Perhaps some of you are finding yourself rubbing up against this truth because you don’t see how something so God-centered could ever be good news for you. Is that you?
I really do believe that the reason Jesus came, underneath all other reasons the Bible gives us, is for God. But I also really do believe that it is good news for us that Jesus came firstly for God. Why? God gets the glory, we get the joy. Lets go back to Ezekiel once more to see what happens in the rest of the Ezekiel 36.
Read Ezekiel 36:25-27 to see the consequences of God having concern for His holy name…
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
When Jesus came to vindicate the holiness of God, He ushered in the New Covenant, and these verses describe in great detail the benefits of the New Covenant we receive when we place our faith in Christ. You see, you and I are people with a heart that is naturally stony and hard. Our only hope of salvation is for God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to remove our hard stony hearts and give us new hearts that are moldable and soft, fit for His forming and purposes.
What is needed is not merely a new ethical direction or a deeper resolve or decision to live a better life. What is needed is not a new set of clever strategies, or a spiritual retreat for rehabilitation seeking to make us live better lives from the same resources.
We need to become new in every meaning of the term or else there is no hope for change. The fall totally broke us, and now we find ourselves in need of a complete transformation from the inside out, and here in these verses God promises that He’ll do it. A new heart, a new Spirit, a new obedience. A change so deep in us that it effects what we desire. You know what Jesus calls this change in John 3? The new birth, being born again. This is a call for joy unspeakable – for all those who have placed their faith in Jesus have become new, and now we can say with utter confidence, “I am no longer what I once was, and by God’s work I am becoming something I never dreamed possible!
But why would He show such favor to such underserving sinners like you and I? Look at 36:32, “It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you.” Again we see, this great work of God in the Incarnation, to clear His name from being profaned, to proclaim His holiness, to give sinners exactly what we need to salvation, God does for His own glory. “Let that be known to you.”
Christmas happened firstly for God’s glory, and because of that those who place their faith in Christ are given all they need for salvation and life in Him.