Christmas isn’t usually the time to talk about evil, or of Satan’s ultimate destruction, but that is precisely what Christmas, the coming of God in Christ, means. Evil encompases all the chaos and dysfunction in the world, all the rebellion against God; and God’s salvation means an end to all that, and the return to a new heavenly order of holiness.
The coming of Jesus is God meeting His own requirements for not only sin’s penalty, but the whole moral order of the universe. It is, in the end, God working to satisfy His own holy Name; and Jesus is the only One who can do that.
P. T. Forsyth wrote in Work of Christ that “An unsatisfied God, a dissatisfied God, would be no God. He would but reflect the distraction of the world, and so succumb to it.” Yet holiness must be satisfied, and nothing created can possibly do that. Similarly, neither can God’s holiness be satisfied whilst any vestiges of unholiness, namely evil (i.e. hell), remain. The destruction of evil is the fulfilment of God’s unsurpassing reign and joy of His holiness in all the New Creation for all people, everywhere. Isn’t that what 1 Corinthians 15:28 means? That God will be all in all? Thus if evil exists, what else does “all in all” mean?
Evil has no future because God is holy.
That means, as we remember the incarnation of the Son of God into the world, we remember and partake of God’s renewing of the whole cosmos to put an end to evil, but not to put an end to rebels, such as we, the human race, are.
Forsyth wrote in a brilliant sermon entitled The Bible Doctrine of Hell and the Unseen,
“If evil is to be permanent in any part of the universe, then God is there foiled and the Cross of Christ of none effect . . . . .So long as evil lasts there will be Hell. If evil should cease Hell would be burned out. Now if Christ’s Cross means anything it means the destruction of evil everywhere and forever. The work of the Cross is not done while there is a single soul unwon to the mastery of Christ and uninfected by His Spirit. . . . If we believe in the Cross then we believe there will come a time when evil shall everywhere cease and sin no longer be.”
Evil has no future because Jesus has come, and remains by His Spirit.
Evil has no future because Jesus has satisfied God’s own holiness.
Evil has no future because God will be all in all.
“Die sin must or God.” When Jesus was born, sin’s fate was sealed. When Jesus died, sin was defeated forever. When Jesus rose from the dead, sin was left behind in the tomb. When He returns, sin will be erradicated forever. The New Heaven and New Earth will know no sin.
That’s why we celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas time.
Note: This post was spurred by my reading of the excellent chapter on P. T. Forsyth by Jason Goroncy in ‘All Shall Be Well’ entitled ‘The Final Sanity is Complete Sanctity.’ And also the brilliant collection of Forsyth sermons in Goroncy’s ‘Descending on Humanity and Intervening in History’, which has been mentioned on this blog before.