If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:10–11
How do we practically receive reconciliation and exult in God? We do it through Jesus Christ. Which means, at least, that we make the portrait of Jesus in the Bible—that is, the work and the words of Jesus portrayed in the New Testament—the essential content of our exultation over God. Exulting in God without the content of Christ does not honor Christ. And where Christ is not honored, God is not honored.
In 2 Corinthians 4:4–6 Paul describes conversion in two ways. In verse 4 he says it is seeing “the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” And in verse 6 he says it is seeing “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” In either case you see the point. We have Christ, the image of God, and we have God in the face of Christ.
To exult in God, we exult in what we see and know of God in the portrait of Jesus Christ. And this comes to its fullest experience when the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, as Romans 5:5 says. And that sweet, Spirit-given experience of the love of God is mediated to us as we ponder the historical reality of verse 6: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”
So here’s the Christmas point. Not only did God purchase our reconciliation through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:10), and not only did God enable us to receive that reconciliation through the Lord Jesus Christ, but even now we exult in God himself, by the Spirit, through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:11).
Jesus purchased our reconciliation. Jesus enabled us to receive reconciliation and open the gift. And Jesus himself shines forth as himself the indescribable gift—God in the flesh—and stirs up all our exultation in God.
Look to Jesus this Christmas. Receive the reconciliation that he purchased. Don’t put the gift on the shelf unopened. And when you open it, remember God himself is the gift of reconciliation with God.
Exult in him. Experience him as your pleasure. Know him as your treasure.
Good News of Great Joy: 25 Devotional Readings for Advent by Desiring God Foundation