11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
1901 ASV Translation:
11 for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.
There are no textual variations between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26.
I. The "larger" theme is related to the recurring issue of "fear" (as noted in our last set of notes).
II. There is another "recurring" issue: the angel's message is invariably a "reason" to stop being afraid.
I. In the bigger scheme of things, all "fears" are the same thing: a sense that something is going to happen to me that I don't want to happen.
II. In the bigger scheme of things, all "salvation" is the same thing: a deliverance from the thing that is going to happen to me that I didn't want to happen.
A. Sometimes the "deliverance" is actually from the feared eventuality.
B. Sometimes the "deliverance" is not from the eventuality, but from the crippling perspective I may have toward it.
1. This brings up, once again, the reality of "tierd" desires/fears. We are often afraid, not so much of the thing we think we fear, but the thing we think that thing may bring our way. And, just as often, that thing we think may come our way is not really the thing we fear either because it is only one more boxcar in the train of causes that bring effects. At some point, we will finally get to the "real" fear if we chase the "fears" far enough down the track.
2. Jesus said, on one occasion, "Do not fear them who can kill your body; rather, fear Him who, having killed the body, is able to cast you into Gehenna" (Matthew 10:28 paraphrased).
a. He did not mean that those who can kill the body cannot do any "fearful" things -- like jabbing red-hot splinters of steel under your toe-nails; or stretching out your limbs slowly until the joints are separated; or slashing your body with a whip which has little bits of barbed steel in the cords of the whip; or any number of other enormously painful tortures -- He just put that into "perspective" against the backdrop of what Gehenna will be like.
b. He did, however, mean that we have a huge decision to make about our "fears": how are we going to deal with them in light of the fact that they can be used by our enemies to tempt us to be faithless toward our God?
3. What kind of "salvation" is it that does not deal with the problem?
a. What is the "problem"?
1) Ultimately, the "problem" is some kind of "unresolved suffering".
2) Prior to that is the "problem" of the "thing" that can lead to "unresolved suffering".
3) Prior to that is the "problem" of the "thing" that can lead to the "thing" that can lead to "unresolved suffering".
b. What does the "problem" require of "salvation"?
1) That it eliminate the reality of "unresolved suffering".
2) That it eliminate the reality of the "thing" that can lead to that suffering.
3) That it eliminate the reality of the "thing" that can lead to that "thing".
4) Et cetera.
III. In the bigger scheme of things, being "saved from all our fears" (Psalm 34:4) ultimately rests in one enduring reality: eternal life.
A. "Eternal Life" eliminates unresolved suffering.
B. "Eternal Life" also eliminates the flawed perspectives that tempt us to believe that a "thing" can lead us to unresolved suffering.
1. This is a three-fold issue...
a. Part of our fear is that God is of the "character" that He will either impose or allow great suffering. If He will "allow" it in general, what is to keep me from being subject to it?
b. Part of our fear is that God has made "success" up to us. [Make note of the almost universal pattern of human "preaching" that, in the final analysis, puts the question of "success" at our feet.]
c. Part of our fear is that we will fail. This fear has a legitimate basis: we will. This inevitability is the reason God didn't leave it up to us.
2. This is why "eternal life" is composed of a "dawn" and a "day"...it has a real and fully effective beginning and it has a real and fully effective incremental development.
a. The "dawn" of eternal life is that point in time when God forgives us, redeems us, and "begets" us to Life.
b. The "incremental development" of eternal life is that stretch of time between the "new birth" and the point of our transition from this world and life to the next World and Life.
1) There is no escaping the fact that "through much tribulation we must enter into the Kingdom" (Acts 14:22). No amount of "anger", "whining", "theological wrestling", "submission", "rebellion", or "faithfulness" is going to alter this reality: it is, has been, and shall be. Those who "park" here and refuse to go any further because they do not like this fact simply undercut themselves. This "parking" does nothing to alter the fact and contributes greatly to it by eliminating the "salvation" God does offer.
2) There is no escaping the fact that the "salvation" God offers to us in this world is partial, not total. This means that whatever "heights or depths" we reach in the experience of His salvation in this world, they will be a paltry measure in comparison to the final reality.
3) There is no escaping the fact that unbelief of every kind in respect to all Truth has a significantly detrimental impact upon our experience of the salvation that comes from confidence in God's goalsandmethods. That suffering will be our lot is significantly compounded when we heap up on it the added issues of our unbelief and its multiple consequences. It is one thing to be subjected to suffering; it is altogether another, and greatly more significant, thing to experience suffering with no hope.
4) There is no escaping the fact that God absolutely dominates our experience so that it never reaches beyond His faithfulness (1 Corinthians 10:13) and that it never succumbs to our measure (Hebrews 12:11 compared with James 1:4).