We believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God, Word made flesh, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. The same Spirit that created a new life within Mary creates a new life within us. The text expressly calls God the Father as our Savior, and although generally with that name we identify God the Son, it is totally appropriate to give that name also to God the Father, since he sacrificed his Son to save us (John 3:16) and he was in Christ reconciling the world to himself (2 Corinthians 5:19).
Especially in baptism, as one of the means of grace, the Holy Spirit comes to us with the fullness of His gifts of regeneration and sanctification. God uses baptism to transmit that salvation to us; Through this baptism He regenerates us, we are born again to a new spiritual life, from unbelievers we have been made believers, from condemned to saved.
In the verse preceding the lesson the apostle expresses what our spiritual condition is by nature, "foolish, rebellious, lost, slaves of various pleasures and delights, living in malice and envy, hated and hating one another." And in verse 5 he says that God did not save us "by works of righteousness that we would have done." Through baptism, regeneration takes place in the heart of man; he is born again to a wonderful spiritual life. At the same time, therefore, the water of baptism also works a renewal of the heart and mind. Regeneration is a single act, but the renewal thus initiated by the Holy Spirit continues throughout the life of the Christian. The new spiritual creature forged or created in baptism is renewed from day to day, 2 Corinthians 4:16.
This work is attributed by the text to the Holy Spirit; He works regeneration and renewal through baptism; The salvation achieved by Jesus Christ is given to us by the Holy Spirit through baptism. That Holy Spirit has been poured into us not precariously but abundantly so that we may abound in new life. We do not yet live eternal life, our hope is in it, but not a vague, uncertain hope, but sure and firm.
However, the work begun in baptism does not exhaust the loving-kindness and benevolence of God toward us. His purpose is rather this: that, being justified by His grace, we should be heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Regeneration and conversion are appropriately treated synonymously; because by working in us the new spiritual birth, God has also given us the forgiveness of all our sins and has imputed to us the full justice of Jesus Christ.
By receiving this grace by faith, which is worked in us in baptism, we enter once again in the proper relationship with God, in that of children and heirs: Romans 8:17; 6:15. 23. Eternal life, the life of eternal salvation in and with Christ, is open to us. It is ours according to hope, in hope; both their possession and their enjoyment are safe, because God guarantees them to us. As heirs of heaven, all the goods and blessings of eternity are actually ours. Our incorruptible and undefiled inheritance is reserved for us in heaven.
As you can see, the text does not leave us only at Christmas but takes us to eternity. Christmas is not just one day but a lifetime into eternity. Every day until eternity we celebrate Christmas.
May this hope give us the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.
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