December 23, 2017


If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God  through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.          —Romans 5:10–11

How do we practically receive reconciliation and exult in God? One answer is: do it through Jesus Christ. Which means, at least in part, make the portrait of Jesus in the Bible—the work and the words of Jesus portrayed in the New Testament—the essential content of your exultation over God. Exultation without the content of Christ does not honor Christ. In 2 Corinthians 4:4–6, Paul describes conversion two ways. In verse 4, he says it is seeing “the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” And in verse 6, he says it is seeing “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” In either case you see the point. We have Christ, the image of God, and we have God in the face of Christ. Practically, to exult in God, you exult in what you see and know of God in the portrait of Jesus Christ. And this comes to its fullest experience when the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, as Romans 5:5 says. So here’s the Christmas point. Not only did God purchase our reconciliation through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ (verse 10), and not only did God enable us to receive that reconciliation through the Lord Jesus Christ (verse 11), but even now, verse 11 says, we exult in God himself through our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus purchased our reconciliation. Jesus enabled us to receive the reconciliation and open the gift. And Jesus himself shines forth from the wrapping—the indescribable gift—as God in the flesh, and stirs up all our exultation in God. Look to Jesus this Christmas. Receive the reconciliation that he bought. Don’t put it on the shelf unopened. And don’t open it and then make it a means to all your other pleasures. Open it and enjoy the gift. Exult in him. Make him your pleasure. Make him your treasure.


The word that speaks the most to me in this reflection is “poured.” 

We exult in God because his “love has been poured into our hearts through the Spirit who has been given to us.” This pouring out is a theme found all through Scripture because it reveals the character of God. We see this most clearly in the life of Jesus Christ, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” 

We exult in God because he chose to empty himself. He left his throne to be born in a manger; he surrendered his rights as King to become a servant; he relinquished his power as Lord to take on the feebleness of man; he renounced his authority to become obedient.

This Christmas I hope we exult in God through Christ, who poured out his life so that it could be poured into us.