The Soul Felt Its Worth

Blog 12.20.2021 2

The Soul Felt Its Worth

Right now, our radios and music players are full of songs that we only hear once a year. These songs are reminiscent of by-gone days like “Jingle Bells” or “Winter Wonderland.” Some are just lighthearted songs of merry-making like the “12 Days of Christmas,” and others come to us as hymns from more than a century earlier. Buried in some of these songs are truths that speak to every person; I suppose that is why we sing and play these melodies and the lyrics year after year. Some of these ancient hymns are rooted not only in the upcoming holiday but the faith of the songwriter. One of these songs is “O Holy Night.” Written by the French poet Placide Chapeau in 1843, it speaks to the redemption that Jesus brought with him as he came to this earth. While I don’t suggest taking every Christmas song as a theologically profound poem, there is a line that resonates with me and one I think should convey a deeper meaning to you as well.

The line is from the first stanza stating, “Long lay the world in sin and error pining- Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.” We are acquainted with the idea that sin has entangled humanity from the beginning; prompted by the devil, Jesus came to do away with sin. Those thoughts come from “But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. … 8 the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:5, 8). From the beginning, God made us in His image; that defines us, that was God’s design. However, shortly after, we were represented by another characteristic, sin. Man and woman were the pinnacle of creation and quickly became the curse for the earth. For centuries this is what defined all of the human race; no longer were we the children of God, we were tainted and opposed to His very nature. If you have ever been labeled, you know how damaging it is to be regarded not as a person but as a title. How much worse when the title is unfavorable and degrading. Yet, that is what we were; we all became entrapped in the cycle of sin. However, there was hope; although we were all entangled in sin, fully deserving of wrath, there was the promise of a Messiah. This is how the apostle Paul describes this situation, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned– … 18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people” (Romans 5:12, 18). Sin labeled us, and death was inevitable for all people; humanity needed a rescuer performing one righteous act.

This one righteous act provided life for all people, and this righteous act also justifies us. This justification not only removed sin, but it removed the title of “sinner.” Before this moment of justification, we were fully deserving of wrath and God’s righteous indignation, but after this righteous act, our course was changed. A moment of clarification, this righteous act was not being born in a manger but through this death on a cross. Yet, you cannot have one without the other, and a beginning must come before the end (in this case the middle), as his death was not the end. Peter describes this transaction as being redeemed, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19). This passage tells us our worth. The precious blood of Christ pays for this justification and redemption.

If I realize that I was once a sinner and deserving of death, as we all were. Yet, we are all redeemed. I can then fully realize how much I am worth. I am no longer a product of Adam, but I am a product of the price paid by the Son of God. We were once wallowing in our sins and transgression, yet now I am aware of how much I am worth. Christ Jesus restored us to our rightful place as the image-bearers of God. Transforming us from sinners to individuals chosen and redeemed. Now we can honestly know our worth, not because of what we have done, but because of what Jesus did for all of us.

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining- Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.”

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