the earth. That purpose hasn’t changed. The obvious difference is now only a redeemed people can bear the image of God, and it remains the eternal purpose of God to this day, and forever, that we are to be conformed to His image.
All of this is directly associated with the new creation. The new creation isn’t like the old one, where everything was created by the word of God speaking it into existence. That creation was and is completely separate from God, even though it was expected to be in harmony with His person by His people, also a part of that creation, exercising dominion over it.
The new creation is one that is birthed by the very person of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. The King James translation identifies it as being born again. While that’s not inaccurate, it isn’t the fulness of the meaning. What it really says is we are born from above. If the new creation was thought of in terms of being born again from above, that gives a fuller expression of the meaning of the langurge from the original manuscripts.
The kingdom of God is without end, and in this age we’ll see it expand within His people and out into the world. It starts within and flows out to the world, watering it with the image of God as revealed in Christ that has been built into His people.
As we learn the ways to apply God’s word to all of life’s circumstances, the visible world will start to transition into harmony with God Himself, which it was originally intended to do before sin entered in. This will only happen as His people mature and take their responsibilities seriously in this age.
The new creation is nothing less than God taking the initiative to bring about His purpose for His people in this age. He has given us a new heart and spirit, indwells us, and will continue to work to transform us by the rewewing of our minds based upon the Holy Scriptures, with the help of the Holy Spirit always working toward His eternal purpose.
With the birth of Jesus Christ and His obedience in going to the cross and ascending into heaven, the new creation has extended from Himself to include all those that have faith in Him.
For that reason, what we think of in terms of Christmas, has far more meaning and purpose than appreciating the birth of Jesus, as important as that is.