HOW WE CAN KNOW GOD WANTS TO BE WITH US by Leah Baugh  for Core Christianity

1. God Pursued the World

God being with his people has always been the driving purpose behind God’s great plan of redemption. Sin and death separated humanity from God, but God promised that he would not abandon humanity to sin and death. Instead, he would save a people from every nation, tribe, and tongue to dwell with him forever in eternal glory. God himself would come to provide the way for his people to dwell with him in everlasting peace and joy.

But to be with God, sin and death had to be destroyed and God’s holy justice against sin and evil must be satisfied. God fulfilled his promise to be with us and satisfied both his justice and love by sending his own Son to be Savior and Sacrifice.

2. God Himself Came into the World

After a long time of silence from God, angels suddenly announce the arrival of the Messiah Israel had been waiting for (Lk 2:1-21). The angel Gabriel tells Joseph to name the child in Mary’s womb Jesus because he will save people from their sins. The coming of Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to be with his people, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us)” (Matt. 1:20–23).

The prophecy that foretold the coming of Jesus calls him Immanuel, which means God with us (Is. 7:14). Throughout Scripture, God’s promise of salvation is accompanied by his promise to be with those he saves—not just theoretically with them or with them in spirit, but with them in person, dwelling with them and walking among them (Ezek. 14:11, 37:27Zech. 8:82 Cor. 6:16Rev. 21:3). God is not a God far away or distant but a God close at hand. He is a God who draws near to his people (Jer. 23:23).

The coming of Jesus was the extraordinary fulfillment of that promise. Christ came, lived, died on a cross and was raised on the third day so that both God’s justice and love would be satisfied. Jesus’ coming meant the beginning of the end of evil in this world. The destruction and separation from God that sin brought would be reversed through Jesus. All who are lost can be found through Jesus. He is the great shepherd who goes into the wilderness in pursuit of his lost sheep and brings them back, rejoicing over them.

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