“But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin” 1 John 3:5
Although the plan for our salvation was put in place before creation, it came into focus when it was birthed in the crib. There was no special treatment for the Son of God. He never paused to count the cost but came to earth to reach the lost. Not in a raging hurricane or a devouring fire. When God came to earth He humbled Himself. “The God who created matter took shape within it” Philip Yancey. He stepped forth from heaven, from the images and mental pictures we had of Him, and became one of us. “The God who roared, who could order armies and empires about like pawns on a chessboard, this God emerged in Palestine as a baby who could not speak or eat solid food or control his bladder, who depended on a teenager for shelter, food, and love” Philip Yancey.
It was a remarkable plan. The God of the universe, the great big God, the One who’s beyond measure became little, He shrank down to become a single zygote. He became so small He was barely visible to the naked eye. The cells divided and the baby grew inside a peasant girl until the appointed time for His birth. Then, as with all births, the contractions began and He emerged with a cry on His lips. When Christ was born, it wasn’t a sanitized fairy tale. Christ was born into the world like any other child. He was smeared in blood and helpless. The Father in heaven looked on as any human father would. The cord had to be cut, the baby cleaned and suckled, and the afterbirth removed.
What an inauguration. Hope was nurtured in a cradle. Our Saviour was born with His limbs wrapped tightly against His body. The Scriptures put it like this: In Philippians 2:7 it says, He “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” In John 1:14 it says, “The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us.” And in 1 John 3:5 it says, “But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins.”
C.S. Lewis grasps the essence of these texts when he says, “The Son of God became the Son of Man so that the sons of men may become sons of God.” Isn’t that marvelous? Christ came to save us. Through the birth of Jesus Christ, God created a way to relate to human beings so we wouldn’t be afraid. He used the incarnation to disarm us. A crib de-emphasized the gulf that existed between God and humanity. For in the cradle we discover a God who chose to become flesh and live for a while among us (cf. John 1:14). Praise the Lord! “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” 1 John 4:10.
Yes, Christ was manifested to be the Saviour. He was born to reconcile estranged sinners to God. He was born to deal with the sum total of all the lawless thoughts, words, and deeds of the human race. He was born to take away your sin and mine. No sin is too much for Christ to take away, no sin too disgusting or too large for Him to evict. God’s Word confirms it. “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” 1 John 3:8. He was sent as a helpless baby to wage war on the devil. Christ invaded human history to snatch the scepter from the usurper. In a baby we have One who was strong enough to wreck the devil’s transactions. He did this by turning hatred into love, casting darkness out by His light, and overcoming death by the gift of life. It was a remarkable plan. “He appeared so that he might take away our sins …” 1 John 3:5. He appeared to “save his people from their sins” Matthew 1:21.