Tag Archives: fear of death

December 19: Christmas is for freedom

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. Hebrews 1.14-15

Jesus became man because what was needed was the death of a man who was more than man. The incarnation was God’s locking himself into death now.

Christ did not risk death. He embraced it. That is precisely why he came: not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10.45).

No wonder Satan tried to turn Jesus from the cross! The cross was Satan’s destruction. How did Jesus destroy him?

The “power of death” is the ability to make death fearful. The “power of death” is the power that holds men in bondage through fear of death. It is the power to keep men in sin, so that death comes from a horrid thing.

But Jesus stripped Satan of this power. He disarmed him. He molded a breastplate of righteousness for us that makes us immune to the devil’s condemnation.

By his death, Jesus wiped away all our sings. And a person without sin puts Satan out of business. His treason is aborted. His cosmic treachery is foiled. “His rage we can endure, for, lo, his doom is sure.” The cross has run him through. And he will gasp his last before long.

Christmas is for freedom. Freedom from the fear of death.

Jesus took our nature in Bethlehem, to die our death in Jerusalem, that we might be fearless in our city. Yes, fearless. Because if the biggest threat to my joy is gone, then why should I fret over the little ones? How can you say, “Well, I’m not afraid to die but I’m afraid to lose my job?” No. No. Think!

If death (I said, death – no pulse, cold, gone!) – if death is no longer a fear, we’re free, really free. Free to take any risk under the sun for Christ and for love. No more bondage to anxiety.

If the Son has set you free, you shall be free, indeed!

© Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

December 11: why Jesus came

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. Hebrews 2.14-15

[This passage] is worth more than two minutes in an Advent devotional. These verses connect the beginning and the end of Jesus’ earthly life. They make clear why he came. They would be great to use with an unbelieving friend or family member to take them step by step through your Christian view of Christmas. It might go something like this…

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood…

The term “children” is taken from the previous verse and refers to the spiritual offspring of Christ, the Messiah (see Isaiah 8.8; 53.10). These are also the “children of God.” In other words, in sending Christ, God has the salvation of his “children” specially in view. It is true that “God so love the world, that he send [Jesus] (John 3.16).” But it is also true that God was especially “gathering the children of God who are scattered abroad”  (John 1.52). God’s design was to offer Chris to the world, and to effect the salvation of his “children” (see 1 Timothy 4.10). You may experience adoption by receiving Christ (John 1.12).

…he himself likewise partook of the same things [flesh and blood[…

Christ existed before the incarnation. He was spirit. He was the eternal Word. He was with God and was God (John 1.1; Colossians 2.9). But he took on flesh and blood and clothed his deity in humanity. He became fully man and remained fully God. It is a great mystery in many ways. But it is at the heart of our faith and is what the Bible teaches.

…that through death…

The reason Jesus became man was to die. As God, he could not die for sinners. But as man he could. His aim was to die. Therefore he had to be born human. He was born to die. Good Friday is the reason for Christmas. That is what needs to be said today about the meaning of Christmas.

..he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil…

In dying, Christ de-fanged the devil. How? By covering all our sin. This means that Satan has no legitimate grounds to accuse us before God. “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies” (Romans 8.33). On what grounds does he justify? Through the blood of Jesus (Romans 5.9).

Satan’s ultimate weapon against us is our own sin. If the death of Jesus takes it away, the chief weapon of the devil is taken out of his hand. He cannot make a case for our death penalty, because the Judge has acquitted us by the death of his Son!

..and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

So we are free from the fear of death. God has justified us. Satan cannot overturn that decree. And God means for our ultimate safety to have an immediate effect on our lives. He means for the happy ending to take away the slavery and fear of the now.

If we do not need to fear our last and greatest enemy, death, then we do not need to fear anything. We can be free: free for joy, free for others.

What a great Christmas present from God to us! And from us to the world!

© Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org