Friday, December 21, 2007

CCTC, Christmas and the righteousness of Christ

There are an estimated 4.2m CCTV cameras in the UK. If you are out and about in a busy city centre you may well be viewed around 300 times in a single day. It is staggering to think that your movements and actions are being monitored, viewed, and recorded in this way. It makes it far more difficult to remain unseen in public, even if most of the time we are not conscious of the cameras.

In a crude way this human attempt to gain an omnipresent watchful eye on our behaviour does illustrate that point that life is lived before God. Nothing is hidden before his eyes. There are no secret recesses of thought or imagination free from his gaze. The holy God knows all our thoughts, desires, and actions. Even though we seek to hide them from others, especially in our futile attempts to mask our sinfulness and appear more righteous than we really are, God has total access to us.

The prospect of facing the justice of God for every careless word and action, every sin internally conceived and externally expressed, is too appalling for words. Because of this people will want the rocks and hills to fall on them. Remember, that he will not show favouritism in this regard (Rom. 2:1-12).

But God, to use the Pauline adversative, has total footage of another human life, like ours yet radically unlike it morally. This is not the life of a sinner, marked by corruption in every way. No, this life is marked by total purity. It is so hard for us to imagine, but one has lived free from regret, with an unstained conscience, with no pangs of remorse like ours. A life of complete obedience, of love to God and man. Externally and internally this life was one of holiness, a true life of integrity.

And this life was not lived hidden away in a perfect world, but in a world of pain, mistreatment, provocation and abuse. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived the life of a perfect man. Before God he lived that life for us. By God's grace that life of total obedience and righteousness is counted as ours. By faith alone God grants it to us. The record of our disobedience has not been erased but atoned for. Our need of righteousness has been met by the perfect obedience of Christ. This is what God gives, what he counts, what he reckons to us if we rest and rely on Christ alone.

To save us, the Son of God had to assume our nature. The Heidelberg Catechism expresses this so well:

Q 36. What benefit do you receive from the holy conception and birth of Christ?

That He is our Mediator,[1] and with His innocence and perfect holiness[2] covers, in the sight of God, my sin,[3] wherein I was conceived.[4]

[1] 1 Tim 2:5-6; Heb 2:16-17, 9:13-15; [2] Rom 8:3-4; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 4:4-5; 1 Pt 1:18-19; [3] Ps 32:1; 1 Jn 1:9; [4] Ps 51:5

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