The Rev. Billy Graham, often dubbed Americas Pastor, released his Christmas message for 2005 this week, and as he has done for the past six decades, proclaimed the gospel that each person is separated from God because of sin, but is redeemed through Jesus Christ. He urged each person to be transformed through having genuine faith in Gods gift of Christ this Christmas.
Millions of people miss the real meaning of Christmas, began Graham. In the midst of the Christmas rush, Christ is oftentimes left out as we forget that it is His birthday we are celebrating.
Two thousand years ago, a Savior was born, he wrote as reminder.
Citing Matthew 1:21, Graham noted that the name Jesus was given because he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21, NIV).
People Deny Sin
But because people were blind to their sins, they didnt see any reason to want Christ, he continued, and so they crucified the One who yearned to save them from their sins.
Graham stated that it is peoples continual rejection of salvation from their sins through Jesus that makes failures of all the social movements to end wars.
One of the failures of many church leaders is their refusal to believe that our deepest problem is sin, he wrote. We have joined hands with the idealists of the world in trying to bring about social reform without first dealing with the root of the problem, which is sin.
All religions and ideologies outside God's way in the Bible are merely forms of self-redemption and Christ rejection in disguise, but without God, the world cannot be made right because it is beyond our power to dissolve the sin in our hearts, he said.
Thousands of human schemes for social and political improvement will ultimately fail because they do not deal with a person's basic disease. They change the circumstances but leave the person untouched, said Graham. They alter the surroundings but have no power to transform the character. If humanity is to be saved, if the world is to be transformed, then salvation must come from a source outside ourselves.
Jesus Christ is the Gift To Save People From Sin
Christ removes the guilt and reconciles us to God, he said.
Christ is God's great Christmas Gift to the world," he added. To personally accept Christ by faith is the only way to know true joy, peace and power.
Beautiful, ethical precepts cannot save us, but Christ can, he says. When Christ comes into a life, He revolutionizes it so that the person becomes a new creation. This, and this alone, is our hope.
However, faith in Jesus Christ must be real, rather than merely intellectual, and when this happens, it is transformational, he said.
Millions of professing Christians are strangers to the genuine, saving faith that means coming to the end of ourselves, to the end of our self-reliance and self-righteousness, and then trusting absolutely in Christ for forgiveness and for moral and spiritual renewal.
Billy Graham has preached the gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in historyover 210 million people in more than 185 countries and territories. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through the various ministries of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Visit www.bgea.org for Grahams complete Christmas message.