A Place of Belonging

Carol DunfeeBible Study, HolidayLeave a Comment

There is something about Christmas that gives us a glimpse of how things are supposed to be. We picture loving families opening gifts by the fireside as the falling snow outside insulates them from the cares of life. We dream of a peaceful Christmas at a large family table covered with delicious ham, prime rib, mashed potatoes, and homemade desserts. The pain of Christmas is that these ideals are ridiculously unattainable for so many. Maybe a loved one is absent because of death or estrangement. Perhaps tragedy has left hearts raw and bleeding.

But still that desire remains for a peaceful sense of belonging. A place where all are loving and loved.

The Creator put that desire in our hearts in the garden of Eden. He created mankind to thrive in a close friendship with Him. Into each heart, He formed a void that longs for oneness with the Father. Sin may have given Adam and Eve the knowledge they desired, but it also ripped them away from their place of happiness and peace. No, that place was not the garden…their place of happiness was the Father Himself.

That is why Christmas is such a nostalgic time. Our collective souls merge in longing for that place of belonging where God lived with mankind. God Himself returned to earth to walk among us. Jesus became the incarnate God. Our deepest longings now have a hope to cling to in the person of Jesus.

That sweet baby Boy grew into manhood. His mission wasn’t just to share His presence; it was to share His love in the most sacrificial ways.

The sin that ripped humanity from God’s presence required a costly remedy. Throughout the Old Testament, God showed His people pictures of that cost. Priests continually sacrificed clean, unblemished animals in order to smear their smelly, sticky blood upon the altar as a mere covering for sin. But even with this massive system of sacrifice, our sin could never be removed. It was simply covered for awhile.

Jesus offered Himself as the ultimate unblemished Lamb. When He shed His blood on the cross, it wasn’t for a temporary covering. His blood was applied to the altar in heaven, permanently eliminating the need for animal sacrifice. (Hebrews 9-10) Our crucified Jesus paid the highest price so that we could receive forgiveness for sin.

As part of Beth Moore’s assignment to find all we need in the knowledge of Jesus, I have read and copied many verses about His crucifixion. The crucified Jesus gives us all we need to be healed, to be freed from the dominion of sin, and to be covered with His righteousness.

Our crucified Jesus brings healing.

When my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor, a long-time family friend approached me after church. She told me that she was praying for Jesus to heal Bryan because He already paid for that healing on the cross. In her matter-of-fact way, she informed me that Jesus still heals and that Bryan would be healed.

But He was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was upon Him, and we are healed by His wounds. — Isaiah 53:5

While I had heard this verse hundreds of times before, this was the first time I really connected the crucified Jesus with something as tangible as physical healing. But it doesn’t stop there. Jesus’ wounds paid for our spiritual healing, too…and our emotional and mental healing. There is no wound that His sacrifice cannot heal.

Our crucified Jesus frees us from sin’s dominion.

Before we meet Jesus, we are slaves to sin, to our own passions. We might be able to exercise great will power for a time, but sin always returns in full-force to dominate our lives. When we confess our sins in repentance, Jesus not only forgives us, but He also places His righteousness upon us.

For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be rendered powerless so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin…For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under the law but under grace. –Romans 6:6, 14

No longer are we crushed by the weight of keeping the impossible expectations of the law, but we are free to live under God’s grace. We do not have to be slaves to our addictions. We do not have to obey the destructive impulses of our natural desires. We can choose freedom in Jesus’ forgiveness.

Our crucified Jesus covers us with His righteousness.

After repentance and salvation, God brings life to our spirits, our inner selves. We can now communicate with the Holy Spirit as He take residence inside our spirits. However, we still live in sinful bodies and we still have corrupt minds. As we study God’s Word and let it transform our thinking, we become more like Christ. Even then, there are days that we will massively fail to obey God. It is so good to know that God doesn’t see our failures. He knows we have sinned, but He looks at us through the lens of Jesus’ righteousness.

He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. –2 Corinthians 5:21

Sometimes we hear about these truths so much that they become old and familiar, losing the power they once had. This Christmas let’s re-investigate them, asking God to helps us see the crucified Jesus through new eyes. Knowledge of Christ is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. It provides ALL THINGS needed for true life. Through Jesus, we CAN return to the garden intimacy God desires us to have with Him. The crucified Jesus restores our place of belonging with the Creator Himself.

 


No matter how much I pour my heart into these weekly blogs, they cannot substitute for your own personal Bible study. I encourage you to carve out time to study the following verses for yourself. Read them, write them down, and analyze them. Let the Holy Spirit teach you.

Open up your daily prayers by reading them back to God, praising Him for His great love and thanking Him for the forgiveness He has provided.

Here is a list to get you started:

  • Philippians 3:7-11
  • Romans 6
  • Colossians 2:13-15
  • 1 Peter 4:1-2
  • Isaiah 53:5
  • Galatians 2:20, 5:24, 6:14
  • 1 Corinthians 1:18
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Hebrews 9-10

 

About Carol Dunfee

Carol is a wife, mom, piano teacher, and blogger for Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry. Having grown up in church, life made her dissatisfied with empty religious traditions and trite answers. She discovered that Jesus alone is the way to real life and true contentment. Ever stumbling and learning herself, she invites her readers to experience God’s love and forgiveness like never before. Read more at CarolDunfee.com.

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