“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

December is a busy month. Christmas is right around the corner and has a special meaning for all. For a Christian, it means remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus. The birth of a child always brings joy and a sense of wonder. A new life is brought into the world and in the midst of the joy, we also ponder what the child will become and what difference he or she will make in the world. The birth of Christ was like that. Angels announced and celebrated His birth to lowly shepherds and eventually to the whole world. His mother, Mary, pondered all the things she was told about her Son, especially about what He would become. The verse above is central to understanding why Jesus came. His message was one of repentance (turning away) from sin and deliverance from the penalty of sin.

Romans 5:6 says, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Ungodliness means a state of sinfulness. Sin is any act or thought that God deems to be an affront to His holiness and righteousness. Because we have sinned we are judged by God to be unrighteous with the penalty of eternity in hell—not by God’s desire, but ours. Something must be done to satisfy the judgment for sin. That “something” is trusting Christ to be our Savior. The message of repentance is that we can turn away from sin to Christ. True repentance means we will no longer desire to be in opposition or rebellion against God, but will choose to live righteously for Him.

Everybody wants to go to heaven and many believe they can get to heaven by some means other than by Christ. The bible and Jesus said they are wrong about that. The bible tells us, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) This Christmas remember the real reason we celebrate the birth of Christ.