From Heaven on High I Come to You

From Heaven High I Come to You

A young sixteenth-century German Monk named Martin Luther was plagued with a deep sense of his own sin. Darkness prevailed over his soul. He felt no peace or joy in God’s presence. Why? Because he knew that he did not measure up to God’s holy standard. He recognized that his thoughts and ways fell short of God’s glory and the righteous requirements found in His law. His guilty conscience was burdened as he considered the holiness and justice of God. His “imperfect” spiritual striving left him feeling hopeless and condemned. Luther writes:

My situation was that, although an impeccable monk, I stood before God as a sinner troubled in conscience, and I had no confidence that my merit would assuage him. Therefore I did not love a just and angry God, but rather hated and murmured against him.

Luther’s outlook was bleak; until, by the grace of God, He discovered the gospel. The Holy Spirit opened His eyes to understand that salvation does not come through our own merits or an endless striving to perfectly obey God’s law. No, salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ–– the One who left the majestic throne room of heaven to be born of a virgin in a cattle stall. The One who was born to die for sinners. The German Reformer felt like he walked through the gates of paradise when he understood and believed that sinners are “justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation (wrath-bearer) by his blood, to be received by faith” (Rom. 3:24-25).

The Christmas message is not “Jesus came to help you try harder.” Nor is it “seek peace and joy through the people, possessions, and promises of this passing evil age.” To believe these things only leaves a person hopeless and empty. The true Christmas message is that the eternal Son of God came from heaven to earth and became human flesh to rescue us from what our sins deserve. Do you believe this? Is this your understanding of the Christmas message? In 1535 Martin Luther wrote one of his most famous Christmas Hymns based on Luke 2–– From Heaven High I Come to You. Here is the glorious gospel of Christmas:

From heaven high I come to you, I bring you tidings good and new;
glad tidings of great joy I bring, whereof I now will say and sing.

To you this night is born a child–– of Mary, chosen virgin mild;
this little child, of lowly birth, shall be the joy of all the earth.

This is the Christ, our God and Lord, who in all need shall aid afford:
He will Himself your Savior be–– from all your sins to set you free.

These are the tokens ye shall mark: the swaddling clothes and manger dark;
there ye shall find the infant laid by whom the heavn’s and earth were made.

Welcome to earth, thou noblest guest, go with the shepherds and draw near
to see the precious Gift of God, who hath his own dear Son bestowed

 Pastor Jon