This Christmas, people from all around the world will celebrate the birth of a baby named Jesus who was born in a manger. Yet there’s still a lot of debate about who this Jesus really is. Is he a prophet? A teacher? Or is he really God? And if he is God, then why did he come down to the world to live among us?
The Bible says that Jesus is the very physical revelation of the invisible God and the creator of all.
In his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul wrote to believers in the city of Colossae where many false teachers and beliefs were circulating in the church. One of the beliefs was a form of Gnosticism, which taught that anything that is spiritual is pure and anything physical is evil. Based on this, there was no way that God – who is spiritual and pure – could have created the world – which is evil.
Paul reminds the believers in Colossae that Jesus is the one and only God, the creator of all. “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)
Paul also reminds them about who they are in light of their relationship with Jesus and the hope they have because of this. He tells them: your faith and love springs out of “the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you.” (v. 5-6)
The word “hope” here isn’t being used the same way we use it in our 21st century language. It’s not simply a desire or wishful thinking such as, “I hope one day I’ll get married” or “I hope I get a better job.”
The Apostle Paul uses this word “hope” to mean that which is absolutely certain, definite and true about a future event.
Everyone has hope in something or someone. For some of us, our hope is in our marriages, our money, or kids. But the things and people of this world will always disappoint us. Even if we put our hope only in ourselves – our skills and abilities – at some point, we will let ourselves down, too!
But God wanted to give each one of us a hope that never disappoints! And that hope is in Jesus. No matter what we’re going through, we can have this certain hope!
Before Jesus left to go back to heaven, he told his disciples then and now, “Do not let your heart not be troubled … My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)
In other words, we have a hope of heaven and that some day Christ is going to return. This is a hope that can’t change! It’s stored up for us in heaven because this is where Christ is.
How do we know this? It’s in the Gospel, which means “good news.” And the good news is this: God loves us and wants to have a personal, intimate relationship with us forever.
To make this relationship possible, God came in the form of a little baby – fully man and fully God. He grew up and lived a perfect, sinless life. He revealed what the Father looked like. And then for no crime he committed, he hung on a cross and died to pay for the sins of all people for all time. “…That whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
So as we celebrate Christmas this year, let’s meditate on this truth – that we have an eternal hope that doesn’t disappoint and a new life because of Christ our Lord.
This week, we begin a series entitled “What Child Is This: The Baby That Changed the World.” In it, we will get a snapshot of Christmas from heaven’s perspective. We’ll discover why Jesus came to the world, who He really is, and what He really wants us to receive this Christmas. It’s my prayer that as we enter this Christmas season, we’ll remember the hope and eternal gift we have in Christ – the light of the world!
Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Chip Ingram, Teaching Pastor
Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip