The celebration of CHRIST’s birth brings to an end the 1st covenant between GOD and His people—the tiny nation, Israel. No more will sacrificing and rituals be the way to GOD (Luke 2:32,34-35). No more can Israel rest on the fact that they are heirs of Abraham and thus GOD’s people (Luke 3:8-9).
John the Baptist first announces the 2nd covenant: He proclaims a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins instead of animal sacrifices (Luke 3:3). JESUS was about to challenge all men, Jew as well as Gentile.
One thing that stands out in reading the four Gospels is how the actions of JESUS create a visible distinction between people whose hearts are hard toward him (chaff) or receptive toward Him (wheat). CHRIST shook people up; they either loved or hated Him!
John the Baptist said of Him, “…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Luke 3:16-17 ESV).
“Whether being baptized ‘with the Holy Spirit and fire’ will be positive (involving the coming of the purifying fire of the Spirit at Pentecost, Acts 1:8; 2:3) or negative (involving the divine judgment of fire; Luke 9:54;12:49;17:29) depends on the response of the individual person” (ref#125, p1953, [Luke 3:16]).
In our day JESUS speaks just as defining-ly through the written Word. His Presence now with us demands a response. No more assuming we are GOD’s people.
FATHER, am I wheat or chaff? If I’m ever to rest in peace I must know.
Beginning in 2018 this blog plans to address the topic of assurances of salvation. It will continually ask the question, “Am I going to heaven?”
As I celebrate CHRIST’s birth today, I thank Him for coming to earth not only to provide a way of everlasting life for me but also that I might know for sure NOW whether or not I have everlasting life.
JESUS has come. His presence divides. Am I chaff or wheat?