Devotionals by Alistair Begg

December 7

Passion to Save Souls

I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. - 1 Corinthians 9:22

Paul's great object was not merely to instruct and to improve, but to save. Anything short of this would have disappointed him; he desired to see men renewed in heart, forgiven, sanctified, in fact saved. Have our Christian efforts been aimed at anything below this great objective? Then let us correct our ways, for what good will it be at the last great day to have taught and moralized men if they appear before God unsaved? If through life we have sought inferior objects and forgotten that men needed to be saved, then we will be held accountable.

Paul knew the ruin of man's natural state and did not try to educate him, but to save him; he saw men sinking to hell and did not talk of refining them, but of saving from the wrath to come. To accomplish their salvation, he gave himself up with untiring zeal to spreading the Gospel, to warning and beseeching men to be reconciled to God. His prayers were persistent and his labors incessant. His consuming passion, his ambition, his calling was to save souls. He became a servant to all men, working for them, feeling a woe within him if he did not preach the Gospel. He laid aside his preferences to prevent prejudice; he submitted his will in things indifferent, and if men would just receive the Gospel, he raised no questions about forms or ceremonies. The Gospel was the one all-important business with him. If he might save some, he would be content. This was the crown for which he extended himself, the sole and sufficient reward of all his labors and self-denials.

Dear reader, have you and I lived to win souls to this extent? Are we possessed with the same all-absorbing desire? If not, why not? Jesus died for sinners. Can we not live for them? Where is our tenderness? Where is our love for Christ, if we do not seek His honor in the salvation of men? Lord Jesus, saturate us through and through with an undying zeal for the souls of men.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Habakkuk 2

verse 2 Luke 21

Child in the Manger: The True Meaning of Christmas

What is Christmas? For many it is a time for holidays, parties, family gatherings, gifts, meals together, music, and special events. For others it can mean unwanted pressure, an increased sense of loneliness, family squabbles, and crowded shops. For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas takes place at the onset of winter with its cold weather and short days. There are more incidents of depression at Christmas time than at any other time of the year. It is the best of times for some, but the worst of times for others, to borrow a phrase from Charles Dickens.

The birth of Jesus divided history into two major epochs. Until the dawn of our hyper-sensitive age, even the way we dated events underscored this. From time immemorial, every day, week, month, and year has been described as either “B.C.” (“Before Christ”) or “A.D.” (Anno Domini, “in the year of our Lord”). Even the modern, pluralistic style abbreviations, B.C.E. (“Before the Common Era”) and C.E. (“Common Era”) cannot obliterate the indelible impress of Jesus birth. For what makes the “Common Era” so “common”? And what explains the dividing line date? The answer is the same: the birth of Jesus. At the very center of history stands the person of Jesus Christ. And He does so because He is at the center of God’s story.

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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

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