When reading the phrase from Luke 2:14, “those with whom He is pleased,” we can see that God is pleased with people, not because they are good, but because of the favor He graciously pours on them in Christ. However, this may leave us wondering – does He pour Christ’s favor on everyone?
In other words, are all men saved because of what happened at Christmas?
We are probably most familiar with the New King James Version of this passage, which says “on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” This version seems to make more sense, right? Just four verses before, the angel declared Jesus’ birth to be “good news of great joy that will be for all the people,” (Luke 2:10), that is, joy to the world. And after all, if Jesus “did not come to judge the world but to save the world,” (John 12:47), then wouldn’t “goodwill toward men” include every human being?
But we know that in the end, all are not saved. Jesus said, “The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few,” (Matthew 7:14). So even though the statement, “those with whom he is pleased” may not seem like good news at first, we must remember that He would be just not to pour favor on anyone. Yet, He does.
He now mercifully pours His favor on some people from all nations, not just the Hebrew people, and extends peace through Christ to “all the people” (Luke 2:10). The good news has gone global. God really does display goodwill toward men.
In Luke’s account of Christ’s birth, those with whom God is pleased are the same people earlier described as God-fearing, humble, and dependent on God’s faithful provision for everything, including salvation (Luke 1:46-55). These are the real evidence of grace.
Luke’s Gospel reminds us with stories like the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), this grace often comes to the least likely.
In light of such amazing truths, may we all heavily and humbly depend on God and prove to have his favor on us, and may we glorify Him in heaven for this peace we now have on earth!
~ Mary Lindow ©
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|Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others in all generations and careers or vocations to live and express excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She is a sought after keynote inspirational and humorous speaker and teacher throughout the United States internationally in Ministers conferences, International Spiritual leaders Conferences, and in National and International training seminars for various organizations.|